Researchers at the International Institute of Social Studies and the UK's Overseas Development Institute, have recently produced this new publication on 'Disaster risk reduction and protracted violent conflict: The case of Afghanistan'.
Looking at the specific case of Afghanistan, the authors question the long-held perception that it is not possible to adapt disaster risk reduction (DRR) approaches to conflict contexts.
They highlight the Afghan national strategy which includes explicit consideration of the conflict environment, and where some local DRR interventions are linking with conflict prevention ambitions.
Jointly written by Rodrigo Mena (ISS), Dorothea Hilhorst (ISS) and Katie Peters (ODI), the study explores how DRR initiatives and projects are being linked with conflict prevention, ‘do no harm’ principles and peacebuilding efforts to show that it is possible to mitigate against natural hazards while also seeking to reduce the risk of conflict.
The study also strikes a note of caution that, while DRR is possible, it requires long-term, dedicated effort and continuous monitoring.
Local-level manifestations of violence
The research highlights the need for approaches to DRR that consider the multiple and varied conflict dynamics in which they operate.
State institutions and the international community tend to focus on the national level, whereas local-level manifestations of conflict can be much more important in terms of programme implementation. Failing to take account of local societal issues can mask the multiple causes of vulnerability, resulting in projects that may not adequately address the root causes of disasters.
If not adapted to the local context, DRR interventions have the potential to cause or exacerbate social conflict.