Natural resources often play a role in fuelling conflicts, undermining peacebuilding efforts and contributing to a relapse in conflict if they are not properly managed. Indeed, a study recently found that among intrastate conflicts over the past 60 years, those associated with natural resources are more likely to relapse into conflict in the first five years after a peace agreement. However, less than a quarter of peace negotiations aiming to resolve conflicts linked to natural resources have addressed resource management mechanisms.

The recognition that natural resources and environmental issues can contribute to violent conflict underscores their potential significance as pathways for cooperation, transformation and the consolidation of peace in war-torn societies. Natural resources and the environment can contribute to peacebuilding through economic development and sustainable livelihoods, while cooperation over their management provides new opportunities for dialogue and reconciliation between divided groups. These factors, however, must be taken into consideration from the outset of a peacebuilding process. 

To support the UN's peace and security architecture, UNEP is providing technical expertise on now natural resources and the environmental can contribute to more effective conflict resolution, peacekeeping and peacebuilding. UNEP’s goal is to ensure natural resource and environmental risks and opportunities are fully considered and integrated into peacebuilding strategies. 

For more information see:

The work in this pillar is primarily supported by the Government of Finland and the European Commission's Instrument for Stability.

For further information on UNEP's environment and peacebuilding activities please contact David Jensen, ECP Programme Coordinator, at: