New book by Päivi Lujala and Siri Aas Rustad


21 December 2011

The overriding importance of political will to rebuild sound institutions, promote accountability and anti-corruption efforts, better invest revenues, and develop natural resource management strategies which address the grievances that could lead to further conflict is among the findings in the first book in a major international series on post-conflict peacebuilding and natural resource management.


PRIO researchers Päivi Lujala and Siri Aas Rustad have in collaboration with The Environmental Law Institute (ELI), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the University of Tokyo, and McGill University published their first book in a seven-volume series on post-conflict peacebuilding and natural resource management: High-Value Natural Resources and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding. This flagship book addresses the key challenges faced by post-conflict countries in transforming natural resources in ways that contribute to economic recovery and reconciliation, jobs, and sustain livelihoods, and while not creating new grievances or major environmental degradation.
The book assesses practices from around the world in using high-value natural resources such as oil, diamonds, gold, and timber in consolidating peace. The landmark book includes a foreword by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the president of Liberia and 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, who inherited the task of transitioning the country from war to peace. Sirleaf states that peace brings promise and with it high expectations, especially in a country with abundant natural resources. “We had to turn this natural resource „curse‟ into a blessing,” she notes, “But where to start?”
The book gives insight to a variety of natural resource management strategies, addressing the different steps of the natural resource value-chain, from extraction to distribution and spending revenues. Instead of attempting to provide a single recipe for the management of high-value natural resources, this book highlights a range of policy options and management tools. There are four areas where international support can be particularly fruitful. These include: (1) helping post-conflict countries secure better contracts with companies extracting natural resources; (2) increasing the transparency of contracts, payments, and decision making; (3) supporting the monitoring of companies that are extracting natural resources; and (4) encouraging strategic planning for and accountability in using the revenues from natural resources to provide immediate peace dividends to war-torn populations and invest in infrastructure, health, education, and economic diversification.