Developing, managing, and sharing knowledge on natural resources, conflict, and peacebuilding
Library / Natural Resources, Conflict and Investment: Confli...
Source: International Natural Resources Law, Investment and Sustainability, 2017
Author(s): Onita Das
Countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo
Topics: Economic Recovery , Extractive Resources, Governance
Since 1990, at least 18 violent conflicts have been fuelled by the exploitation of natural resources such as timber, minerals, oil and gas. Sometimes this is caused by environmental damage and the marginalization of local populations who fail to benefit economically from natural resource exploitation. More often it is caused by greed’ (Ban Ki-Moon). This is also known as the ‘resource curse’. The resource curse can not only trigger conflict as individuals and groups scramble to control the resource in question but also in the aftermath of conflict, cause a relapse into conflict if the resources are not managed sustainably at the post-conflict peacebuilding stage. Such resource pressures can cause violent or armed conflict which in turn can cause devastating damage to the environment and negatively disrupt the socio-economic livelihoods of those affected. This is of course inimical to sustainable development and sustainable investment in natural resources in particular plays a key role in ensuring that such natural resources are managed effectively for the benefit of the State in question and its population both at pre- and post-conflict stages. International law (international natural resources law, international investment law, sustainable development and state responsibility) governing such resources tend to fragmented. Using the Democratic Republic of Congo (DCR) as a case study, this chapter explores the possibility of utilising the overarching concept of sustainable development and its relevant substantive principles to integrate the current legal framework governing such resources. The concept of sustainable development generally refers to development or the process of improving the quality of life of the present generation without compromising the future generations. This article thus reviews the limits of natural resources management within the current legal framework and argues that a more integrated approach of international natural resources law, international investment law, state responsibility and sustainable development may ensure more sustainable investment in such natural resources, which in turn could contribute towards preventing or mitigating natural resources-related conflict.