Conflict, security and resilience

Click here for a detailed report of our programme activities in 2012.

The challenge

Approaches to conflict and fragility have come a long way. There is growing recognition that emergency security and humanitarian relief interventions need to be more closely interlinked with long-term peace, statebuilding and development. However, the operational and organisational implications of implementing such comprehensive approaches remain problematic. This continues to contribute to a large gap between policy and practice.

In the past few years the European Union has made progress in mainstreaming conflict prevention and fragility across its various entities, including the Conflict Prevention, Peacebuilding and Mediation Division of the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the Fragility and Crisis Management Division of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Development and Cooperation (DEVCO). The challenge now is to deepen collective responses to the conflict, human security and resilience for societies and communities. This may require new governance models and modalities of international cooperation that make it possible to deal with conflict and fragility as a global public good.

ECDPM’s role

ECDPM’s new programme on Conflict, Security and Resilience aims to support and reinforce integrated, development-friendly and coherent EU responses to conflict and fragility that build upon and reinforce African continental and regional organisations and dynamics. We do this by working to enhance the overall capacity of EU and African institutions to effectively deal with issues relating to conflict, security and resilience. Another core element in our work is to understand the dynamics that underlie the remarkable resilience of communities and societies in fragile states, and how these could be built upon towards greater societal resilience, with a view to sharing the insights gained with key regional and international stakeholders.

Key partners

In 2012, we worked closely with relevant European actors, including member institutions of the Conflict Prevention Group. Other key partners were the Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI), the International Network on Conflict and Fragility – an initiative of the OECD – and the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office (EPLO). Within the Netherlands, we provided analysis to the Netherlands’ Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS) and participated in the formation of a Knowledge Platform on Security and Rule of Law. ECPDM has also started to contribute to the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding, a partnership between donor countries and the G7+ - a self-selected group of fragile states - aiming at adapting the modalities of international assistance to the specific circumstances of such countries.
On the African continent, we continued to build on our established institutional partnerships with the African Union, the NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency and Regional Economic Communities. Our non-state partners included L’Observatoire de Afrique, the Europe-Africa Policy Research Network (EARN), the Institute for Security Studies in South Africa and the Dakar-based African Governance Institute. We also began to collaborate with the Levy Mwanawasa Regional Centre for Democracy and Good Governance, which was established in the wake of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region to advance conflict prevention and security. 

Highlights of our activities in 2012

  • Production of a series of evidence-based documents aimed at enhancing conflict mediation capacities and contributing to the generation of relevant knowledge within and outside the EU, including factsheets on key mediation topics, a study on European experiences in mediation and dialogue, and an evaluation of the Mediation Support Pilot Project.
  • Analysis of the role of civil society in fragile states and highlighting the challenges of international engagement in support to civil society. 
  • Facilitating training and capacity development support European Commission (EEAS) officials on a range of topics relating to conflict and fragility.  
  • Designing the process and co-facilitating a joint EU – civil society conflict analysis workshop on northern Nigeria.
  • Contributing to the design of the monitoring plan for the pilot phase of a new EU Conflict Early Warning System in order to enhance the learning around the tools and the processes they are embedded in.
  • Provision of input to the indicator working group of the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding

Click here for a detailed report of our programme activities in 2012.

 Key Outputs in 2012
  • Transitions out of fragility were the focus of programme papers and articles in the Talking Points blog. We responded to EU policy papers, including the European Commission Communication on resilience, and participated in the European Parliament discussion on linking relief, rehabilitation and development. A key paper looked at support for constructive societal dynamics in fragile and conflict-prone situations (
  • High-level African and EU agencies sought out ECDPM for analysis and insights on topics of conflict and fragility.
  • We trained EEAS officials in conflict-sensitive analysis and EU programming on conflict prevention, reinforced by a series of evidence-based documents and factsheets. We advised the EEAS Mediation Support Unit and co-facilitated a joint EU-civil society conflict analysis workshop on northern Nigeria. We also monitored the design of an EU Conflict Early Warning System.
  • Our briefing note First Among Equals? offered recommendations on the EU instruments for Stability and Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding, taking into consideration the current financial constraints ( 
  • We explored ways to increase synergies between externally-led processes, such as the New Deal, and African regional initiatives, such as the African Union’s Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development Policy.
  • We produced a study for the German development ministry on how support for domestic accountability can be operationalised in different country contexts, including fragile states.