Defining Conflict Sensitivity
Reaching a consensus on how to understand the notion of conflict sensitivity proved to be a challenging and crucial task for the Consortium, particularly due to the malleable nature of conflict sensitivity across different sectors and contexts.
The Consortium adopted the following working definition for a conflict sensitive approach (CSA). This definition can be contextualised and is meant to serve as a guiding definition which can be adapted to a variety of circumstances:
“A conflict sensitive approach involves gaining a sound understanding of the two-way interaction between activities and context and acting to minimise negative impacts and maximise positive impacts of intervention on conflict, within an organisation’s given priorities/objectives (mandate).”
The above definition of a conflict sensitive approach:
- Applies to all contexts, regardless of the severity or frequency of violence, even in situations where underlying tensions have not recently resulted in violence;
- Applies across and throughout all areas of our work and should be applied as an institutional approach (beyond tools);
- Applies to all types of work, to encompass humanitarian, development and peacebuilding, also including, where appropriate, work conducted by local civil society, government or private sector partners; and
- Does not require changing mandates/priorities/objectives, and does not entail an explicit commitment to peacebuilding as a priority ( can be mainstreamed across any priority/mandate).
It is also noted that the enhanced understanding of conflict that stems from conflict sensitivity may lead some agencies to explicitly adopt peacebuilding priorities/activities. This may be considered a peacebuilding side-effect of adopting a conflict sensitive approach.
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