Skip to main content

Community / Land projects / Natural resources and conflicts in developing countries

Natural resources and conflicts in developing countries


03/15 - 12/15


This project is part of


The project reviews conflicts over natural resources in developing countries and brings new perspectives to the public debate. The main medium is a special issue of the journal Peruste published by the think tank Vasemmistofoorumi and distributed to thousa nds of readers. Also the communication of the issue and the related public event are concrete results of the project. The conflicts in developing countries particularly in Africa are often discussed separately from environmental and natural resource issue s. One often focuses only on the acute armed conflicts. This project discusses conflicts around the governance of natural resources in developing countries.The vast majority of the world's poorest people live in countries rich in natural resources.Environm ental destruction land ownership issues and the privileges to use natural resources are often in the background of conflicts and political disputes. Also the effects of climate change such as desertification and changes in the water cycle hinder the exploi tation of natural resources particularly in arid regions and increase the risk of conflict.The disadvantages of the use of natural resources appear mostly at the local level among the poorest part of the population (for example as environmental pollution o r increasing shortages of natural resources) whereas the benefits flow often out of their reach. Questions around privileges to use natural resources cause conflicts in the developing countries. Also the privatization of natural resources (such as water) h as accelerated conflicts.The project will try to bring democratic ways of managing natural resources into discussion. Essential questions are: who benefits from the exploitation of natural resources and who will bear the disadvantages? Who should have the discretion about the use of natural resources? Who owns the natural resources and in which way?There is relatively much discussion about the democratic management of natural resources but this discussion has mostly taken place in the academic context. The backgrounds of conflicts are however of more general interest which means there would be demand for popularisation.