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Pax Africa

From the ground up: Natural resource governance for reconstruction and sustainable development

Paper prepared for AU Stakeholders' Workshop on Implementation of the AU Policy on Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development (PCRD) in Africa. 17-19 July 2007, Lusaka, Zambia.

J.G. (Pal) Martins & Brittany Kesselman

Pax Africa

17-19 July 2007

SARPN acknowledges Pax Africa as a source of this document:
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The exploitation and management of natural resources could unlock Africa's socio-economic potential and accelerate the achievement of the continent's vision of renewal and growth. Instead, natural resources have been at the heart of instability and conflict on the continent, with competition over access to and control over natural resources leading to human rights violations and the deterioration of human security. To sever the linkages between natural resources and conflict and ensure that the continent's abundant natural resources contribute to peace, security, stability and development, it is critical that the governance of natural resources is addressed during processes of post-conflict reconstruction and development (PCRD).

There are three key reasons why the exploitation and management of natural resources (EMNR) must be considered central to PCRD in Africa. First, inequitable access to natural resources or the wealth they generate is often among the root causes of conflict, and must be addressed if PCRD is to be successful. Second, EMNR can be used to generate financial resources for PCRD from within the affected country, which contributes to local ownership and to the sustainability of reconstruction efforts. Finally, good governance of natural resources can contribute to sustainable growth and development. If the benefits from EMNR are widely and equitably shared throughout a country, the likelihood of future conflict will be greatly reduced.

This paper will begin by outlining the continental mandate for addressing the governance of natural resources in PCRD processes, situating the issue within the broader African peace and security agenda. It will then consider several specific examples of natural resource-fuelled conflict situations in Africa and examine post-conflict responses, to derive lessons from the way in which natural resource governance has been addressed in those situations. Finally, the paper will develop a number of recommendations and strategies for the various stakeholders involved in post-conflict reconstruction and development processes in Africa.

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