Natural Resources, Conflict, & Humanitarian Challenges: Lessons from Community-Based Conflict Transformation
The goal of this article is to identify both the lessons we have learned and the enduring challenges we see associated with streamlining these three separate, but related, fields. It will suggest ways in which the environmental and humanitarian fields’ insights and experiences can inform conflict resolution work, while also identifying gaps in knowledge. The next section will first provide a brief overview of how the conflict resolution field has developed, stressing its institutional assumptions and approaches to problem-solving. We then explore four case studies on Search’s involvement in conflicts with both humanitarian and environmen- tal dimensions. The article concludes with a series of key insights about both opportunities challenges, and recommends specific entry points for strengthened collaboration. Some of the challenges to streamlining efforts include the organizational structure of the three fields, their differing priorities, and the different timelines with which they characteristically work. Addressing such differences and facilitating an exchange of knowledge through various entry points discussed here could address such gaps and help researchers and practitioners in all three fields achieve their goals in a way that meets the needs of their target communities and is sustainable over the long term.
Conflict Scan – Engaging Youth and Community Leaders to Prevent Mass Atrocities in CAR – December 2016
The project “Engaging Youth and Community Leaders to Prevent Mass Atrocities in Central African Republic” is operating in a context where conflicts are fueled by ethno-religious divisions, materializing in clashes between the pro-Muslim Ex-Seleka and the pro-Christians Anti-Balaka. SFCG, with funding from the bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO), is implementing a 12-month program to prevent high-risk atrocities between Muslims and Christians in PK5 (a neighborhood at high-risk for violence in the capital) and its surrounding areas. In this framework, SFCG carries out bi-annual conflict scans using a qualitative approach with surveys and focus groups. The scans identify important developments in the conflict that may impact the project implementation.
97% of those interviewed said violence had decreased in the two months preceding the survey. Participants explained that this does not mean that there is no violence and that the conflict is over; however, 40% of respondents report not knowing about existing conflict in their communities. This study shows that the major conflicts affecting CAR are fluid, and the population has a tendency to minimize or to not distinguish between them. The concept of “inter-community conflict” is highly represented during discussions, but the division lines identified are most often religious (Christians/Muslims – 29%) and/or related to economic and power inequality (28%). Despite the focus on religious and economic divisions, participants rank political conflicts (51%) as the most high-risk for the future, and the tensions linked to land issues have also been highlighted as factors that could potentially escalate the situation toward violent conflict.
Nimule Conflict and Leadership Mapping Report – Together We Can: Supporting Local Peace Efforts in Nimule – November 2016
“Together We Can Supporting Local Peace Efforts in Nimule” was implemented by Search for Common Ground (SFCG) in South Sudan with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). This 6-month project was an extension of a pilot project implemented in Magwi county in 2015 which aimed to to promote peaceful coexistence between divided communities of the Acholi, and Ma’di. As part of the extension, the project focused on strengthening its peace building activities in Magwi, and Pageri administrative areas; consolidating results achieved in the first phase. The second phase of the project included Nimule as an additional project site. As part of this project, SFCG conducted qualitative conflict and leadership mapping research in Nimule to identify the key stakeholders, leadership structures, and the social environment of the communities. This research aimed to identify the conflict drivers, unifiers, and existing opportunities for non-violent modes of conflict resolution among the returnees, host community, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and the general population in Nimule. Key conflicts identified were those related to land, animal and wildlife management, and natural resources, among others. Cultural festivals, financial institutions and religious gatherings were among the unifiers identified during the research. Media mapping revealed diverse media channels with some communities struggling with access due to language barriers (especially the Dinka). The mapping revealed strong working relationships between most of the government departments, but not all (for example, between the Chiefs and police).