The aim of the Governance of Natural Resources project will be to build a solid body of theoretical and applied research on the links between natural resources and conflict, review the kinds of interventions that can improve the global governance of natural resources, and suggest practical approaches that can help to improve the transparency of revenues generated by these commodities (e.g., oil) and reduce rents from the illegal trade in commodities with a strong link to conflict (e.g., conflict diamonds, illegal logging, precious metals). The ultimate objective will be to produce a Global Action Plan, involving key actors that can influence global governance, that can lead to concrete steps to cut off this source of conflict. PRIO provides one portion of the total plan.
The Governance of Natural Resources project is a collaborative effort between PRIO and two departments of the World Bank over the 2002-2004 period.
A major task of this project is to establish a database of precise geographical extent, location, reserve size and discovery date of natural resources by using Geographical Information System (GIS) tools. The dataset will be compatible with the conflict locations dataset developed by Halvard Buhaug (NTNU & CSCW). A priority list of ten natural resources that are considered important in the conflict literature has been established. Datasets for five commodities including diamonds and drugs are in a workable form, but require additional validation. Four papers dealing with both the dataset and with empirical analysis have been presented internationally. Two papers are submitted for publication.
The project now continues the data collection effort by validating existing datasets and extending the number of commodities. Time permitting, the following items will be included: gold, oil, natural gas and oil pipelines. A pilot database of a more sophisticated measure of population pressure on productive land will be developed. Four to five new papers will be produced using these datasets. All papers will be submitted for publication in refereed journals.