Efficient resource management crucial in war-torn nations to ensure peace – UN

15 November 2011

A new book published by the United Nations and partners tackles the key challenges faced by post-conflict countries on how to efficiently manage their natural resources so they contribute to economic recovery without causing further conflict or environmental degradation.

A new book published by the United Nations and partners tackles the key challenges faced by post-conflict countries on how to efficiently manage their natural resources so they contribute to economic recovery without causing further conflict or environmental degradation.

The book, the first of a seven-part series in post-conflict peacebuilding and natural resource management, aims to provide countries with guidelines to better manage their natural resources and avoid falling into a cycle of economic inequality where an elite controls key resources, increasing the risk of creating new grievances.

The publication also assesses practices from around the world in using high-value natural resources such as oil, diamonds, gold and timber in consolidating peace and provides 30 case studies drawn from 18 countries, examining how high-value resources could be better managed in post-conflict countries such as Angola, Nepal, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

“We had to turn this natural resource ‘curse’ into a blessing,” says Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian President and one of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize laureates, in the book’s foreword. “But where to start?”

The book – High-Value Natural Resources and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding – seeks to answer that question by providing insight into management strategies, addressing the different steps in the natural resource value-chain, and highlighting a wide range of policy options and management tools without prescribing only one strategy for countries.

The publication stresses four areas where international support can be helpful which include providing help to post-conflict countries so they secure better contracts with companies extracting natural resources, increasing transparency in payments and decision-making, supporting the monitoring of companies extracting natural resources, and encouraging strategic planning using revenues to provide immediate gains to the population.

In addition, investing in infrastructure, health, education and economic diversification are all stressed as priorities to ensure long-term peace.

The book was jointly published by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the Environmental Law Institute (ELI), the University of Tokyo and McGill University, and counts with 39 contributing authors.

“This project is the largest undertaking of its kind and will make significant contributions toward improving post-conflict resource management through sharing lessons learned and best practices,” said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

“It is UNEP’s hope this research will ultimately help transform the resource economies of post-conflict nations from corruption and rent-seeking into ‘green’ economies that can lead nations on a path to peace, recovery and development on an environmentally sustainable basis,” he added.

 

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