Disaster-conflict interface: comparative experiences
Many developing countries experience both disasters and confl ict at the same time. The interaction between the two creates and perpetuates vulnerabilities that place communities at risk, further entrenching poverty and inequality. Development trends such as climate change and unsustainable urbanization likely will make these issues worse.
It makes intuitive sense to assume that the geographical overlap of both disaster and conflict worsens the impact of crises, but evidence for this is limited. Analyses of concrete case study observations are also limited, and those that do exist come from diff erent unconnected disciplines.
However, contexts in which conflicts and disasters overlap are daily realities for people who are affected, as well as for many humanitarian and development practitioners. Effective programmes to manage crisis interventions need to reflect conflict-disaster complexities and respond to them in a holistic and integrative manner. Experience has also shown that development interventions that do not recognize the link between disasters and conflict in at-risk countries can worsen tensions and increase risk.
UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR) initiated this study with a strong empirical focus on exploring the interface between confl icts and disasters. Disaster-conflict interface contexts are defined as those settings where disasters (risks, events and recovery) have a relationship with conflicts (risks, events and recovery) and/or vice versa, beyond simple geographic/demographic co-location.
The study aims to achieve a comparative analysis of tendencies and experiences that stem from the relationship between disasters and conflict. It also analyses the relative success of existing relevant programming approaches adopted incountry.
This comparative analysis aims to: contribute to the body of knowledge on the interactions between disaster and confl ict; better understand the importance of these interactions for development programming in crisis contexts; and create improved programming that responds to the relationships between disasters and conflict. The intention is to help identify practical approaches and disseminate good practice – thereby helping to better equip UNDP Country Office staff who operate in complex environments in which disaster and conflict overlap.
The study is based on experiences from nine selected case-study countries to try and capture the broad spectrum of possible relationships between disasters and conflicts. The country case studies included: Bolivia, Haiti, Indonesia (Aceh), Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Sri Lanka, Sudan and Zimbabwe. Each case study analyses the dynamics of the interface, as well as strategies and interventions across agencies, and particularly focuses on UNDP approaches and good practices.
The main target audience is UNDP staff, particularly policy advisors. In addition, the findings of the report may be relevant for UNDP programme offi cers, staff from other UN agencies, UNDP development partners and other stakeholders including nongovernmental (NGO) and academic communities involved in crisis prevention and recovery.