Sustaining livelihoods in complex emergencies: experiences of Sri Lanka

This article examines the role of context-specific factors that help to perpetuate the vulnerability of conflict-affected people. The discussion revolves around key concepts of household livelihood security, resilience building, income diversification, market access, and armed non-state actors. It is argued that, while conflict-affected households develop adaptive strategies to sustain their livelihoods amid the commonly observed vulnerabilities, the governance arrangements of the parties to the conflict can place stress on local initiatives, confining them to subsistence level and so reinforcing their vulnerability. Deeper analysis of the sources of vulnerability and implications of policy processes could help to inform intervention strategies.