Zabrina Welter, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg

Post-Conflict Extractive Resources Governance

Poor natural resource governance is increasingly acknowledged as a threat to sustainable peace as well as development. This is particularly so in contexts where the extraction of high-value natural resources, such as minerals, played an important role in fuelling armed conflicts. While the governance of extractive resources has proven to be difficult under normal circumstances, it is particularly challenging in post-conflict contexts. In settings marked by deep social and cultural cleavages, institutions tend to be weak leading to governance operating in areas of ‘limited statehood’ (Börzel & Risse, 2016). Thus, the state, international organisations, companies, local communities, but also armed groups, criminal gangs, and other powerful actors have an interest in influencing the outcomes of extractive resources governance and, in the end, controlling resource revenues to influence the transition process or to maintain power. Before this background, my research wants to contribute to a better understanding of post-conflict extractive resources governance, focusing on artisanal and small-scale mining, from an interdisciplinary political science perspective. In my project, I want to analyse the political dynamics behind extractive resources governance by studying the designation and implementation of ASM zones in post-conflict contexts. Placing my research in the field of political ecology, I plan to conceptualise and study ASM zones as power-driven efforts to control resources and territories (which I understand as territorialisation), where multiple actors (with their agency) are involved in shaping where, how and by whom resources will be extracted (which I conceptualise as access). Hence, their interactions shape the governance of extractive resources in post-conflict contexts and produce winners and losers and possible new socio-environmental conflicts.