Conflict Resolution and Security

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  • The Conflict Resolution and Security programme deals with an aspect of sustainable rural development that the UNU Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA) has not dealt with before: the resolution of conflicts and human security, particularly in the North of Ghana. The activities under this theme seek to empower local institutions, communities and individuals to manage and prevent conflict in Northern Ghana as a means to ensuring sustainable human security in the area. At the community level, traditional chiefs, women, youth, and farmers are recognized as the main actors who mitigate tensions and increase capabilities to manage and resolve conflicts. Municipal, regional and national stakeholders, including government institutions and NGOs/Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), will be equipped with functional capacities in mainstreaming conflict prevention and management.

    Focal Point

    The UNU-INRA focal point for this programme is Ms. Yasuko Kusakari.


    The programme seeks to empower local institutions, communities and individuals to manage and prevent conflict in Northern Ghana as a means to ensuring sustainable human security in the area. The programme specifically supports a five-prong intervention with interrelated components as follows: i) Capacity development of local institutions and civil society for good decentralized governance and conflict prevention; ii) Enhancement of mechanisms for conflict prevention and peace consolidation in Northern Ghana; iii) Support to increase production, productivity and income generating capacity through micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises; iv) Improvement of agricultural productivity and nutritional status for enhanced food security; and v) Promoting the mainstreaming and advocating of the Human Security Concept in the Ghanaian development context.


    This programme will involve conducting a review of the literature, undertaking baseline surveys, providing training and organizing dialogues with the communities. An evaluation of the programme will be undertaken at the end.


    Gender dimensions will receive attention in the implementation of the programme. Women’s groups will be targeted for skills development, marketing and access to credits.

    Target Audience

    Local communities in Northern Ghana, NGOs, universities and research institutions are the target of this programme.

    Intended Impact

    Impact: Capacity development in developed/developing countries
    Target: The programme targets local communities in Northern Ghana, universities and research institutions.
    How: This will be achieved through workshops, seminars and awareness raising.

    Research Findings

    According to the opinion of survey respondents, the main causes of conflicts in the programme areas are chieftaincy, politics, lack of jobs and poverty; and these are interrelated. It is perceived that youth, especially with lack of education and unemployed, tend to be channeled into instigating conflicts. It was found that farming was not very attractive for respondents as only 20%  were into farming, and the existing environmental threats including poor rainfall, soil infertility and destruction of crops by domestic animals may deter even those who may be committed to farming. Economic activities are not very vibrant in the programme areas; petty trading and farming are the main sources of income, apart from the large number (including students) who depend on their family for their living. This is exacerbated by low access to credit; less than 5% has had access to credit. As to how to ensure human security in communities, a set of solutions — both for short term and long term — has been proposed by respondents as follows: enforcement of law and order, patrol by security forces, punishment for wrongs; the creation of jobs; and the provision of basic infrastructure

    Policy Bridging

    So far policy dialogues have been organized with local communities to discuss the findings of the baseline survey.

    Value Added

    This programme will bring UNU to the forefront of research in human security that links conflict prevention and poverty reduction through practical intervention. This is the first UNU programme to play critical roles in a human security programme, which is funded by the UN Trust Fund for Human Security (UNTFHS).


    Outcomes will be shared through workshops and awareness raising activities in collaboration with the UN System in Ghana.

    Timeline/Programme Cycle

    The programme was formulated from 2006 to 2008 by the UN system in Ghana in collaboration with Government of Ghana and other stakeholders. A 3-year programme was approved by the UNTFHS and implementation began in mid-2009. The programme was set up in 2009; implemented in 2010 and 2011; and will conclude with final workshops, evaluation and other exit strategies in 2012.


    The project will be evaluated in 2012.


    Due to ongoing conflicts and critical security situation especially in Bawku, Upper East region, UN staff members are not allowed to travel in that area. This is very likely to hinder research and other programme activities.

    Expected Duration

    The programme is expected to run for a duration of 36 months, from 1 June 2009 through 31 May 2012.

  • Activities within the programme will involve cooperation between the UNU Institute for Natural Resources in Africa and five partners:

    • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
    • United Nations Development Programme
    • United Nations Children’s Fund
    • United Nations Industrial Development Organization
    • World Food Programme
  • Title: Final Baseline Survey Report for the UN Joint Human Security Programme in Northern Ghana
    Publication/Output Type: Working Document

  • United Nations University
    Institute for Natural Resources in Africa

    International House
    Annie Jiage Road
    University of Ghana, Legon Campus
    Accra, Ghana.

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