The European Commission uses several analytical tools in support of fragility and crisis managment.
Conflict analysis contributes to making an informed choice in articulating a comprehensive approach to the EU's objective of preserving peace, preventing conflict and strengthening international security across a wide range of mechanisms and tools, including public and quiet diplomacy, (high level) political dialogue, policy dialogue, trade negotiations, external assistance, mediation, common security and defence policy missions and other interventions. It provides the EU with additional context so that EU interventions are more conflict sensitive. This means ensuring that, to the best of its abilities, EU actions (political, policy, external assistance) avoid having a negative impact and maximise the positive impact on conflict dynamics, thereby contributing to conflict prevention, structural stability and peace building. Central to the notion of conflict sensitivity is the idea that all EU action in a conflict affected setting can, and is likely to, have an impact on the conflict.
Given that countries that could be or are affected by violence and conflict are highly diverse there is no easy check-list for “what works” or what should be priorities and sequencing. EU actions in a third country have to take account of and be adapted to the key dynamics of conflict that are highly context specific. Acknowledging the complexity and diversity of conflict situations, emerging best practice (e.g. as documented by the OECD/DAC) highlights the importance of the use of conflict analysis in the assessment of the context.
By applying a pro-active conflict sensitive approach we increase the EU's adherence to the “Do No Harm” principle.
One of the tools of the New Deal is the fragility assessment that is carried out by key national stakeholders to identify the causes, features and drivers of fragility and conflict and the sources of resilience within a country. In New Deal countries where a fragility assessment is available, the EU takes into consideration its outcomes for its programming process.
Political economy analysis provides a framework to understand key aspects of the political and economic processes, relationships and dynamics at work in a given country or sector. Political economy analysis investigates how political and economic processes interact in a given society, and support or impede the ability to solve problems that require collective action. It takes particular account of the interests and incentives driving the behaviour of different groups and individuals, the distribution of power and wealth between them, and how these relationships are created, sustained and transformed over time. These relationships are crucial in explaining how politics works, how wealth is created, and how change happens.
The framework is intended to help deepen EU staff’s understanding of the country context or of specific sectors, and to promote discussion of how the EU can best interact with national political economy dynamics.
EuropeAid's Fragility and Crisis Management Unit coordinates the establishment of a list of crisis countries for purposes of adopting special procedures and modalities appropriate for crisis contexts. Post-conflict and post-disaster needs assessments are tools used to define priorities in post-conflict and disaster contexts.