Conflict Management: Developing Non-Violent Solutions

Loading of an airplane with food aid. Copyright: bpa / StutterheimAn impor­tant aim of German gov­ern­mental policy is to help partner countries in crisis situa­tions to re­solve con­flicts non-violently. Targeted mea­sures are inten­ded to help defuse the situa­tion and deve­lop a peace­ful solu­tion to­gether with local actors. Poli­ti­cal dia­logue at govern­ment level and capa­city-buil­ding among decision-makers in poli­tics, state and society to enable them to deve­lop coope­ra­tive solu­tions are key points of departure for develop­ment coope­ra­tion. Compre­hensive pro­grammes make pro­vision for the par­ti­ci­pa­tion of diffe­rent popula­tion groups. This ensures that the measures do not take place in isolation from the social discourse.

Conflict management instruments include, for example, the provision of advice to government bodies on the implementation of reforms and the organisation of peace conferences. The provision of funding for local peace projects and training for specialists and managers are other areas of activity.

German development policy does not actually focus on mediating in armed conflicts, but assistance is provided for diplomatic efforts aimed at initiating peace talks. The preparation of peace processes and efforts to develop proposals for conflict resolution at local level are supported. Local reconciliation and dialogue initiatives are also promoted.

Development-oriented emergency and transitional aid

Around the world, the number of internal crises, conflicts and natural disasters has been increasing, especially in poorer countries. It is not only armed conflicts that negatively affect people's lives. Several countries have already seen social unrest and conflicts triggered by the increased incidence of droughts and floods caused by climate change and by the rise in energy and food prices due to globalisation.

One of the aims under German development policy is to provide fast, flexible and effective relief for people in such emergency situations. This is done through measures and projects specifically carried out under the heading of development-oriented emergency and transitional aid. This form of aid bridges the gap between immediate humanitarian aid on the one hand and development cooperation measures, which are designed to take effect in the longer term, on the other. Emergency and transitional aid helps people who have been displaced by conflict or natural disasters to (re)build vital infrastructure and secures utility provision to cover basic needs.

In 2008, Germany spent 91.5 million euros of the funds ear­marked for such measures to support some 175 projects. For 2009, the BMZ has earmarked 129 million euros for emergency and transitional aid programmes.

BMZ glossary

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