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OVERVIEW

What is it?

The EU Staff Handbook on operating in Situations of conflict and fragility, prepared by INTPA G5 - Resilience, Peace, Security) in collaboration with EU Delegations, NEAR, ECHO, FPI and EEAS, aims at disseminating the EU's experience in conflict and fragility situations in term of concepts, policies, instruments, methodologies and good practice. It integrates theoretical approaches and practical guidance.
The handbook is meant to inform the interventions of all EU actors, in the spirit of the EU Integrated Approach to Conflict and Crises, the EU Consensus on Development and the 2017 Joint Communication on Resilience.

This Handbook should be used in strict correlation with the Guidance for conflict analysis.

What can it be used for?

The handbook provides information on:

  • the EU's role and approach in situations of conflict and fragility,
  • available tools to ensure effective and conflict-sensitive engagement in countries at risk of fragility and conflict,
  • lessons learned in relation to operating in situations of conflict and fragility in order to enhance conflict prevention and resilience,
  • practical guidance on conflict sensitivity in general as well as in different thematic and sectoral areas.
When can it be used?

The handbook can be used all along the intervention cycle, whenever the EU engages in situations of conflict and fragility, with societies in transition and in more stable countries with structural conflict risks.
Adopting a conflict-sensitive approach in the intervention cycle and in relation to policymaking will maximise opportunities for having a positive impact on conflict risks, peace, resilience and poverty reduction in any context.

Who can use it?
  • Written by staff for staff, relevant to all EU services (INTPA, NEAR, FPI, EEAS, ECHO) at the Headquarters and Delegation levels.
  • Specifically for INTPA, the new Action Document (2018) templates and the INTPA companion have included conflict sensitivity and resilience mainstreaming as cross-cutting issues in the contet of quality assurance of development proposed programmes. It is therefore required to pay due attention and analysis to these dimensions when designing interventions and across the whole of the programming cycle.
What are its strengths?
  • Written directly by staff, the handbook addresses conflict and fragility not only from a theoretical point of view, but also from an operational perspective.
  • The variety of approaches adopted (case studies, interviews, briefings) to present different topics makes it a very engaging tool.
What are its limitations?
  • Because the EU's work in relation to conflict and fragility – as well as resilience and peacebuilding – is constantly expanding, the guide must be updated regularly.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION

Key elements

The handbook consists of three parts:

  • Part I – Concepts, policies and the EU approach: describes the framework of the EU's engagement in situations of conflict and fragility. Covered topics include a definition of situations of conflict and fragility, relevant policies, the EU approach, and available financial instruments and analytical and methodological tools.
  • Part II – Practical guidance notes: focuses on the implementation of the concepts and approaches described in Part I, addressing a number of related concepts through case studies, interviews and reports from EU Delegations. Topics addressed range from conflict sensitivity to promoting resilience, and from adopting a flexible approach to specifics of policy dialogue in situations of conflict and fragility.
  • Part III – Annexes: presents methodologies and tools available for operational managers to develop and implement interventions, with a strong focus on conflict-sensitivity mainstreaming.
Requirements

Conflict sensitivity and resilience mainstreaming in development programming (see INTPA companion) and Action Document templates and Instructions.

Data/information. While different contexts may require different types of analysis, the handbook provides a good overview, representing over 80 staff from Headquarters (INTPA, ECHO, EEAS, FPI, NEAR, etc.) and 18 EU Delegations. Staff from other International organisations participated in the handbook's drafting.

Time. N/A

Skills. Providing flexible and quality support in situations of conflict and fragility requires a wide range of skills and thematic expertise. In this regard, the EU also provides training programmes (e.g. INTPA Context for Development, the Conflict Sensitivity and Fragility module; EU on-line courses on Conflict Sensitivity – DG INTPA; etc.)

Facilities and materials. A coordinated and integrated approach across EU actors in Headquarters and Delegations is essential — e.g. regarding processes linked to conflict analysis, resilience analysis, conflict-sensitivity assessments, recovery and peacebuilding assessments and EU conflict early warning system shared assessments.

Financial costs and sources. INTPA, NEAR, EEAS, FPI and EU Delegations might use their existing facilities for selecting and hiring experts with a combined thematic and geographic expertise (knowledge of conflict analysis, conflict sensitivity, country knowledge). INTPA Unit G5  – Fragility, Resilience and Peace can provide overall guidance in the process, in coordination with EEAS-ISP2, regarding conflict analysis, conflict-sensitivity assessments, resilience analysis and EU conflict Early Warning System assessments.

Tips and tricks

  • Conflict sensitivity is required in all fragile situations, not just those in crisis; and in all interventions, not just those focused on governance and security.
  • Conflict sensitivity may require greater adaptability, flexibility and preparedness, as well as continuous monitoring of crises, shocks and risks.
  • Risk (i.e. the possibility of harm and of unintended negative impacts) must be acknowledged, calculated and managed across the intervention cycle.

N.B. Some key sections are currently under a process revision and updating, namely:

  • Part 1- Concepts, Policies and the EU Approach;, as the policy framework has changed with the introduction of the EU Global Strategy and various Communications on Resilience;
  • Note No 1 Conflict sensitivity and analysis for effective EU external action.
  • Other practical guidance notes, which may be merged with relevant sections in Annex 2 (with a thematic or sectoral focus).

These should be read in conjunction with the revised Guidance Note on the use of Conflict Analysis in support of EU External Action, 2020.

RESOURCES

Where to find it

The European Commission (EC), 2015. Operating in situations of conflict and fragility, an EU staff handbook (Currently under revision)

Note: Some key sections are currently under a process revision and updating, namely:

  • Part 1- Concepts, Policies and the EU Approach;, as the policy framework has changed with the introduction of the EU Global Strategy and various Communications on Resilience;
  • Note No 1 Conflict sensitivity and analysis for effective EU external action.
  • Other practical guidance notes, which may be merged with relevant sections in Annex 2 (with a thematic or sectoral focus)

These should be read in conjunction with the revised Guidance Note on the use of Conflict Analysis in support of EU External Action, 2020 - see below.

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