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natureshare  UNEP ON THE GROUND
Mediation Can Prevent and Resolve Natural Resources Disputes

On February 19, UNEP, together with the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA) launched a collaborative report: “Natural Resources and Conflict: A Guide for Mediation Practitioners”. The report launch, held in New York, was opened by UN Deputy Secretary General Mr. Jan Eliasson and featured a moderated discussion with Mr. Pekka Haavisto, Member of Parliament and former Minister of Finland, and Mr. Michael Brown, DPA Standby Team of Mediation Experts and Professor of Practice in Conflict Mediation at McGill University. Panelists discussed the role natural resources such as land, timber, water as well as extractive resources have played in igniting and prolonging conflict - particularly in fragile states where management and oversight of such resources is often weak. In parallel, speakers pointed to the growing need to use mediation for preventing and resolving natural resource conflicts. According to Mr. Eliasson “[R]esources can be a catalyst for cooperation. Mediation over natural resources can help lay the ground for building constructive relations across ethnic, national or regional divides.”


While mediation to date has been underutilized in the context of conflicts involving natural resources, this guide aims to bridge the gap by equipping mediators and mediation practitioners with practical advice, tools and strategies they may need. It offers new insights on the successful mediation of resource conflicts and consolidates lessons from decades of hands-on experience at both the local and international levels mediating conflicts over extractive resources, land and water. It draws on the field experiences of DPA’s mediators and mediation experts, and also features lessons learned from UNEP’s work on environmental diplomacy.


Helping to identify paths towards resolution through mediation and third-party involvement, the DPA-UNEP Guide can be used by diverse stakeholders and natural resource management experts considering a mediated solution to a resource dispute, ranging from governments and companies to communities and non-governmental organizations. The report was supported by the Governments of Finland and Italy as well as the European Union.


For the complete report:



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