Multi-Stakeholder Processes for Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding: A Manual


Conflict prevention is one of the most important and most difficult challenges of our time, which can only be addressed through the combined effort of many different groups, agencies and sectors. The multi-stakeholder approach proposes that such different types of groups can work together, or at least in synergy, towards a common objective. This manual explores the viability, options and experiences of multistakeholder processes from the perspective of civil society organisations (CSOs) working to prevent conflict and build peace. It is a critical assessment of the multi-stakeholder approach that seeks to answer a number of key questions; What practical considerations do CSOs need to bear in mind when they initiate or participate in such processes? How can we make these processes more efficient and productive? When is it better not to engage in such a process?

Download full manual here or per section below.

To complement the Conflict Analysis Field Guide, this manual aims to:

  • Harness the knowledge on multi-stakeholder processes of CSOs and peacebuilding practitioners in different regions in the context of conflict prevention.
  • Provide practical guidance for CSOs and their partners to initiate or engage in multi-stakeholder processes as a part of conflict prevention strategies.
  • Enable CSOs to use their conflict analysis strategically and as part of a preventive action process.

1. Acknowledgements & About this manual
The MSP Manual is a product of GPPAC's Preventive Action Working Group, as part of a process that was initiated in 2011. Section 1 gives more background into the events, rationale and methodology that led to this manual.

2. About Multi-Stakeholder Processes
Section 2 is an introduction to the idea, background and rationale of the
multi-stakeholder approach. It describes the theory of change of this
approach as related to conflict prevention and peacebuilding objectives,
outlining in brief the benefits and risks, as well as possible alternatives.

3. Key Considerations and Challenges
Section 3 unpacks and responds to these benefits and risks by discussing
the underlying issues that can make or break a multi-stakeholder process.
Fundamental questions around legitimacy, power, and ownership are
continuous considerations that need to be addressed from the outset

4. Deciding for a Multi-Stakeholder Approach
Section 4 guides the practitioner in deciding when and whether to initiate
or participate in a multi-stakeholder process. It discusses conditions and
timing in the context, as well as the competencies and skills required of the
organisers and the participants.

5. Steps in the Process 
Section 5 outlines key steps in the process of initiating, preparing and
designing, implementing, and concluding the process. This section also
refers to a number of tools that can aid some of the steps and stages of the

6. Considering Stakeholder Groups
Section 6 gives a basic overview of some of the stakeholder groups that
can be considered for the process, exploring their potential roles in conflict
prevention, the risks involved and what type of preparation or entry point
might be useful for getting them on board.

7. Tools and Templates
Section 7 provides practical tools to help plan and implement an MSP, to
give the reader some optional support to take the practical steps of m oving
from theory to practice.

8. Practitioners' Reflections 
Section 8 presents reflections on four diverse case studies—the Pacific,
Kyrgyzstan, Kenya and Latin America—based on interviews with
practitioners having been involved in multi-stakeholder initiatives in those
regions on either national or regional levels.

9. Glossary

10. Bibliography
Sections 9 and 10 provide a glossary and sources to help the reader
delve deeper into the rich materials reviewed for this project.

Annex: GPPAC's Preventive Action Working Group

  • Templates

Go or No-Go? Self-assessment grid

Basic Action Plan template

Progress Indicators

  • Additional links and resources

Human Security Handbook. Alliance for Peacebuilding, GPPAC & Kroc (2015)

Towards New Social Contracts: Using Dialogue Processes to Promote Social Change. CIVICUS (2015)

The MSP Guide (2015) and MSP Tool Guide (2017). Wageningen University & Research Centre - Knowledge Co-Creation Portal Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships

Outcome Mapping Community

Community Security Handbook. Saferworld (2014)

  • Case studies

Mesa de Seguridad in Mexico and Local Peace Committees in Zimbabwe - Empowerment & Protection. GPPAC (2014)

Local Ownership in Security: Case Studies of Peacebuilding Approaches. Alliance for Peacebuilding, GPPAC, Kroc Institute (2015)

One Text initiative in Sri Lanka 

"It was not how we imagined it" Multi-stakeholder dialogue in Bolivia. UNDP (2011)




MSP Manual  ©GPPAC 2015