Natural Resource Management in Transition Settings

Manual and Guideline
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Conflict stems from and is fuelled by a variety of factors. Among these, natural resource related issues figure prominently. Since 1990, at least 17 violent conflicts have involved the exploitation of natural resources. Research further suggests that over the last 60 years at least 40 per cent of all intrastate conflicts have a link to natural resources. These statistics provide a clear basis for United Nations Country Teams (UNCTs) and UN Missions to incorporate principles and practices that promote the equitable, transparent and sustainable management of natural resources into transition planning processes and activities.

This guidance note aims to help UNCTs and UN Missions understand the negative and positive roles that natural resources can play in peace consolidation. It provides practical guidance to assist in thinking through how natural resource management principles and practices can feed into transitional analysis and planning frameworks including: Post Conflict Needs Assessment (PCNA), Integrated Mission Planning Process (IMPP), Peacebuilding Frameworks and Tools, the UN Common Country Analysis (CCA) and the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF). While not relevant in every setting, the guidance offers diagnostic tools to assist those on the ground in deciding where and when such issues need to be addressed, how this can be done, what types of roles the UN can take on, and how the UN can support other actors.

This guidance note draws from and builds upon five guidance notes on natural resources and conflict prevention produced by the EU-UN Partnership on Land and Natural Resource Conflicts: Extractive Industries and Conflict; Renewable Resources and Conflict; Land and Conflict; Capacity Development for Managing Land and Natural Resources; and Conflict Prevention in Resource Rich Economies.

This EU-UN partnership, coordinated by the United Nations Inter-agency Framework for Preventive Action and its partner agencies (UN Environment Programme, UN Development Programme, UN Human Settlements Programme, Peacebuilding Support Office, Department of Political Affairs and Department of Economic and Social Affairs), was established in 2008 to improve national capacities for preventing conflicts over natural resources and land through the development of guidance, knowledge, training products, joint programs and the deployment of experts.1 This guidance note was developed by an interagency task team on natural resources in transition settings chaired by UNEP2 under the umbrella of the Joint Working Group of the UN Development Group (UNDG) and the Executive Committee on Humanitarian Affairs (ECHA)
Working Group on Transition Issues.

The parts of the Guidance Note are structured according to the various UN processes relevant to transitions settings.

Part 1 examines the role of natural resource management (NRM) in transition settings, here understood as including extractive resources, renewable resources and land. It also introduces various policy anchors that justify the need for further focus on these topics.

Part 2 offers a series of key guiding questions for extractive industries, renewable resources and land to help understand their existing and potential contribution to conflict and peacebuilding.

Part 3 describes entry points where NRM issues should be considered within existing UN processes and tools.

The accompanying Annexes highlight tools, resources and sources of best practice and other guidance for addressing natural resource management challenges in transition settings.