In Brief: How to end natural resource-fuelled conflict?


Photo: Victoria Averill/IRIN
A woman pans for gold with a kitchen calabash in a riverbed in Sierra Leone (file photo)

NAIROBI, 1 February 2010 (IRIN) – The international community should draw up a comprehensive strategy to tackle conflicts fuelled by natural resources especially in fragile African states, UK campaign group Global Witness says.

“Taking the gun out of natural resource management is a prerequisite for taking the gun out of politics,” the advocacy group said in a report entitled Lessons Unlearned: How the UN and member states must do more to end natural resource-fuelled conflict.

“Too often the political, ethnic or geographic aspects of war are considered to the exclusion of its economic drivers… In countries like the DRC [Democratic Republic of Congo], natural resources must be recognised not only as part of the problem but also as an essential part of the solution,” said Mike Davis of Global Witness.

Among other recommendations, the report calls for UN peacekeepers to be mandated to deal with the economic dimensions of conflict. “The problem with natural resources is not so much the nature of resources themselves, their abundance or their scarcity, but how they are governed, who is able to access them and for what purposes,” it says.

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