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Utilising an Adaptive Approach to Leverage Greater Contextspecific Knowledge and Local Participation in Conflict Prevention and Conflict Management in Africa

Cedric De Coning


The African Union (AU) and a number of sub-regional institutions have demonstrated the will and capacity to play a leading role in maintaining peace and security on the African continent. However, despite several successes, Africa has not been able to achieve its
objective of Silencing the Guns by 2020. One of the factors that hinder the effectiveness of the AU and its partners is that its conflict prevention and conflict management methodologies are outdated. They rely on a linear causal theory of change and predesigned templates that have now proven to be ineffective in Africa and elsewhere. This paper introduces a new approach – Adaptive Peacebuilding – and explores its policy, management and operational implications for the AU and its partners. The paper explains the theoretical foundation of the adaptive approach, considers its key features and then discusses its practical application. The paper concludes with recommendations for how the AU and its partners can integrate an adaptive approach in the assessment, analysis, management, coordination and evaluation of its conflict prevention and conflict management missions and related efforts.