Nepal is under dual quandaries of conflict. One hand, it is a post conflict country since the Maoist joined the peace process after a decade long hideous arm insurgency, and other hand it has an ongoing conflict in Madhes part of Nepal where more than two dozens of ethnic insurgents are under war against state. Madhes is homeland of more than 50% population of Nepal. In this regards, the issues of conflict sensitive strategy is essential with relevance to Nepalese development affairs. Therefore, we are in deep transitional phase, so the conventional approach and methods of development will no longer valid and industrious in fragile post conflict or ongoing insurgency situation.
The most terrible dilemma is that our Government has been adopting the identical development approaches and methods that were practiced in beginning of development administration in Nepal. However, the name of the development progam, package and approach are changed in various periods as per needy political version, though its practices are still remained in the same chassis.
“The development is not only affected by conflict, but development is often has an effect on conflict.” It has found that development is a basic cause for conflict and development is also a major treatment for minimization of conflict and its impacts. Hence, it is also a relevance avowal in Nepalese case. In Nepal, the Governmental as well as nongovernmental agencies are using their heavy efforts to recover and restructure the damages and losses of the developments by exercising various strategic plans and programs. We see plenty of ongoing development programs, and plans are under way, huge sectorial investments in education, heath, infrastructure, rehabilitation, industry, tourism, welfare, humanitarian assistances, physical facilities, package development, awareness etc are combating with the post conflict situation in Nepal. However, the productivity is found comparatively low or worthless due to the various weakness and traditionalist conduct in planning, policy and implementation phases of the developments. Further, it has seen in many cases that governmental authorities are failed even to use the full budget efficiently and effectively, in average less than 50% developmental budgets get fridge in majorities development sectors. Some of them are being greater sources of conflict too. Therefore, the CSS will be the most productive remedy to minimize possible unwanted outcomes and to optimize the expected productivity in pre to post conflict situation of any region or country. The conflict sensitive strategy is one of the most compulsory and efficient strategy for development and overall affairs for any conflict affected nations and zones. In Nepal, the approach was widely adopted in 2005 by DFID who had carried a study named as “Strategic Conflict Assessment of Nepal (a conflict analysis)”. This study helped DFID to understand detail paradox of Nepalese conflict. It enlightened that how CSS can helps an organization to perform better in conflict affected period and its zones. Further, the study helped to realize the possible ways and tips to achieve high output as per target and reduce tensions while working in conflict affected regions.
The conflict sensitive means to know about the situations where the organization works, matrix interaction among the organizational goals, activities and its context. It helps to avoid negative impacts and maximize positive ones. The conflict sensitivity strategy may be a skilled approach which may apply throughout planning, programming, implementation, monitoring and evaluation phases. In general, it may be used in pre to post activities works of respective development or administrative areas. However, the conflict analysis (CA) is a prerequisite of conflict sensitive strategy because the conflict analysis is the systematic study of the profile, causes, actors, and dynamics of conflict, which provide maxim answers of all possible “wh” questions about respective conflict. Therefore, the benefits of conflict sensitivity approaches are to help organization to achieve goal in strategic ways, it avoids the unwanted paradox of conflict, cost effective & target oriented. Further, the strategy also helps organization to protect and prevent from possible future conflict. In addition, the strategy helps Government and organization to achieve integrated productivity in systematic ways.
In Nepal, there are several projects and programs which often become kibosh or interrupt due to absence of conflict sensitivity strategy. Specially, in Nepalese case, we have thousands of central, regional and local level programs which has either totally failed or deflected from the expected bottom-line. Hence, the Government must have to introduce an official policy of conflict sensitive strategy for all developmental and administrative works in all possible relevant sectors. In observation, it has been seen that there are very limited or negligible coordination with conflict or related issues and its analysis while forming development plans i.e. infrastructure development, security management, health, education, water supply, irrigation, disaster management, water, energy, tourism, employment, industrialization, local governances, etc. Therefore, Nepal Government should immediately impose a rule or effective directives to adopt the conflict sensitive strategy into practice in entire development or possible administrative sectors of Nepal. Otherwise, the efforts and actions concerning the rehabilitation, reconstruction, restructuring, and development in post conflict situation or in conflict affected areas will prove not much different than a Nepali proverb as “putting the water into sand”, if the CSS will not take into consideration positively.
(Author is affiliated with Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of Nepal, firstname.lastname@example.org)