Applying Conflict Sensitivity in Emergency Response

Since the introduction of the Do No Harm framework more than ten years ago, the humanitarian sector has invested in a range of initiatives to address programme quality and accountability. Although aid agencies often seek to be neutral or nonpartisan toward the winners and losers of a war, the impact of their aid is not neutral regarding whether conflict worsens or abates’. This paper identifies conflict flashpoints common to the activities of first-phase emergency responses; identifies how programme and surge capacity staff currently apply conflict sensitivity in the context of rapid-onset emergencies, maps key conflict-sensitivity challenges faced by aid agencies; and draws out conclusions and practical recommendations to strengthen the use of conflict-sensitive approaches in future humanitarian emergencies.

  • Countries: Haiti, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Global
  • Co-authors: ODI, CAFOD, Nona Zicherman
  • Published: October 2011

Related Publications

Women and girls in emergencies

This report collects and summarises new data and evidence from reports and research on women and girls’ specific vulnerabilities in natural disasters and conflicts. It shows that disasters disproportionately affect women and girls and offers... Read more...


Violence, uncertainty, and resilience among refugee women and community workers: An evaluation of gender-based violence case management services in the Dadaab refugee camps

In the Dadaab refugee camps, CARE International and the International Rescue Committee have developed a comprehensive case management approach to address the needs of gender-based violence survivors. A cornerstone of this work has been to develop... Read more...


Dangerous ground: Syrian refugees face an uncertain future

This report warns that governments in Europe, the United States and the region are putting many lives at risk by closing borders and forcing Syrian refugees back to Syria, or openly discussing measures for... Read more...


Suffering in silence: The 10 most under-reported humanitarian crises of 2017

The year 2017 was marked by scores of humanitarian crises: armed conflicts, natural disasters, climate shocks, hunger, displacement. While most of these crises made the headlines, there are others which barely made the news. And when crises are... Read more...


Targeting vulnerable households for humanitarian cash transfers

A case study on using a community-based, participatory approach to target the most vulnerable in Zimbabwe’s cash-first... Read more...


Left behind: How the world is failing women and girls on refugee family reunion

This report, based on new research from Greece and elsewhere, highlights how the failure to provide safe and legal routes for refugees, in particular for family reunion, has gendered impacts on women and girls left stranded in countries of... Read more...


Men and boys in displacement: Assistance and protection challenges for unaccompanied boys and men in refugee contexts

Refugee women and children face specific risks and their needs are, quite rightly, highlighted and addressed by the humanitarian community. However, the situation and specific needs of single male refugees is often less understood. This report... Read more...


Self-recovery from disasters: an interdisciplinary perspective

This paper presents the findings from a pilot research project in the Philippines and Nepal that investigated how disaster-affected households in low- and middle-income countries rebuild their homes in situations where little or no support is... Read more...