Natural Resources and Violent Conflict : Options and Actions

Recent research undertaken by the Bank and others, suggest that developing countries face substantially higher risks of violent conflict, and poor governance if highly dependent on primary commodities. Revenues from the legal, or illegal exploitation of natural resources have financed devastating conflicts in large numbers of countries across regions. When a conflict erupts, it not only sweeps away decades of painstaking development efforts, but creates costs and consequences-economic, social, political, regional-that live on for decades. The outbreak of violent domestic conflict amounts to a spectacular failure of development-in essence, development in reverse. Even where countries initially manage to avoid violent conflict, large rents from natural resources can weaken state structures, and make governments less accountable, often leading to the emergence of secessionist rebellions, and all-out civil war. Although natural resources are never the sole source of conflict, and do not make conflict inevitable, the presence of abundant primary commodities, especially in low-income countries, exacerbates the risks of conflict and, if conflict does break out, tends to prolong it and makes it harder to resolve. As the Governance of Natural Resources Project (a research project) took shape, the discussion moved toward practical approaches and policies that could be adopted by the international community. This book presents the papers commissioned under the Governance of Natural Resources Project, offering a rich array of approaches and suggestions that are feeding into the international policy debate, and hopefully lead, over time to concerted international action, to help developing countries better manage their resource wealth, and turn this wealth into a driver of development rather than of conflict.

World Development Report 2011 : Conflict, Security, and Development

The 2011 World development report looks across disciplines and experiences drawn from around the world to offer some ideas and practical recommendations on how to move beyond conflict and fragility and secure development. The key messages are important for all countries-low, middle, and high income-as well as for regional and global institutions: first, institutional legitimacy is the key to stability. When state institutions do not adequately protect citizens, guard against corruption, or provide access to justice; when markets do not provide job opportunities; or when communities have lost social cohesion-the likelihood of violent conflict increases. Second, investing in citizen security, justice, and jobs is essential to reducing violence. But there are major structural gaps in our collective capabilities to support these areas. Third, confronting this challenge effectively means that institutions need to change. International agencies and partners from other countries must adapt procedures so they can respond with agility and speed, a longer-term perspective, and greater staying power. Fourth, need to adopt a layered approach. Some problems can be addressed at the country level, but others need to be addressed at a regional level, such as developing markets that integrate insecure areas and pooling resources for building capacity Fifth, in adopting these approaches, need to be aware that the global landscape is changing. Regional institutions and middle income countries are playing a larger role. This means should pay more attention to south-south and south-north exchanges, and to the recent transition experiences of middle income countries.

Strategic Environmental Policy Assessment FYR of Macedonia: A Review of Environmental Priorities for International Cooperation

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia stands on the threshold of a new and decisive phase in its history as it looks to emerge from the turmoil of armed conflicts and to begin reconstruction and development. It is at this moment that the opportunity must be seized to base plans for economic growth on the principles of sustainable development. This means integrating environmental considerations into all policy areas at all levels to ensure that everyone living in the FYR of Macedonia can breathe clean air and drink clean water. It means provision of universal and affordable access to sanitation, and solid waste disposal, and it means the conservation of the country’s outstanding natural heritage. Above all, it means creating and maintaining the environmental conditions in which investment, employment, health and peace can flourish.
While this vision can only be achieved by the people and Government of FYR of Macedonia, the international community has a vital role to play. Not only in the provision of funding, capacity building and technical support, but also in pressing for environmental issues to be at the top of the development agenda. The United Nations occupies a special role within the donor community. While having access to a broad range of environmental knowledge and resources, the UN, at the same time, has the flexibility to adapt and pursue a policy agenda that closely reflects the immediate needs of the FYR of Macedonia. As a contribution towards the realisation of sustainable development in the FYR of Macedonia this report has been prepared by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) country office in the FYR of Macedonia. It presents the results of a Strategic Environmental Policy Assessment (SEPA) carried out in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia during September 2001. The SEPA was conducted by UNEP, in response to UNDP’s formal request for a comprehensive review of environmental policy in the country.

A Study on the Inter-Relation Between Armed Conflict and Natural Resources and its Implications for Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding

The article investigates the inter-relation between armed conflict and natural resources and its implications for conflict resolution and peacebuilding. The first part discusses and clarifies the nexus between natural resources and armed conflict, arguing that the former have a strong link with the latter only when natural resources have particular natural and geographical characteristics and when a country experiences peculiar political, societal and economic situations. The article shows how this inter-relation is various and diverse, at the point that even scholars who studied it have sometimes disagreed on their researches. The second part analyses the implications for conflict resolution and peacebuilding. Since changing the natural and geographical characteristic of natural resources is almost impossible, the article argues that conflict resolution and peacebuilding policies should be aimed to reduce those political, societal, and economic situations that, if inter-related with the presence of natural resources in a country, can affect armed conflicts. The analysis discusses how the presence of natural resources should be addressed during the resolution of a conflict and should be considered during the post-conflict peacebuilding phase. Finally, it tries to identify how international actors can have an effective role in conflict resolution and peacebuilding when natural resources are at stake.

Employing the Environment as a Peacebuilding Tool: Environmental Peacemaking in the Context of Post-conflict Peacebuilding in Liberia and Mozambique

This paper aims at contributing to this branch of research by providing first attempts for a theoretical discussion of the role of environmental cooperation in post-conflict peacebuilding, followed by an illustration of two concrete peacebuilding cases: Liberia and Mozambique. The major underlying question is how a closer link between research on environmental peacemaking and post-conflict peacebuilding can be achieved. The paper argues that both branches of research have historically been rather detached from one another. Work on the link between environmental aspects and security has often been dominated by environmentalists, e.g. water engineers or conservationists, while research on post-conflict peacebuilding has often been done by those specialized in the fields of international relations or conflict resolution. A systematic study of potential spill-over effects between research and environmental peacemaking and other branches of research might therefore reveal interesting findings about the potential role of environmental peacemaking in the context of post-conflict countries. Chapter 2 provides a start into this discussion by reviewing some of the core literature on the link between natural resources and violent conflicts, the theoretical background of the environmental peacemaking theory, and some of the literature on post-conflict peacebuilding. Chapter 3 uses the insights gained from this theoretical discussion in order to systematically look for interconnections and spill-over effects. As a result of this discussion, concrete hypotheses about the role of environmental peacemaking in post-conflict countries will be derived. Chapters 4 and 5 contain a discussion of the peacebuilding challenges in Mozambique and Liberia, followed by an analysis of the potential role for environmental peacemaking to support their peacebuilding processes. Chapter 6 contains the conclusions of this discussion, followed by a range of concrete policy recommendations, addressed primarily to the international community.

What You See is What You Get: Analytical Lenses and the Limitations of Post-Conflict Statebuilding in Sierra Leone

This article juxtaposes donors’ analyses of state failure and strategies of post-conflict statebuilding in Sierra Leone with actual processes of state-formation. It argues that international state-builders’ analytical and policy frameworks are built on stylized assumptions about how states form and operate influenced by ideas derived from neoclassical economics. They focus on individual decision-making and functionalist formal institutions and provide a-historical analyses that fail to comprehend long-term state-formation. Interveners need to broaden their conceptual toolbox by paying more attention to local power structures, informal institutions and historical path dependency. Such a deeper analysis would encourage reflection on whether and how social change can be influenced by external intervention and allow donors to evaluate their statebuilding activities more honestly. This would raise important questions about the mismatch between interveners’ ambitious goals and modest tools.

This paper examines the experience of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), specifically, its Post-Conflict Assessment Unit (PCAU), as an instrument of post-conflict environmental peacemaking. The ecological challenges facing war-torn societies can be as daunting as the social ones, as people struggle to provide themselves with clean water, sanitation, food and energy supplies in settings marked by toxification, the destruction of infrastructure, the loss of livelihoods, and the disruption of local institutions. Over time, these immediate environmental difficulties evolve into more diffuse but equally important challenges: establishing systems of environmental governance, creating the requisite administrative and institutional capacity, and finding sustainable trajectories for economic reconstruction and development. If handled effectively, environmental challenges may create a solid foundation for peace and sustainable development; if handled poorly, they risk undercutting the already tenuous peace that typically marks such situations. The paper identifies common patterns across several recent cases in which UNEP/PCAU has been active. Particular attention is paid to UNEP’s impact, or lack thereof, with regard to four core themes: (1) the problem of reconstituting government; (2) monitoring and assessment challenges in militarized environments; (3) linking environmental assistance and humanitarian aid; and (4) moving from environmental clean-up to planning and administration.

Managing Armed Conflicts in the 21st Century

The unification of Germany extended the economic and political system of the west to the east. The system transfer led to a “problematic normalisation” as East Germans have tried to adjust to uncertainties they had never known: in employment, education and training, family life, immigration. A decade on, the book examines what kind of civil society has emerged, how East Germans fared in th social transformation and how processes of transformation in the new Germany relate to European policy agendas for analysing social transformation and its two key tenants: the transformation process affecting advanced industrial societies generally, and the process of post-communist transformation pertaining to Germany. The book addresses this “dual transformation”, firstly, by placing the developments in eastern Germany in a comparative European perspective and, subsequently, by considering in key areas of east German society and through personal responses, to what extent state-socialist legacies continue to matter.