Briefing Paper

Oli Brown
Encouraging peace-building
  • Natural resources such as conflict diamonds and illegal timber are known to trigger and prolong armed violence. What is less discussed is the contribution that effective and accountable environmental and natural resource management (NRM) can make to peace-building.
  • Countries emerging from conflict face a range of complex environmental and natural resource-related problems, including contentious land management, poorly negotiated mining and logging deals, and unsustainable patterns of resource use.
  • However, these problems are often downplayed or ignored by the international community, which tends to take a partial and disjointed approach to natural resource issues in fragile states.
  • Improved NRM is a form of peace-building in that it encourages the development of clear, fair systems of ownership; creates mechanisms to resolve disputes; and promotes the equitable sharing of benefits from natural resource exploitation. As such, it can help build trust and predictability where previously there was mistrust and competition.