Conflicts for Resources

International Catalan Institute for Peace

This Peace in Progress issue is dedicated to the relation between natural resources and the violent conflicts that these can generate. When we think of the consequences of the wars we tend to mainly think in terms of human beings. There is no doubt that these are the most relevant casualties. But the selection of articles of this number show the importance of other awful consequences (social, environmental, cultural… etc). The readings allow us to deepen into the different aspects in which violent conflicts and natural resources relate.

Jordi Noè, member of AlterNativa Intercanvi amb Pobles Indígenes, writes "Exploration and extraction of natural resources endangers indigenous peoples" and he explains how the extractive companies and the governments often perform in ways that destroy an important part of the etnocultural diversity of the planet.

Moreover we have decided to approach these problems on a case to case basis. That's why we have two articles on Africa, two on Latin America and another one on the Middle East. Jordi Palou, Conflict Mediator and Lawyer at the International Criminal Court, and Antoni Pigrau, Professor of Public International Law and Director of the CEDAT, present examples of the doom of natural resources for some territories like Great Lakes region and Nigeria, their articles are titled  " Great Lakes Region: Conflicts for resources " and " The environmental and social impact of shell's operations in Nigeria". Ferran Izquierdo, International Relations Lecturer at UAB, proposes us to examine the Israel-Palestine conflict from the water perspective with his article titled "Water. An obstacle for the peace in Palestine?". Edwin Novoa Álvarez, lawyer and teacher of the National University of Colombia, writes "Violence and environmental conflicts, the tragedy of the Chocó," about the case of Colombia. The attorney of the Unión de afectados por Texaco, Pablo Fajardo writes the article "The price of the wealth", which is focused in the consequences of the performance of this company in Ecuador.

A part of these central articles, on this issue you can read the interview to Joan Martinez-Alier, professor of the UAB, pioneer on political ecology thought and founder and director of the academic magazine "Ecologia Política".

To end the central part of the magazine we maintain the section "Finding out More" with a good bunch of resources, of internet as well as from other sources, to deepen into the knowledge of conflicts for resources.

Finally in the Platform section we can enjoy two current and valuable reflections. Christophe Barbey, lawyer and peace worker, writes "Peace and Constitutions ", in it he explains the way peace can be included in the constitutional texts. He emphasizes that such inclusion can have several social, educational, political consequences... The other article, written by Blanca Camps, political scientist specialized in Middle East and North Africa, titles  "Syria: Nonviolence in times of war" and helps a greater visibility of nonviolent movements of resistance in Syria, as well as complaining that such invisibility does not help to the transformation of the conflict, nor it helps to allow a full view of the current situation in the country.

ICIP would like to thank all authors for their contributions to this edition of Per la Pau / Peace in Progress.