Conflict exists in all societies at all times. Non-violent resolution is possible when individuals and groups have trust in their governing structures, society and institutions to manage incompatible interests. Conflict becomes a problem when this trust and respective conflict management capacities are absent and conflicting parties choose instead to resort to the use of force to secure their goals. Addressing the causes and effects of conflict are critical to the stabilisation process.
Gender relates to the system of personal and social relations through which women and men gain access to power and status within society. A gendered perspective therefore informs understanding of cultural context and conflict dynamics. Where conflict is perpetrated along gender lines, tailored interventions are required, for example to address gender based violence.
Comprehensive/integrated approach refers to people from different institutions (with particular reference to civilian and military institutions) working together at several levels to achieve common aims. An integrated approach recognises that no one government department has a monopoly over responses to the challenges of stabilisation contexts and that by making best use of the broad range of knowledge, skills and assets of government departments, integrated efforts should be mutually reinforcing.
Monitoring and evaluation is a means of tracking progress and assessing impact of activities by gathering data against agreed indicators. It enables intended and unintended consequences of activities to be identified and plans to be reviewed and adapted accordingly. It can support accountability of stabilisation actors and their use of resources.
Political settlement refers to the formal and informal process of bargaining between elites as well as between the state and organised groups in society regarding the organising of power. Political settlement underpins state and state-society relations and forms the relationship between formal and informal institutions and the distribution of power in society.
‘Security and justice’ refers to all aspects of a country's ability to meet the range of security and justice needs of citizens. It includes the services offered by both state and non-state entities and how these interact.
Stabilisation is the process of establishing early peace and security in countries affected by conflict and instability. Central to the stabilisation process is the promotion of a peaceful political settlement to support a legitimate indigenous government, which can better respond to its people. Stabilisation often requires external support to indigenous efforts and is best undertaken through an integrated approach.