Conflict Sensitivity and Risk Management Strategy - Advantages and Limitations

  • Mainstreaming of RM and conflict sensitivity (CS) can help to reduce risks to staff, partners, beneficiaries and project assets to an acceptable level.
  • This contributes to effective development practices (strategic, personnel, operational) with positive impacts, i.e. de-escalating and transforming impacts on the conflict context.
  • The staff become enabled to better analyse the situation, identifying ways to cope with risk, and develop appropriate modes of service delivery. As a result the quality of interventions improves and deprived groups can gain access to development services even in insecure environments.
  • Improved reputation and acceptance of project activities from relevant stakeholders, including conflict parties. 
  • The beneficiaries feel safer while working with projects.
  • Increased feelings of safety among the staff as RM can anticipates the level of psychological stress they will/may experience. This helps staff to build confidence within the development organisation and improves the quality of work.
  • A RM approach needs to keep pace with the changing conflict environment. In complex and fast changing contexts, this may be a time consuming process, consuming additional resources. 
  • Flexibility as a key principle of RM and CS which may diminish the formal project cycle planning process.
  • A plurality of stakeholders in the development sector with diverse approaches and stances towards the conflicting parties may jeopardise RM and conflict sensitive project designs since protection measures like working principles and codes of conducts become mixed up so that they are no longer transparent anymore.
  • The project’s independence, impartiality and neutrality become endangered in cases of military operations involving donor countries, since the lines between military operation and civil reconstruction get blurred, thus heightening the vulnerability towards threats. In such contexts of heightened risk the principles and procedures of RM may be more difficult to apply and be less effective. 
  • Physical and psychological stresses affecting project staff as well as damage to the project assets can never be completely precluded.