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This paper is based on a consultancy evaluation conducted in 2002 for an international network on early warning and early response to conflict. The author of this paper was the lead consultant. The work of the consultancy has been subsequently developed as a case study in this paper.

A growth in networks as an organizational form and rising currency for knowledge are beginning to stimulate the demand for an evolution of evaluation approaches that will capture key learning and outline strategies for the development of networks on conflict prevention. The research of this paper seeks to capture key reflections on the inter-related areas of – conflict-prevention networks, the challenges of evaluating them, and gaps or future areas needing additional exploration. The paper begins by reviewing what we can glean from evaluation of a conflict prevention network that can support best practices and policies in others. A discussion of the strengths and weaknesses that the evaluation process raised vis a vis learning about effectiveness of conflict prevention networks follows. Given that the literature review revealed a dearth of information on this topic, the concluding section offers preliminary ideas for future work and research that are intended to inform future evaluations of networks working in the field of peace, security, and development.