Conflict sensitivity is not merely about conducting a conflict analysis or checking off a box before undertaking a programme. It is about recognising the relationship between how programmes can affect conflict and the wider context and how, in turn, the context can affect programming.
In addition to understanding the larger conflict context, an organisation should be conflict-sensitive at the project and programme level. Every activity is part of the conflict dynamic and thus has the potential to negatively or positively affect the conflict and larger context. Therefore, adapting a conflict-sensitive approach is essential to projects and programmes that directly address conflict as well as those that seek simply to avoid indirectly exacerbating it.
To date, there is no unified terminology for conflict-sensitive programme planning. Terms in use include Conflict Analysis at the programme or project level, and Peace and Conflict Impact Assessment (PCIA). In general, such approaches study how a particular intervention might affect the conflict, either positively or negatively, and how the conflict or context might affect the intervention.
Because of the dynamic and changing nature of conflict, the analysis should be ongoing. For this reason, some eschew terms such as Conflict Analysis or PCIA. The Field Diplomacy Initiative, for example, refers to Peace and Conflict Impact Assessment Systems (PCIAS) in order to emphasise that it is an ‘integrated system approach into the routine planning, monitoring and implementation of their interventions’.