Areas of Work

Natural Resources, Conflict and Cooperation

QUNO recognises that weak and inequitable governance of natural resources can lead to destructive conflict, exacerbating tensions between groups and in some cases escalating to violence. We therefore take a conflict prevention and peacebuilding approach to natural resource management, encouraging dialogue, cooperation and the constructive handling of conflicts. QUNO works with laws and guidelines from international frameworks that support inclusive decision making and equitable access to natural resources, while also bringing expertise and good practices from the local level to the international policy environment. We highlight the need to empower local communities, including vulnerable groups such as women and the poorest, to participate meaningfully in decision making around natural resources, focusing particularly on water, land and food. 

Recent Timeline Events

June 2014

QUNO hosts side event at the Aarhus Convention's Meeting of the Parties on "Building peace through environmental access rights"

QUNO  organized a side event on "Building peace through environmental access rights: preventing conflict around water, land and food" (download the briefing paper below) on Tuesday, July 1, at the Meeting of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention.

Aarhus is a UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention linking environmental rights and human rights, focusing on the interactions between the public and public authorities. With the help of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), QUNO was able to bring Khin Thida Tin, from the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry in Myanmar and Hou Jiaru from the China University of Political Science and Law, to join Harry Jonas of Natural Justice and Lynn Finnegan of QUNO to discuss the preconditions for effective public participation around natural resource management, as a means of preventing destructive conflict and promoting equitable and peaceful natural resource management.


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March 2014

QUNO organizes a side event at Human Rights Council on “Procedural Rights and the Environment: Preventing conflict around water, land and food"

In March, QUNO organized a side event at the Human Rights Council on “Procedural Rights and the Environment: Preventing conflict around water, land and food". Procedural rights include the right to information, public participation in decision-making and right to remedy and complement substantive rights such as the right to life or the right to food. Jonathan Woolley of QUNO chaired the event and the Permanent Representatives of Ethiopia and Chile to the UN in Geneva spoke on existing and planned legal frameworks relating to the environment in Africa and Latin America, respectively. Diane Hendrick for QUNO spoke on the role of peacebuilding approaches in preparing for the effective exercise of procedural rights and the importance of the latter in preventing destructive conflict. Andrea Iff of swisspeace discussed the relevance of these rights for conflict sensitive engagement by businesses.  

Further background on the side event is available in the "Concept note" PDF available below.

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