Towards a Conflict-Sensitive Poverty Reduction Strategy: Lessons from a Retrospective Analysis

This report aims to determine how causes and consequences of violent conflict can best be addressed within a country’s poverty reduction program. It is based on a retrospective analysis of the poverty reduction strategy (PRS) experience in nine conflict affected countries namely, Bosnia-Herzegovina (BIH), Burundi, Cambodia, Chad, Georgia, Nepal, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Sri Lanka.

The analysis identified several factors of conflict that were present to varying degrees in all nine countries. These factors constitute challenges related to governance; economic performance; in-country regional disparities; social divisions along ethnic, religious or clan lines; access to land and resources; militarized society; and external factors such as subregional politics, refugee flows, as well as the influence of the Diaspora.

In discussing the extent to which different aspects of the PRS process were sensitive to conflict, a number of lessons and key recommendations emerged in the following areas:

– Participation

– Poverty diagnostic

– Policy

– Institutional arrangements

– Donor behaviour.

The following key issues for conflict-sensitive PRS Development were highlighted:

– country specific: a PRSP needs to be specific to the country context and flexible in responding to changing circumstances, while taking account of potential risks.

– there is a strong need for good contextual analysis and for avoiding the mechanical use of tools and lessons

– nimble and flexible: the process and strategy for a PRS framework could be structured so that design and implementation allow the countries to (i) respond relatively quickly to changing situations; (ii) be flexible in their design and implementation; and (iii) produce alternative options when changes render current measures irrelevant.

[Summary Source: based on Eldis]