The recent joint UN-WB report on preventing violent conflict, Pathways for Peace, highlights the need for more inclusive efforts to proactively manage the risks of violence.
As one of the authors of the report, which recommends the use of Recovery and Peacebuilding Assessment (RPBAs) for prevention purposes, I was curious as to how the model offered by the joint UN-EU-World Bank RPBA could be used earlier in the evolution of the conflict by developing joint platforms for prioritizing areas of risk and more proactive planning for addressing them. In fact, there is already much in the RPBAs that resonates with the study’s main findings. The example of Cameroon, where RPBA methodology has been used successfully to help the government respond to subnational pressures and spillover of the security and displacement crisis created by Boko Haram, suggests the value-added that this engagement approach offers for violence prevention. Other RPBAs offer examples of specific methodologies that could play an important role in shifting RPBAs upstream. For example, in Central African Republic the use of perception data was instrumental in the design and finalization of the 2016 National Plan for Recovery and Peacebuilding. As the Pathways study illustrates, statistical measures of inequalities do not always neatly correspond to the perceptions of these inequalities. Understanding perceptions, through surveys, focus groups, community mapping, or key informant interviews therefore play a critical role in targeting the groups and issues at highest risk, and building a common narrative for prioritization.