Conflict, Humanitarian Assistance and Peacebuilding: Meeting the Challenges

This paper summarises current debates on conflict aid and peacebuilding and suggests that humanitarian agencies can go beyond avoiding negative impacts on conflict (‘Do No Harm’) to contributing positively to conflict transformation and peacebuilding (‘Do Good’) in a way that respects their core mandates and key humanitarian principles. The paper argues that this may be achieved by incorporating a ‘conflict sensitive’ approach in planning and programming.

Challenges faced by agencies trying to achieve a ‘conflict sensitive’ approach to humanitarian assistance include policy challenges (including competing and conflicting government agendas and restrictive funding parameters) operational challenges (including diversion of aid to belligerents and threats to staff security) and challenges of internal management and capacity (including insufficient resources and high staff turnover).

In order to achieve a ‘conflict sensitive’ approach the article advocates key recommendations for humanitarian agencies as well as donor agencies and governments. [Summary Source: International Alert Eldis]