The reasons for the development and escalation of conflicts and the incidence of risks are multifaceted and complex. Simultaneously, the assessment of the specific causes in the form of risk and conflict analyses can contribute to a better understanding of these processes, and make it possible to provide warning of negative developments or ideally to help prevent them. In the context of natural resource use, risks and conflicts have gained increasing attention in the past years. The diverse coverage of future water wars in the international year of fresh water 2003 is merely one example of this.
The particular challenge of conflict and risk analysis is analyzing the interactions between environment and resources as well as different influence factors of a conflict. By regularly and comprehensively observing the political developments in a particular region, crisis tendencies can be recognized in time, and the necessary measures can be arranged. In this field of early warning systems, there are increasingly also environmental and resource-related indicators in addition to 'classical' indicators for human rights or democratic participation. Peace and Conflict Impact Assessments (PCIA) are also becoming increasingly relevant in this context. The application of PCIAs aims, for example, to avoid exacerbating political conflict constellations when providing humanitarian relief supplies or development aid.