Beyond Intractability checklists offer users involved in various conflict situations lists of "things to think about," along with links to sections of Beyond Intractability that relate to each item. People involved in peacebuilding and/or post-conflict reconstruction and stabilization might want to consider the following questions.
Do you understand what peacebuilding is and how it relates to other peace processes — such as peacekeeping, peacemaking, post-conflict reconstruction and stabilization, violence prevention, nation building, and democratization?
For help with this topic, see: Peacebuilding and Reconciliation Stage, Peacebuilding, Peacekeeping, Reconstruction, Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration, Peacemaking, International Violence Prevention, Nation Building, Democratization, Democracy and Conflict Management
Are you clear about the disputing parties' underlying goals and interests? Do you understand how these are different from the parties' positions and why the distinction is important?
For more information about this topic, see: Setting Goals, Interests, Integrative or Interest-Based Bargaining, Distributive Bargaining, Positional Bargaining, Creating and Claiming Value, Underlying Causes of Intractable Conflict, Frames, Framing and Reframing
Determine the Conflict Stage
Is the conflict latent, developing, or fully escalated? Has it become intractable? Is the conflict ripe for resolution, or do the parties involved feel it is in their best interest to continue with the status quo?
Learn the History
Are there underlying issues, such as the aftermath of colonialism or poverty, that are contributing to the conflict?
For more information about this topic, see: Unmet Human Needs, High-Stakes Distributional Issues, Rich / Poor Conflicts, Post-Colonialism (Aftermath of Colonization), Development and Conflict — Introduction, Addressing Underlying Causes of Conflict
Identify Stakeholders / Interest Groups
Have you identified the many interest or stakeholder groups (as well as individuals) who are involved or likely to become involved in the conflict?
Anticipate Stakeholder Reactions
Have you determined how these groups are likely to react to your work? Who will be allies and supporters? Who will be opponents? Here it is important to recognize within-group differences in interests and positions.
Are you familiar with different intervention options for peacebuilders?
For more information on this topic, see: Intervention Processes-Overview, Theories of Change, Peaceful Change Strategies, Conflict Assessment, Setting Goals, Facilitation, Negotiation, Peace Processes, Peacemaking, Peacekeeping, Peacebuilding
Levels of Intervention
Have you thought about ways in which different levels of society can contribute to the peacebuilding effort? Have you also thought about ways these different levels can work together effectively?
For more information on this topic, see: Hierarchical Intervention Levels, Elite Leadership, Midlevel Leaders, Grassroots Leaders, Diplomacy, Track I Diplomacy, Track II (Citizen) Diplomacy, Multi-Track Diplomacy, Military Intervention
Culture and Conflict
Are cultural misunderstandings contributing to the conflict? Are there differences between the parties in things like nationality, language, gender or age? Do you know some strategies for overcoming cultural differences?
For more information about this topic, see: Culture and Conflict, Women in Intractable Conflict, Communication Tools for Understanding Cultural Differences, Cross-Cultural Communication, Cultural and Worldview Frames, Culture-Based Negotiation Styles, Mediation and Multiculturalism
Coalition Building / Conflict Minimization
For each of the various stakeholder groups involved in the conflict (including yourself), have you considered ways of reducing opposition to their efforts while simultaneously strengthening their networks of allies and supporters?
Do you have a strategy for explaining the stakeholders' goals and actions to each other? For persuading them that the other stakeholders' goals are reasonable and equitable?
Have you been able to help the parties build trust with each other? With you?
Power / BATNAs
Are you clear about the nature of power and how it affects the parties' "alternatives to a negotiated agreement?" Are you clear about the powers available to other stakeholders? Have you been able to demonstrate to people the powers that the parties are willing to use to defend their interests? (Here you should consider legal, political, and economic power as well as the ability to undertake or resist violent assaults.)
For more information on this topic, see: Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA), Understanding Power, Coercive Power, Exchange Power, Integrative Power, Nonviolence, Power Inequities, Empowerment, Sanctions: Diplomatic Tool, or Warfare by Other Means, Incentives
Do you know how much of the current conflict might be attributable to misunderstandings? If not, do you know how to set up communication processes that might be able to answer this question? And, do you know how to set up communication processes that might limit these misunderstandings?
For more information on this topic, see: Misunderstandings, Channels of Communication, In-Depth Communication, Cross-Cultural Communication, Large-Scale Communication, Interpersonal - Small-Scale Communication
Emotional and Psychological Dimensions
Do you know to what extent the parties' responses are due to emotional and psychological dimensions, such as anger, fear or prejudice? Do you know what is causing these reactions and how to address them?
For more information on this topic, see: Emotions, Prejudice, Anger, Fear, Managing Interpersonal Trust and Distrust, Guilt and Shame, Humiliation, Dehumanization, Delegitimization, Victimhood, Face, Siege Mentality, Trauma Healing
Do you know how much of the conflict is attributable to disagreements regarding the basic facts? If not, do you know how to set up communication processes that might be able to answer this question? And, do you know how to set up joint fact-finding processes that might limit factual disagreements?
Do you know how to use the media to your advantage?
Do you know how much of the conflict is attributable to escalation and polarization? Have you developed and implemented effective steps to limit or reverse this effect?
If the conflict becomes violent, do you have a strategy for de-escalating the violence? If the violence is on a small scale, such as gang violence in a school, is it possible for you to prevent the violence? If the violence is on a national or international scale, is there anything you can do to decrease the suffering caused by the violence or to implement violence prevention programs or strategies?
Do you have a strategy for dealing with extremist groups such as paramilitaries or terrorists?
If the conflict you are involved in has become overly complex, do you understand theories of complexity and how to deal with it?
Dispute Systems Design
Do you expect a continuing series of similar disputes? Do you know about options for developing a system for the handling of routine disputes?
For more information on this topic, see: Designing New Dispute Resolution Systems
Do you know how to design a successful peace agreement, including things like how to reintegrate ex-combatants back into society, how to enforce the agreement, and how to create social structural change?
For more information on this topic, see: Peace Agreements, Substantive Provisions of Peace Agreements, Addressing Injustice, Security Guarantees, Social Structural Change, Reconstruction Programs, Reintegration of Ex-Combatants, Humanitarian Aid and Development Assistance, Power Sharing, Compensation Programs, Procedural Components of Peace Agreements, Monitoring of Agreements, Enforcement Mechanisms
Does the conflict involve a history of unrightable wrongs? Are you aware of options for transforming such conflicts?
Envisioning the Future
Have you envisioned the end goals of the peacebuilding process?
For more information on this topic, see: Envisioning, Settlement, Resolution, Management, or Transformation, Tolerance, Coexistence, Stable Peace