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.

This website contains many resources that can help you adopt a conflict sensitive approach. To continue click a link below: