Conflict assessment is not the same thing as a needs assessment, context assessment or intelligence assessment.  Conflict assessment – also known as conflict analysis – is an interactive research process.  It conceptually organize factors driving conflict and supporting peace to enable more effective peace and security policies, programs and projects.

Governments, universities and NGOs around the world have developed a variety of similar conflict assessment frameworks.  A synthesis of these frameworks boils down to these components.  These six questions link directly to decisions relevant to planning.

WHERE is the conflict taking place?  Are governance institutions functioning?

WHO is driving the conflict and who is supporting peace?

WHY are the key actors motivated to drive and mitigate conflict?

WHAT are the driving and mitigating factors?

HOW are key actors driving or mitigating conflict? With what means?

WHEN did the conflict escalate or deescalate in the past and what is the forecast for future windows of opportunity or vulnerability?

Many other conflict assessment frameworks focus solely on conflict without examining local capacity, resilience, or factors mitigating conflict and supporting peace.  This approach maps existing capacities and conflict mitigators as well as conflict drivers.

Factors Driving Conflict includes a range of lenses to map stakeholders and their means, motivations, and core grievances, to map relationships between driving factors, and to identify issues arising from the local context and windows of vulnerability given the historic legacy of the conflict.

Factors Mitigating Conflict includes a range of lenses to map stakeholders supporting peace, to identify local traditions, values, and institutions supporting resiliency and social capital, and to assess possible windows of opportunity for peacebuilding.