A Distinction with a Difference: Conflict Sensitivity and Peacebuilding

TitleA Distinction with a Difference: Conflict Sensitivity and Peacebuilding
Publication TypeBook
Subtitle / Series TitleArticle by the Reflecting on Peace Practice Project
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsChigas, D, Woodrow, P
Number of Pages12 pp.
PublisherReflecting on Peace Practice Project, Collaborative Learning Projects (CDA)
Accession Number1378

Are peacebuilding and conflict sensitivity the same thing? Different but related? Completely separate? Increasingly, practitioners and policy makers give different - and often opposing - answers to these simple questions. Part of the difficulty arises from the "migration" of the terms, as both have shifted their meanings over time, each coming to embrace more and more conceptual territory. Also, the various actors involved have shifted their roles. Development and humanitarian agencies have expanded from their traditional roles and increasingly attempt to address conflicts more directly. At the same time, peace practitioners recognize the need to address structural causes of conflict - which often requires development modes of programming. In the process, many people have become increasingly uncertain about what these two concepts mean and whether the distinction is even important. Why should we care about this? Is it causing harm?
Experience shows that conflating the two concepts or treating them as entirely distinct and unrelated, results in poorly conceived programming and reduces effectiveness. This article examines the damage done by this conceptual confusion, and proposes some ways to distinguish peacebuilding and conflict sensitivity that, evidence suggests, may lead to more effective peacebuilding and conflict sensitive practice.

URLhttp://www.cdainc.com/cdawww/pdf/article/RPP_Differentiating Conflict Sensitivity and Peacebuilding_20091026.pdf
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