Humanitarian Exchange articles tagged:Conflict management

Even for aid agencies with a longstanding presence in Afghanistan, the challenges of securing access are growing. Problems caused by the insecure and fragmented operating environment are compounded by the uncertainties surrounding the transition to Afghan control of security and the drawdown of international combat troops in 2014. Aid agencies are increasingly being forced to rethink their strategies and approaches, and adopt new methods and mechanisms to ensure that they are able to reach those in need of assistance. Access constrained The World Food Programme (WFP), the largest operational humanitarian agency in Afghanistan, has worked continuously in the country since…
Almost two years after South Sudan’s independence, peace in Jonglei State remains elusive, despite attempts by the government, the international community, the Church and other national institutions to address the protracted violence there. This is not surprising given that these efforts have been disjointed, driven by multiple and conflicting agendas, lacking in strategic vision and seldom reflective of local perspectives. Grievances have been driven by a range of factors, including the perceived failure of the government to protect civilians and provide security and justice in an equitable manner; forced disarmament processes; perceptions of inequity in development and the distribution of…
The increase in violent conflict in the post cold war era has highlighted the need for a comprehensive, multifunctional approach to conflict management. The main characteristics of conflict today are its intrastate nature and the role of civilians as both perpetrators and victims of violent conflict. Interventions aimed at meaningful peace have to include a broad range of diverse activities that are aimed, amongst others, at demobilisation (often including child soldiers), finding a new commonly accepted state system, re-engineering most state functions such as the criminal justice system, and socioeconomic development. The result is that modern peacekeeping missions include a wide range of civilian personnel who are responsible for such diverse activities as…
Life is not easy in the Sahelian and Northern regions of Burkina Faso. These regions are characterised by arid soils, land and resource degradation and recurrent droughts, aggravated by persistent high temperatures, erratic rainfall, violent winds and deforestation. Other recurring shocks, such as epidemics and disease, further undermine development gains. Many villages are caught in a perpetual cycle of drought, floods, hunger and locust invasions. Efforts to build local communities’ resilience to these risks and crises are being put to the test by the complex and deepening food crisis across West Africa. Eighteen million people are affected, including a million…
In Chad, government forces, rebels, militias and ethnic groups frequently clash. A number of inter-related factors are in play in the violence, including scarce natural resources such as land, livestock and water, historical grievances and the inequitable distribution of economic resources, the proliferation of arms and weak democratic processes and state institutions. Refugee and IDP camps in eastern Chad have become increasingly militarised; recruitment campaigns including the forced recruitment of children are commonplace among all parties to the conflict, and the camps are allegedly used as rear bases for rest and recuperation by rebel groups of both Chadian and Sudanese…
How do humanitarian responders and the organisations they work for take conflict into account when responding to rapid-onset emergencies? In what ways do the actions of humanitarian agencies exacerbate conflict? These were some of the questions a group of NGOs working together in the Conflict Sensitivity Consortium[1] (CSC) set about answering in a commissioned report published by HPN in October 2011.[2] The research looked at the organisational frameworks and emergency manuals used by international NGOs, system-wide tools and standards such as the Sphere Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in humanitarian response and the HAP 2007 Standard in Humanitarian Accountability and…
Partnerships are said to be essential for successful disaster risk reduction (DRR), but basic questions about what makes them work are rarely asked. The rationale for multi-stakeholder partnerships in DRR is clear and compelling: DRR is a systematic approach to identifying, assessing and reducing the risks of disaster. It aims to reduce socio-economic vulnerabilities to disasters as well as dealing with the environmental and other hazards that trigger them. DRR thinking sees disasters as complex problems demanding a collective response from different disciplinary and institutional groups – in other words, partnerships.  No single group or organisation can address every aspect…
Increasingly, the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) is adopting more comprehensive and integrated mandates that deal not only with traditional security, but also attempt to engage in wider peacebuilding and protection efforts, including at the local community level. While in principle engagement at community-level peacebuilding is a laudable development, in practice it raises questions regarding DPKO’s capacity to fulfil this role. Although Civil Affairs work has been undertaken since the early 1990s, doctrinal development within DPKO has been slow, as it has in all areas of multidimensional peacebuilding within the UN. The Capstone Doctrine, including the Policy Directive for…
Since 1999, UN peacekeeping missions have been explicitly mandated to protect civilians under threat. On the ground, however, there remains a significant degree of confusion amongst soldiers and civilians working within peacekeeping missions about what exactly this civilian protection mandate entails. This article provides a brief summary of Oxfam’s experiences of engaging with peacekeeping missions around their protection responsibilities in Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Chad and Somalia. It argues that UN bodies and Member States must provide peacekeeping missions with better leadership and guidance to implement their protection mandate.   Civilian protection within UN peacekeeping Recent years…
Over the past two years, humanitarian assistance has made a decisive contribution to the stabilisation of the Central African Republic while the country’s condition was at its most critical. Back from the brink of collapse, the benefits of peace and stability now have to be spread much more widely across this desperately poor and conflict-ridden country if the patient is to recover successfully. However, while humanitarian assistance is levelling off and may well decrease in 2009, development support lags too far behind to pick up the baton. The looming recovery gap now jeopardises CAR’s fragile progress. Improving aid effectiveness In…
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