The concept of Conflict Sensitivity does not have one agreed definition; different actors adopt definitions tailored for the work they do and the context under which they operate. The Conflict Sensitivity Community Hub (CSC-Hub) understands conflict sensitivity as defined by the Consortium that preceded the Hub.
Reaching a consensus on the notion of conflict sensitivity proved to be a challenging and crucial task for the Consortium. To counter this challenge, the following working definition for a conflict sensitive approach (CSA) was adopted:
“A conflict sensitive approach involves gaining a sound understanding of the two-way interaction
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).”
This definition can be contextualised and is meant to serve as a guiding definition which can be adapted to a variety of circumstances. Therefore, it can be applied:
● to all contexts, regardless of the severity or frequency of violence, even in situations where underlying tensions have not recently resulted in violence;
● across and throughout all areas of our work and should be applied as an institutional approach (beyond tools);
● 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
● it does not require changing mandates/priorities/objectives as it does not entail an explicit commitment to peacebuilding as a priority – it 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 or activities. This may be considered a peacebuilding side-effect of adopting a conflict sensitive approach.
This website contains several resources that can help you, your organisation and partners develop your competencies on conflict sensitive approach (CSA). To access them, check out our Resources