The paper describes and analyses the role of civil society in five conflict cases – Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Transnistria, Western Sahara and Israel/ Palestine. It evaluates the relative effectiveness of civil society organisations (CSOs) and assesses the potential and limits of CSO involvement in conflicts. In particular it concentrates on civil society activities in the fields of peace training and education, including formal and non-formal education, as well as research and media work. The research also identifies the obstacles that local third sector is faced with, examining experiences and lessons learned. The study then presents critical assessments of local CSO contributions to conflict transformation and concludes with a set of suggestions for local and mid-level civil society actors involved in these five conflict cases and beyond. This paper is an overview study, to provide ideas and documentation to the more detailed empirical research carried out in the context of the MICROCON Work Package ‘Conflict in the European Neighbourhood’.