The management of High Value Natural Resources is a challenging issue in many different countries. Since 1990, at least eighteen violent conflicts have been linked or fuelled by the exploitation of High Value Natural Resources such as, gold, diamonds, minerals and oil . In fact, High Value Natural Resources become source of violence when their control, exploitation, trade, taxation, or protection contributes to, or benefits from, armed conflicts. Mining activities should offer many potential benefits in terms of employment, infrastructure investment, social service delivery and overall development. However, in countries characterized by a high dependence on natural resources, the insufficient levels of democratic and participatory decision-making processes, and the lack of transparent information and responsible behaviour by both Government as well as private extractive companies, pave the way to corruption, mismanagement of natural resources, unequal distribution of wealth, social tensions and conflict, a phenomenon often referred to as the "paradox of plenty".
Competition to control and exploit High Value Natural Resources undermines security and stability of countries in many different ways including:
- Directly or indirectly financing and perpetuating violent conflicts;
- Heightening vulnerability of communities and stakeholders excluded from the benefits associated with the exploitation of High Value Natural Resources;
- Weakening states’ accountability and capacity to address the environmental and social impacts of the exploitation of High Value Natural Resources.
By looking into the dynamics linking together the exploitation of High Value Natural Resources and violence, this course aims at enhancing the capacity of the UN to design and implement initiatives leading to a conflict sensitive management of High Value Natural Resources. Contributions come from experts and practitioners from UNSSC, UNEP, UNDP and Academia working in the field of management of natural resources, peacebuilding, conflict prevention and environment, and with wide-ranging experience in various parts of the world.