Conflict sensitive planning framework for development in Ghana: a case study of Nanumba North District

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Development practitioners have acknowledged the interrelation between development and conflicts for long; however, current development practices still isolate conflict as a matter of security alone. This leads to belated response and the devastating impacts when violence breaks out. Conflict situation in Ghana is no exception to this. The increasing trends of violent conflicts at the district level pose a major challenge for decentralized development in the county. Development planning can play a major role in preventing the outbreak or re-emerging of violent conflict. Core to the discussion is the need to mainstream conflict sensitive approach to development planning at the district level. However, this study Linda that the current security and development policies have also had negative impacts towards prolonging the conflict situation. Absence of preventive measures, forceful means of conflict resolution and concentration on short-term interventions after the conflicts are some of the gaps identified. Furthermore, conflicts are not explicitly addressed in the formulation of development policies. For example, the planning guidelines do not include conflict analysis and management in the document, although it as widely known that conflicts are also embedded in the planning process itself These arc further provoked by the inconsistencies in the implementation of decentralized development planning to date. Therefore, conflict sensitivity in this case, not only aim to reduce or prevent the outbreak of violent conflicts but also to improve effectiveness of the planning process by tackling the said inconsistencies through conflict sensitive approach. The result also indicates that although there is substantial awareness of the need of conflict management at the district level, it is inferred, the districts are handicapped by lack of technical know-how in conflict analysis and conflict management The commitment towards conflict management was also found to be inadequate, as most of the district administrations still indicate that conflict analysis should be carried out by the DISEC. In the discussion of conflict in Nanumba North district, it is found that although the district was associated with the history of violent conflicts and that more than half of the responses indicated that there is possibility for another outbreak of violence, conflict appeared to be not a key development problem in the district. The implication is that the efforts are geared towards addressing other (development issues while the underlying causes of the past conflicts remain latent. Coupled with rapid demographic change in the district, the possibility of another violence cannot be ruled out completely. Unfortunately, with this kind of situation, the district administration lacks the capacity in conflict analysis and conflict management. The situation is further aggravated by ongoing institutional conflicts in the planning process which has equal impact leading to ineffective planning. The daunting picture of the finding the fact that substantial members of the district planning authorities indicated that they did not incorporate or under take conflict analysis and conflict management in their programming simply because it is not part of the schedule of work. The task to mainstream conflict into development planning process in Ghana is becoming more complex with this kind of attitude; however it is also becoming necessary and immediate given the nature of conflicts and how these have been spatially distributed throughout the country. Therefore this study calls for institutionalization of conflicts as part of the planning framework at all levels of government and as integrative approach in facilitating sustainable development outcomes.
A Thesis Submitted to the School of Graduate Studies University f Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Development Planning and Management, 2005