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An Introduction to Conflict Sensitivity


- Defining Conflict Sensitivity

- How to Approach Conflict Sensitivity

- An Example of Conflict Sensitivity in Practice



Defining Conflict Sensitivity

Reaching a consensus on how to understand the notion of conflict sensitivity has proven to be a challenging but crucial task for the Consortium, particularly due to the malleable nature of conflict sensitivity across different sectors and contexts. 

 The Consortium has 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;

- 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. Click on the links below to continue this introduction or start with "Conflict Sensitive Approaches to Development, Humanitarian Assistance and Peacebuilding" .