A community-led approach to conflict sensitivity in Myanmar

Recent political developments in Myanmar offer an unprecedented opportunity to consolidate the steps taken towards peace and democracy over the past five years. Nevertheless, limited reductions in violence in parts of the south and east remain precarious; there are profound unresolved issues about the future governance structure; and the day-to-day lives of many of Myanmar’s citizens are over-shadowed by militarisation and insecurity. Meanwhile, the north and northeast continue to experience intense conflicts between the Myanmar army and ethnic armed organisations.

Against this backdrop, the influx of aid and investment into Myanmar carries with it the possibility of adverse effects upon conflict dynamics at the local level. Although ‘conflict sensitivity’ is a familiar term, research suggests that international actors often give only limited consideration to the concerns and perspectives of local communities, and it is instead driven and framed by the interests and requirements of international actors.

This briefing draws upon a three-year collaboration between Saferworld and civil society networks in Kachin state and in Karen areas of southeast Myanmar and contends that the perceptions and priorities of communities directly affected by conflict should be at the heart of what it means to be conflict sensitive. It highlights key concerns that emerged from conflict-sensitivity assessments by local stakeholders and reflections arising from the subsequent dialogues held with international actors.

Download A community-led approach to conflict sensitivity in Myanmar

Capacities for Peace is a project undertaken by Saferworld and Conciliation Resources and funded by the EU Instrument for Stability.

“Since 2013, Saferworld has been working with Karen and Kachin civil society partners in an effort to help local stakeholders assert their role at the centre of what it means to be conflict-sensitive in Myanmar.”