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 or post-conflict reconstruction efforts (as a disputant) might want to consider the following questions.
- Identify Stakeholders / Interest Groups
Have you identified the many other interest or stakeholder groups (as well as individuals) who are involved or are possibly affected by or involved in your efforts?
- Clarify Goals
Are you clear about your underlying goals and interests? Is restoring relationships an important (or your most important) interest?
For more information about this topic, see: Setting Goals, Interests, Rebuilding Relationships, 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 you feel it is in your 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 your conflict?
For more information about this topic, see: Unmet Human Needs, High-Stakes Distributional Issues, Rich / Poor Conflicts, Effects of Colonization, Development and Conflict -- Introduction, Underlying Causes of Conflict
- Unrightable Wrongs
Does the conflict involved the history of unrightable wrongs? Are you aware of options for transforming such conflicts?
Do you know how much of the conflict might be attributable to misunderstandings? If not, do you know how to setup communication processes that might be able to answer this question? And, do you know how to setup 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
- Culture and Conflict
Are cultural misunderstandings contributing to the conflict? Are there differences between you and the other parties such as nationality, language, gender or age? Do you know some strategies for overcoming cultural differences?
For more information about this topic, see: Culture and Conflict, Cultural and Worldview Frames, Communication Tools for Understanding Cultural Differences, Culture-Based Negotiation Styles, Cross-Cultural Communication, Women in Intractable Conflict
- Emotional and Psychological Dimensions
Do you know the extent to which your 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?
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 much of the conflict is attributable to escalation and polarization? Have you developed and implemented effective steps to limit or reverse this effect?
- Response Options
Are you familiar with different response options?
For more information on this topic, see: Peaceful Change Strategies, optionsConflict Transformation, Activism, Negotiation, Nonviolent Direct Action, Activism, Rebuilding Relationships,Trauma Healing, Joint Projects, Drama in Conflict Resolution, Humanization, Reconciliation
- Levels of Action
Have you thought about what level of society you belong to? Are you part of the grassroots or the elite? Have you thought about ways you can work effectively with other levels of society?
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, Scale-Up
- Recognize how you fit into the "bigger picture."
Do you understand how your efforts relate to other peacebuilding efforts and processes--such as peacekeeping, peace making, violence prevention, nation-building, and democratization?
For help with this topic, see: Peace Processes, Meta-Conflict Resolution, Peacebuilding, Peacekeeping, Peace Making, International Violence Prevention, Nation Building, Democratization, Democracy and Conflict Management, Track I-Track II Cooperation
- Anticipate Stakeholder Reactions
Have you determined how other groups are likely to react to your peacemaking efforts? Who will be your allies and supporters? Who will be your opponents? Here it is important to recognize within-group differences as well as between-group differences.
- Coalition Building / Conflict Minimization
For each of the various stakeholder groups likely to be involved in the conflict, have you considered ways of minimizing their opposition to your efforts while simultaneously strengthening your network of allies and supporters?
Do you have a strategy for explaining your goals and actions to other stakeholders? For persuading others that your goals are reasonable and equitable?
Have you been able to earn the trust of people who are skeptical of your intentions and motivations?
- Power / BATNAs
Are you clear about the nature of power and how it affects your "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 you are willing to use to defend your interests? (Here you should consider legal, political, and economic power as well as the ability to 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, Capacity Building, Sanctions, Incentives
Do you know how to use the media to your advantage?
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 even before it can be stopped completely?
For more information on this topic, see: Limiting Escalation and De-Escalation Preventing Interpersonal Violence Preventive Diplomacy and International Violence Prevention
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
- Peace Agreements
Do you know how to design a successful peace agreement? What sort of things you should think about and/or include?
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
- Envisioning the Future
Have you envisioned the end goals of the peacebuilding process?