In this webinar, the second of a two-part series exploring existing efforts to improve the safety of civilians during armed conflict, we discussed “secondary” prevention programs, in particular those focusing on strengthening communities in conflict-affected areas to reduce the risk of harm and mitigate the effects of armed conflict on civilian populations. We heard from NGOs active in situations of armed conflict around the world about how they approach building capacity for prevention in communities – what the main considerations are and in which situations they are effective. We also discussed what other organizations can learn from their approach and the implications this has for the humanitarian community as a whole.
To know more about the first webinar (Civilian Safety in Armed Conflict: Strategies and approaches for direct prevention of violence), please click here.
In armed conflict, the humanitarian community continues to witness highly disturbing situations where the safety of civilians is ignored or not addressed, or where civilians are purposely targeted by parties to a conflict. While protection services continue to provide much needed support to vulnerable and marginalized groups and individuals, and respond to protection concerns with remedial service provision, limited progress has been made on contributing to civilians’ safety in armed conflict. As Hugo Slim expressed it in the recent Oxford Lecture Series on Protection: “When you look at protection’s track record through wars, protection is at its weakest here, in this challenge in protecting people from physical harm and unlawful devastating attacks on their persons and homes.”
In the last few years, there has been a push by both humanitarian agencies and donors to examine how we can prevent and protect civilians from physical harm during conflict. Key questions remain: what does prevention mean and look like within our protection of civilians programming? Where does civilian safety “fit” within the humanitarian architecture?
There are, however, several existing approaches to mitigate and reduce risk in armed conflict for civilian population, including how to prevent violence from happening in the first place and how to strengthen civilian self-protection strategies through community-based initiatives. This two-part webinar series aims to provide an overview of the range of strategies currently undertaken by national and international civil society organizations, UN agencies, and donors, providing examples of good practice, and discuss how such efforts can be advanced and systematized in the wider humanitarian community.
Registration and participation
The event was held virtually, and participants connected via Zoom. Simultaneous interpretation was provided in Spanish, English, and French.