Over 20% of the world’s population currently lives in conflict affected areas and fragile states. In many of these places, natural resources and their governance play a key negative role in both the conflict and the fragility. In fact, since 1990 at least 18 violent conflicts have been fuelled by the exploitation of natural resources.
At the same time, good governance of natural resources can provide a solid platform for post-conflict reconstruction and peace building. Addressing conflicts where natural resources play an important role has also been one of the difficult challenges faced by the UN peacekeeping operations and the UN Security Council. Since 1948, a quarter of all peacekeeping operations, representing half of the total peacekeeping budget, have been deployed to address conflicts with clear links to natural resources.
While UN’s response to these conflicts has improved over the decades, the 2012 UNEP report Greening the Blue Helmets: Environment, Natural Resources and UN Peacekeeping Operations identified a number of opportunities for improved implementation of peacekeeping mandates and the ways in which peacekeepers can capitalize on the peace building potential of natural resources. The findings of this report form the basis of this training module.
The main objective of this training program is to raise awareness about the links between natural resources, conflict, peacekeeping and peace building among relevant peacekeeping staff and those working on planning, drafting and monitoring of implementation of peacekeeping mandates.
By the end of this module, the user should be able to:
- Explain the links among natural resources, environmental change, conflict and peace building.
- Describe how natural resources have been integrated into the UN’s peace and security work.
- Describe the components of and tools for good natural resource governance.
- Identify how peacekeepers can help restore the governance of natural resources in post-conflict societies.