Guide Conflicts over Natural Resources in the Global South: Conceptual Approaches

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Annan warns about impact of conflicts on natural resources

Conflict can disrupt local access to both natural resources and livelihoods. At the same time, rebel attempts to gain control over resources can provoke the formation of new armed groups and militias attempting to defend their communities, further complicating the conflict. Resource control itself changes the actors involved, as well as the conflict and prospects for peace, and poses a significant threat to state control — especially in rural areas that are not easily accessible.

To mitigate against conflict in an ecologically sustainable manner, existing resource governance frameworks must be adapted so that relationships between governments, citizens, and the private sector are based around principles of transparency, stakeholder inclusiveness, and sustainability economic and ecological. Policies and partnerships must be crafted that will allow regional access to employment and investment in regions where resource development have been responsible for violence. Capital gained from abroad through foreign direct investment FDI and public private partnerships PPPs — in addition to the labour gained from temporary foreign workers that were previously combatants — will enable increased investment in modern infrastructure.

This will in turn will contribute to improving regional security situations and strengthen central government positions in tumultuous and geographically isolated conflict zones. Operating outside state and international economic infrastructure provides an incentive for NSAGs to seek extra-legal financing for their activities.

Natural resources are often an extremely lucrative option that can support conflict by funding arms.

Conceptual Approaches

Governments utilizing environmental peacemaking ideals and strategies can build and repair confidence with their citizens by ensuring that the livelihoods of local communities are not disrupted by large-scale resource development, and by eliminating the inefficiencies that follow from deliberate distortions in the marketplace in the form of subsidies and exemptions to resource companies. Riccardian economics tells us that technological progress will mitigate the risks posed by natural resource scarcity.

The resources required are simply too vast, too expensive, and too damaging to local and global systems [15]. Multinational companies MNCs often play a role in rebel control of natural resources, either by collaborating with the group for favourable access or prices or by refusing to engage. A refusal to engage can result in severe disruption of production, whereas engagement e. Sanctions by the West on said resources are often the preferred course of action; however, they are considered by the United Nations to be too blunt an instrument to address the complex relationships between NSAGs and natural resources.

Conflicts over natural resources in the Global South : conceptual approaches

The complex relationship between NSAGs, natural resources and governments often involves considerable negotiation, and, as often is the case in particularly intractable conflicts, resources have a significant role to play in the eventual de-escalation of violence. Despite the fact that rebel exploitation of resources can serve as a disincentive to engage in peace negotiations, effective resource governance can play a hugely positive role in creating post-conflict stability.

Ensuring the long-term viability of states, communities and environments cannot be achieved with any singular policy or agreement — economic, structural, ecological, and social factors must all be considered. Re-integration of ex-combatants is crucial, alongside equitable management and access to resources to provide economic opportunities and employment whilst reducing community tensions and susceptibility to re-recruitment. If managed poorly, resources can provide incentive for looting as well as money for criminal activity and conflict escalation, while unchecked environmental destruction can result in communities organising against resource development.

Environmental Peacemaking. The myriad of issues associated with the concept of sustainable development are not singularly ecological, economic, political, or social — they are a combination thereof. If resource-rich states are to eliminate the threat posed by NSAGs then environmental peacemaking strategies must be employed to ensure that social, economic, and political considerations are incorporated into a dynamic resource governance framework. Most ecological peace initiatives fall into one of three partly overlapping categories:.

In relation to conflicts associated with natural resources, research that examines conditions for sustainable development is the area that policymakers concerned with post-conflict resolution should focus on. Creating lasting frameworks and institutions that ensure that all stakeholders have the ability both to influence natural resource policy and prosper from its development, while also safeguarding the environment and ecologically sensitive areas, is no easy task.

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However, if the various catalysts that lead to the emergence of NSAGs in resource-rich areas are to be addressed, utilizing the umbrella of environmental peacemaking to bring stakeholders together will become increasingly effective in a world where populations are growing and natural resources are finite. Missing from much of the environmental peacemaking debate is how to incorporate the private sector within a dynamic framework based around ecological interdependencies.

Capitalist markets cannot be sidelined if environmental peacemaking is to truly create peace where it currently does not exist — especially in the short-term. If governments in natural resource-conflict prone states are to create stable environments for citizens to prosper, then effective programs and frameworks are necessary.

Ebook Conflicts Over Natural Resources In The Global South Conceptual Approaches

The stakeholders must include not only local populations, governments, and combatants, but MNCs as well. Though environmental degradation is recognized as a catalyst for violent conflict, environmental cooperation has largely gone unexplored as a means of peacemaking [22]. However, without institutional and governance reform that allows parties from opposing sides of a conflict to prosper, existing environmental peacemaking strategies will remain limited in both scope and impact.


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Conflict in Protected Areas: Who Says Co-Management Does Not Work?

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