Land and Conflict: Toolkit for Preventing and Managing Land and Natural Resources Conflict




United Nations Interagency Framework Team for Preventive Action

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Because the management of land and natural resources is one of the most critical challenges facing developing countries today, this field guide is intended to help build the capacity of national stakeholders, the UN system and the European Union prevent land and natural resources from contributing to violent conflict. This guide focuses on critical concepts related to land and natural resource tenure, strategies for addressing land grievances and conflict, a framework for international action, appropriate conflict management tools and approaches, and post-conflict strategies. 14 cases studies are also included. The guide focuses on the exploitation of high-value natural resources, including oil, gas, minerals and timber which has often been cited as a key factor in triggering, escalating or sustaining violent conflicts around the globe. Furthermore, increasing competition over diminishing renewable resources, such as land and water, are on the rise. This is being further aggravated by environmental degradation, population growth and climate change. The mismanagement of land and natural resources is contributing to new conflicts and obstructing the peaceful resolution of existing ones. Land and natural resource issues are almost never the sole cause of conflict. Land conflicts commonly become violent when linked to wider processes of political exclusion, social discrimination, economic marginalization, and a perception that peaceful action is no longer a viable strategy for change. Land issues readily lend themselves to conflict because land is an important economic asset and source of livelihoods and it is also closely linked to community identity, history and culture. Addressing land grievances and conflicts is fundamental to creating sustainable peace, so international assistance should prioritize the early and sustained engagement in land issues as part of a broader conflict prevention strategy. Such early attention can reduce the human, economic, social, environmental costs of conflict.



Natural resources, Land tenure, Conflict Prevention