Conflict sensitive approaches
A conflict sensitive approach identifies, and takes account of, issues within the local context and affected population that can aggravate existing or potential conflicts.
Conflicts are dynamic and have many causes such as poverty, discrimination or injustice e.g. contested access to limited services or resources; inequality amongst ethnic, religious, or political groups.
Insurgents may seek funds or food for survival but this can be taken over by powerful / political interests e.g. looting, blockades, ransoms, illegal trading.
Humanitarian assistance presents a significant risk to aggravating conflict through the diversion or manipulation of aid supplies.
Approaches that address the underlying causes of conflict:
- promote human security, respect for human rights, political/judicial reforms;
- tackle inequality, exclusion, and discrimination to prevent grievances arising;
- combine peace building, sustainable development, and strengthening civil society with short term humanitarian relief.
Do No Harm
Humanitarian assistance given without consideration of conflict sensitivity can increase the risk and incidence of violence, waste limited aid resources and leave those affected worse off as a result of your intervention.
Conflict sensitive approach
- Carry out, and regularly review, a conflict analysis
- Link your conflict analysis with the project cycle for your intervention
- Plan, implement, monitor and evaluate your programme in a conflict sensitive way – including making changes to avoid negative impacts
Analyse the context
Analyse dividers and connectors
Design your strategy-
- Research country’s history
- Analyse security, political,economic and social issues
- Identify and consult with all parties to the conflict
- Identify triggers/causes e.g. elections, arrest/assassination of key leader or political figure; military coup; rapid unemployment, natural disaster, increased price/scarcity of basic commodities.
Identify sources of tension between groups e.g. economics, politics, religion, geography
Analyse how people are also connected e.g. markets, history, symbols, shared attitudes
Understand the interaction between your programmes and context: where, why, who, what and how assistance if offered
Apply your analysis:
- maintain a principled approach– neutrality, impartiality and independence- to eliminate negative, conflict-worsening impacts
- to not miss the opportunity to support peace
re-check the impacts on dividers and connectors
Adopting a conflict sensitive approach does good - not harm - by:
- Decreasing the levels of, or potential for, violence
- Reducing the risk of death or injury to beneficiaries and humanitarian workers
- Minimising lost or wasted resources through trouble shooting or corruption
- Reducing the risk of project delays, closure or early withdrawal
- Promoting rapid recovery and sustainability
This page was last updated on 10 October 2013