Conflict management: Developing non-violent solutions

Former soldiers participating in professional training in Nigeria

One important goal of German development policy is to help partner countries in crisis situations to resolve conflicts non-violently. The BMZ's activities are geared towards defusing the situation and developing peaceful solutions together with local actors.

In such settings, development cooperation can help broaden the scope for political solutions. Support is provided to decision-makers from politics, government and society in reaching an understanding and jointly developing ways to resolve the conflict. Comprehensive programmes link the different policy levels and make provision for the participation of different population groups. This ensures that the measures do not take place in isolation from social discourse and development processes.

When the BMZ conducts conflict management activities, it usually relies on Technical Cooperation instruments. They include advice to government bodies on the implementation of reforms and the organisation of peace conferences. Activities in the security and justice sectors can complement such projects. The BMZ supports local peace projects, provides training for professionals and executive staff, and helps develop education and job opportunities to back up the peacebuilding efforts.

In armed conflicts, the BMZ does not itself get involved in mediation efforts but supports diplomatic efforts for peace talks. Support is provided to the preparation of peace processes and to local efforts for the development of proposals for conflict resolution. The BMZ also supports local reconciliation and dialogue initiatives.

Transitional development assistance

Reconstruction work at the destroyed Al-Shifaa hospital in Mossul, Iraq

One highly flexible instrument under German development policy to provide immediate support to people in emergencies is what is called transitional development assistance, that is, assistance addressing the transition from humanitarian to development work.

One focus of transitional development assistance is the funding of activities that enable quick, effective and visible improvements in people's living conditions in crisis regions, such as the reconstruction of schools, health posts and water systems. Funding is also provided for food and for job opportunities.

Another focus of transitional development assistance is to put in place a basis for future development programmes and for sustainable conflict management strategies. In other words, transitional development assistance serves as a bridge between humanitarian emergency aid and longer-term peacebuilding programmes under development cooperation. The assistance strengthens the resilience of individuals and entire societies, thus making an important contribution towards the prevention of new crises.

One key characteristic of transitional development assistance is that it (re-)builds local institutions and infrastructures and thus enables people to mobilise their own capacities and help themselves.

BMZ glossary

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