Reflecting on Peace Practice

Launched in 1999, the Reflecting on Peace Practice Program (RPP) offered practical answers to the program’s core questions about effectiveness in the peacebuilding field. At its heart, RPP is about questioning assumptions, coupling analysis to everyday work, and demanding that we work toward a concept of peace that is greater than the success of individual programs.

The experience and lessons gained through the years of RPP’s operation are the foundation of CDA’s peacebuilding strategy. CDA continues to promote learning in this field through learning partnerships and ongoing collaborative learning efforts.

Core Questions
  • What works in peace programming?
  • What are the effective roles for “outsiders” in promoting peace?
  • Should peace practitioners be accountable for their contributions to “Peace Writ Large”?
  • How can peace programs be measured or evaluated?
  • What are the appropriate criteria for judging effectiveness?
  • Can systems thinking tools assist in better conflict analyses and the more effective use of analysis in program design?

In 2006, CDA developed an approach to guiding evaluations of conflict prevention and peacebuilding activities for the OECD DAC, incorporating lessons from RPP case studies, 28 interviews, an extensive document review, and two application workshops.


Building on the Reflecting on Peace Practice framework, CDA’s Environment-Fragility-Peace Nexus project is working with local actors to create RPP+ as a new systems-based analysis tool to examine context-specific environmental vulnerabilities and factors for/against peace and climate resilience. CDA’s vision is for these partnerships to equip effective action in the most complex environments today and in the critical decades to come.

Confronting War

From 1999 through 2002, CDA conducted 26 case studies of individual peace projects around the world.  The lessons from those case studies are presented in Confronting War: Critical Lessons for Peace Practitioners.

Confronting War asserted the need for practitioners to consider whether and how their efforts contribute to Peace Write Large, which was a strong challenge at the time. Other key insights included the Building Blocks Toward Peace (sometimes referred to as Criteria of Effectiveness) and the RPP Matrix, which helps practitioners explore program strategies and uncover implicit theories of change.

Since 2003, CDA has undertaken training, consulting, and mentoring to expand a global community of trained individuals and organizations who are well positioned to advance RPP usage.

Confronting War