Worldwatch Paper #162: The Anatomy of Resource Wars

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Worldwatch Paper #162: The Anatomy of Resource Wars 521.18KB

Author: Michael Renner

ISBN: 1-878071-65-3
Publication Date: Oct. 2002
91 pages

In several countries around the developing world, abundant natural resources help fuel conflict, either by attracting predatory groups seeking to control them or by financing wars that were initially caused by other factors. Prominent examples include Sierra Leone, Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and Afghanistan. Conflict has also erupted in several countries where the benefits of mining and logging projects—oil in Columbia and Nigeria, timber and natural gas in Indonesia, and copper in Bougainville/Papua New Guinea—accrue to a small elite while the social and environmental burdens are borne by local communities.

Governments, rebels, and warloads have made billions of dollars by selling conflict commodities and have used the money to arm themselves and line their own pockets. But the cost of these conflicts has been extraordinary—more than 5 million people killed during the 1990's, as many as 20 million driven from their homes, and considerable environmental destruction. In this new publication, Senior Researcher, Michael Renner assesses the anatomy of resource wars, examines a number of specific cases, and discusses efforts to break the link between resources and conflict.