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
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.
Related Areas of Work
QUNO attended the 17th Working Group of the Parties of the Aarhus Convention as part of our work on Natural Resources, Conflict and Cooperation. This 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.
An important focus for QUNOs work on Natural Resources is 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. We see the Aarhus Convention as a valuable contribution to managing environmental matters in a constructive way.
Rhiannon Redpath delivered an oral statement introducing both the work of QUNO and highlighting the role peacebuilding approaches can play in creating the preconditions for effective public participation around natural resource management as a means of preventing destructive conflict. The statement was well received, and QUNO plans further engagement in this area.
Related Areas of Work
Diane Hendrick of QUNO Geneva and Alexandra Trzeciak-Duval, former Head of the Policy Division in OECD’s Directorate for Development Co-operation, co-moderated an e-discussion on Mainstreaming Food Security into Peacebuilding Processes. You can read contributions to the e-discussion at http://www.fao.org/fsnforum/protracted-crises.