Myanmar’s ongoing triple transition from conflict to peace, from authoritarianism to democracy, and from a closed to an open market economy offers an unprecedented opportunity for peace and democracy. Nevertheless, there are still high levels of violence in parts of the west and east – as a result of profound unresolved issues on the future governance structure. The day-to-day lives of many of Myanmar’s citizens are over-shadowed by militarisation and insecurity. Meanwhile, areas in the west and north-east of the country continue to experience intense conflicts between the Myanmar army and non-state armed actors resulting in major protection concerns for civilians.
Against this backdrop, the influx of aid and investment into Myanmar carries the possibility of worsening conflict in the region. International organisations often give only limited consideration to the concerns and perspectives of local communities; instead approaches are driven and framed by international interests and requirements that overlook local conflict dynamics and risk exacerbating tensions.
Saferworld’s community-led approaches to conflict sensitivity aims to empower communities and civil society to constructively challenge international donors and foreign investors and to negotiate better development outcomes that take community concerns into account.