Conflict Management

Effective community consultation, early on in the project cycle, plays an important role in conflict prevention; conflicts during project preparation are costly both in terms of delays as well as in projects not approved as a result of conflict among stakeholders. Such a situation is recognized by the World Bank in its review of the role of community and Non-Government Organisations involvement and participation in projects. The statement of the World Bank Technical Paper 139 - Environmental Assessment Sourcebook, are given below:

"The purpose of taking the views of effected people into account is to improve project viability. The Bank has found that where such views have been incorporated in the design, the projects are more likely to be successful. The Bank has not found community participation to be an impediment to project execution. On the contrary, projects in which effected peoples' views have been excluded suffer from more frequent delays and poorer quality."

The high priority accorded to "ownership of projects" and "stakeholder participation in all program phases" is a typical success factor for all integrated resources and environmental management fields.

In some countries, special structures have been designed for this kind of "conflict management". All sorts of interested groups are invited in a very early stage of planning to investigate and discuss all aspects of a project. The discussion continues until all parties have reached an agreement on the main points. Other countries let the public debate more or less take its own course. All interested groups are provided with the plans and decisions to be implemented in a very early stage and they are guaranteed the possibilities of being heard and taken seriously (Magdolna et al., 1994).