Humanitarian assistance without conflict sensitivity can cause or aggravate tensions and conflicts, which may result in more harm than good. This was stated by an expert during the launch of a research study on “ Applying Conflict Sensitivity in Emergency Response: Current Practices and Way Forward” held on Monday, said a press release issued by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI.)
Conducted by CARE International, the study is based on field research in Haiti, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and maps the current state of conflict sensitive approaches (CSA) in these areas.
The participants at the event on Monday stressed on risk reduction, preparedness, further focus on gender, in order to develop Pakistan-specific conflict sensitive approaches. They also demanded a separate study on Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Balochistan to be able to give context to the various ‘conflicts’ in these areas.
While explaining the importance of CSA, they said that it identifies good practices and gaps in the emergency programming cycle for the conflict-hit areas. The study concludes that there are clear opportunities for synergy between conflict sensitivity integration and the emergency capacity-building within agencies and puts forward the idea of integrating CSA across the humanitarian programme cycle.
SDPI Executive Director Dr Abid Suleri said that we must be ready to deal with more conflicts and old ways of responding to emergencies would not deliver anymore. He highlighted the need to sensitise disaster management polices adding that good policies can reduce the devastating impacts of disasters, “as often policy failures exacerbate to human sufferings”.
CARE International Senior Advocacy Advisor Aimal Khan Khattak maintained that conflict sensitivity in development assistance can serve not only to decrease levels of conflict or the potential for violent conflicts, but also to increase the effectiveness of the assistance.
Naseer Memon, Chief Executive, Strengthening Participatory Organisation, Islamabad urged the disaster response organisations to be better oriented with different types of conflicts and incorporate these learning in future plans.
Oxfam Novib Policy Advocacy and Campaigning Advisor Amajd Nazeer, while explaining the diversified causes of conflict, said that distribution of food, shelter and other vital commodities can also potentially cause conflict amongst affected and beneficiaries. The report launch was jointly organised by CARE International and SDPI on Monday.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 17th, 2012.