We help mining, oil and gas companies adopt business practices that take into account the conflict risks and peace opportunities of their activities, and work with communities and governments to manage and use their natural resources peacefully.

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Introduction: 

Businesses can play a positive role in contributing to peaceful economic development, but at times can also exacerbate tensions and fuel violent conflict.

We help mining, oil and gas companies adopt business practices that take into account the conflict risks and peace opportunities of their activities, and work with communities and governments to manage and use their natural resources peacefully.

We advise and train businesses to assess the risks and impacts of their operations on communities, and promote greater communication between companies and local people, to ensure economic activities do not fuel tensions or violence.

Why: 

Natural resources can provide opportunities to increase economic development in fragile and conflict-affected states.

However, in many cases the lack of effective and inclusive management leads to unchecked and violent competition, increased corruption, damaging socio-economic change and inequity of wealth distribution, leading to greater instability and violence.

Improving the knowledge and understanding of governments, companies and communities of natural resource management, improving the flow of information between them and creating opportunities for dialogue, can help prevent or manage these conflicts.

Moreover, if natural resources are managed in a way that is more equitable, sustainable and inclusive, this can create greater incentives for peace, such as shared material benefits and increased interdependence.

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Economic growth can help contribute to peace in Uganda

Conflict is born of unresolved differences, and violent conflict is when these get out of hand. This happens when the mechanisms for managing and resolving differences and conflicts are overwhelmed. Ugandans experienced this almost continuously from Independence in 1962, until 2006 when the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) left Uganda to inflict its mayhem, pain and sorrow elsewhere in central Africa.

Why an understanding of conflict dynamics still matters for businesses

Over the past 20 years, conventional forms of armed conflict have been in decline. The absence of inter-state or intra-state conflict has, in many places, given way to relative stability. Emerging middle-income economies, keen to capitalise on abundant natural resources, have courted investment from major international companies, and subsequently experienced growth. But in many of these contexts, the absence of armed conflict masks what in fact represents only the illusion of peace.

Conflict-sensitive forest governance in Myanmar

This project aims to support more ‘conflict-sensitive’ approaches to forestry management and governance in Myanmar. We are advising, accompanying and building the capacity of key government departments, businesses and civil society, so they can better implement governance and market reforms through the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) voluntary partnership agreement (VPA) negotiations between the European Union and the government of Myanmar.

An agrarian dream?

New research by International Alert has found that a lot more needs to be done to transform Rwanda’s ambitious rural settlements into the idols of communal living envisaged.

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Feeling left out

New research by International Alert into the socio-economic impact of mining in the Kayes region of Mali has revealed that a lack of involvement of local people in the operations is creating a growing risk of conflict.

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International peacebuilding capacity: Taking the courageous option

Sometimes here in London, you wait an hour for a bus, then three come along at once. The UN seems to be facing a similar phenomenon: you wait several years for a policy review, and then 10 come along at once. Not only has the new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) just been agreed, but a whole slew of other reviews have been going on, into women peace and security, peacekeeping operations, the least developed countries, and international approaches to drugs, to name but a few. And of course the 21st Climate Change Conference (COP) takes place next month in Paris, too.

How donors can help civil society become more effective

In this post, written with DFID in mind, but also relevant to other donors, I argue that donor support for civil society has two distinct, but related strategic components: support to civil society in providing services which help meet the donor’s goals; and support to the emergence of a permissive environment for sustained civil society action. Both are important, and can be mutually sustaining – though not automatically. All of a given donor’s sectoral and geographically-defined strategies can and should integrate both components, while recognising they are not the same.

Bridging the void: Realising the humanitarian–peacebuilding link

In the lead up to the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit, International Alert convened a roundtable to identify views on a perennial question for the international community – what is the link between humanitarian assistance and peacebuilding? This blog summarises some of the key observations.