Developing, managing, and sharing knowledge on natural resources, conflict, and peacebuilding
Library / Resource Conflict as a Factor in the Darfur Crisis...
Source: University of Bergen, 2006
Author(s): Leif Manger
Topics: Conflict Causes, Renewable Resources
The paper will deal with the broader understanding of the current crisis in Darfur, Sudan. A special focus should be on the major adaptational groups in Darfur and we should seek to develop a perspective that allows us to see the dynamic interrelationships of Darfurian agro-pastoral communities, and how varying external and internal circumstances may produce peaceful relationships as well as violent ones. It opens for an understanding of the distribution of groups, seeing their migration around the region. We can see how adaptive processes, such as coping with drought, shift between agriculture and pastoralism etc. have been not only adaptive processes, but have also been characterised by shifts in identities. And we can see how such links affect the boundaries between groups, making them fluid rather than fixed and how the groups, seen as "moral communities", might not necessarily coincide with the boundaries of ethnic groups or eco-zones.Furthermore it allows us to see the development of the contemporary states in a wider perspective, seeing how national boundaries have interfered with existing links between groups, how problems between groups on the borders become nation state problems, and how commercialisation and general modernisation shape the adaptive responses of groups. We also see innovative processes, e.g. smuggling, becoming important strategies for people living on the borderland. Similarly the arming of the states as well as local groups, give many problems an escalating character. Applying the perspective will also show that the groups have not been static entities, captured within their "history" and "traditions". Contrary to claims from the GOS there has always been differentiation, people who succeed and people who fail. Poor people are vulnerable during droughts, rich people might benefit from the same drought. Following up on such points would require discussions on land tenure issues and the extent to which traditional land tenure systems can be adhered to or modified in order to return to a more peaceful situation in the area. Can IDPs return be able to use their lands without major confrontations with whoever moved into their territory after they left ? The return of refugees and the revival of local economic life, both in agriculture and in the sense of opening of pastoral migration routes are keys to normalization but this requires a platform that the parties can accept. Agricultural land has been destroyed, and irrigation ditches smashed and these are more than technical issues. Such structures signify that land is being used, and when such signs are gone land grabbing can go on.