Working safely and in a conflict-sensitive way

Project description

Title: A common security system for German development cooperation in Afghanistan
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ); German Federal Foreign Office (AA)
Country: Afghanistan
Overall term: 2008 to 2013


International cooperation in Afghanistan faces special challenges. Conflicts are becoming increasingly violent, and the complex web of interests is difficult to unravel because of the large number of very diverse actors. In addition, former warring parties have become part of the new elites and thus have a decisive influence on the development process. These conditions call for an especially high level of sensitivity and for flexible measures in order to guarantee the security of staff and project implementation.


The security of German development cooperation staff and conflict-sensitive project implementation are guaranteed even under difficult conditions.


Since November 2008, GIZ has been implementing a risk management project commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Federal Foreign Ministry in cooperation with other organisations, including KfW Development Bank, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, the Heinrich Böll Foundation, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the German Central Agency for Schools Abroad (ZfA).

The focus of risk management work is on applying the acceptance strategy. This strategy aims to gain social acceptance of the organisation through measures to reduce the risk of attack in an environment relevant to operations. It is particularly important to establish good relations with the local population, to explain the purpose of projects and to involve the population.

Conflict-sensitive action is a key factor for the success of projects in Afghanistan. It has a decisive influence on acceptance and thus, ultimately, on staff safety too. Due to this close connection, advisory services on conflict-sensitive project implementation are part of risk management.

Results achieved so far

The application of various strategies and instruments guarantees conflict-sensitive project implementation and the safety of all employees. Based on the introduction of a proactive risk management system, efforts are underway to explain the work of the implementing organisations to the local population. This ensures a greater level of trust and acceptance.

The project has developed a range of different analytical products and an improved website that provides comprehensive and continuously updated information.

Staff members receive regular training on matters relating to conflict management and culturally appropriate behaviour, leading to improved awareness of security and cultural issues. An effective evacuation management system has been introduced combining the development of generic evacuation plans and the provision of appropriate advice to individual projects. The system is constantly adapted to accommodate new circumstances.

Continuous monitoring and evaluation guarantees the sustained optimisation of the project’s services. As a result, the risk management system is able to respond flexibly to the needs of all employees.