Memorandum: Resource Politics for a Fair Future

Memorandum: Resource Politics for a Fair Future

From the extraction of tar sands in North America to large-scale land purchases in Africa and from China’s investment in the Mekong region to mining and soya production in Latin America – the global resources bonanza is a fact. But all this use of natural resources doesn’t respect the ecological limits of our world and it doesn’t result in a fair distribution of the profits.

This Memorandum is the outcome of a two-year process. With the dialogue project “Resource Equity in a Finite World” the Heinrich Böll Foundation brought together young people from 29 countries who have examined resource issues in their respective regions in ten “future workshops” in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Delegates of each future workshop brought their experiences, ideas and visions to Berlin, where they spent two days with the international Heinrich Böll Foundation team, discussing and developing these ideas further. The process was supported by an advisory board consisting of eleven internationally renowned environmentalists and human rights experts.

With the Memorandum the Heinrich Böll Foundation offers a perspective which combines democracy, ecology and human rights and lays out fundamental ways forward that can form the basis for fair and sustainable Resource Politics.

Publications & Products

Resource Politics for a Fair Future

Publication Series on Ecology 38: How could a just and democratic resource politics look like that respects both planetary boundaries and human rights? The Memorandum “Resource Politics for a Fair Future” is the outcome of a two-year international dialogue process of the Heinrich Böll Foundation.

Graphics of the publication

All graphics of the publication "Resource Politics for a Fair Future" are licensed under a Creative Commons license (CC-BY-NC-ND). You can download the files in jpg format here.

Modules of the Publication

All chapters of the publication Resource "Politics for a Fair Future" are licensed under a Creative Commons license (CC-BY-NC-ND). You can download the single chapters in pdf format here.

Una política de los recursos para un futuro justo

La seria de escritos ecología: La pregunta toral que nos hacemos es: ¿cómo se necesita organizar el uso de los recursos naturales de manera que se respeten los límites ecológicos de nuestro planeta y, al mismo tiempo, se fortalezcan los derechos humanos y la democracia? Ese Memorándum define un conjunto de principios e ideas para una política de los recursos en un triángulo de justicia socioeconómica, ambiental y democrática con una perspectiva internacional.


"The situation in big cities is really urgent"

Ana Di Pangracio is Deputy Director at Fundación Ambiente y Recursos Naturales FARN. She was one of the participants of the Future Workshop Chile/Argentina/Brasil where this interview was conducted.

By Ana Di Pangracio

The project: 29 countries, ten future workshops, one dialogue

International Dialogue Project

The international dialogue project aims to engage young academics, activists and policy makers in a cooperative and creative debate. An important milestone in this process will be the Alternative Resource Summit in September 2013.

Sustainability - The One Way forward?

Do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the individual? Some of the most heated arguments during the Future Workshop in Prague originated from this conflict.

By Nora Feldmar, Sven Janovski, Johanna Sydow, Dominika Gmerek

Diagnoses and Challenges from the Perspective of "Cono Sur" Countries

A major obstacle in conflict-ridden countries is related to the centrality of the markets. During the Future Workshop in Cono Sur participants discussed the linked socio-environmental conflicts.

By Malik Fercovic, Recaredo Alberto Gálvez Carrasco, María Cecilia Reeves, Betzabet Morero, Ana Di Pangracio

Reflection on the Future Workshop in Bangkok

The production and distribution of natural resources are complex and multi-level. The participants of the Bangkok Future Workshop therefore discussed difficulties and solutions for the commons.

By Naw Ei Ei Min, Chol Bunnag

Essay on Natural Resource Conflicts and Governance

In the Future Workshop: "Resource Governance in 21st Century" participants from India and Afghanistan discussed possible solutions to key natural resource management problems.

By Divya Gupta, Pinaki Dasgupta

Mining in Afghanistan

Afghanistan is abundantly rich in natural resources. Although the country is facing a lot of problems, mining could have the potential to be a driver of poverty reduction and economic growth.

By Saeeda Gouhari

The Future Workshop in Hasankeyf

The Future workshop in Hasankeyf, Turkey, with participants from Turkey, Lebanon, Palestine and Egypt focused on solutions that could improve the current environmental situation in the Middle East.

By Michelle Matta

A Princely Plan in the Pipelines or a Pauper's Pipe Dream?

In the Horn and East African region, there are many conflicts over natural resources at community and even national levels. The bigger part arises from deficient water supply and pasture for livestock.

By Edfas Mkandawire, Euan Hope, Tafadzwa Kuvheya

All Quiet on the Western Front?

The claims and arguments in this essay have been inspired by exciting discussions during the “Future Workshop on Resource Equity" organized in Hasankeyf (Turkey) in Fall 2012.

By Durukan Dudu

Jagoda Munic, chairperson of Friends of the Earth International, says why she's inspired by the resource politics memorandum and what makes it unique.

Oxford University’s Kate Raworth explains where mainstream economics is going wrong and how the resource memorandum can steer us in the right direction.

Sunita Narain, director of CSE in India on how the memorandum is a critical change in the global debate and why people need to listen.

Video: RSA Shorts - Growth is Not Enough

Voice: Kate Raworth
Animation: Marija Jacimovic
Design: Milan Perisic
Production: Benoit Detall

This RSA ( video is licenced under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.


Impressions from the Future Workshops


The German Raw Material Strategy: Taking Stock


Nearly two years after the German Government’s raw materials strategy was first published in October 2010, the present paper takes stock of how individual core elements of the raw materials strategy have been put into practice, with a focus on the promotion of foreign trade and on development cooperation.

Die deutsche Rohstoffstrategie: Eine Bestandsaufnahme


Knapp zwei Jahre nach der Veröffentlichung der deutschen Rohstoffstrategie im Oktober 2010 gibt das folgende Papier eine Bestandsaufnahme der Umsetzung einzelner Kernelemente mit dem Schwerpunkt auf Außenwirtschaftsförderung und Entwicklungszusammenarbeit.

North South Transitions to Green Economies

The worldwide and sustainable transition of energy systems will only succeed if the economic and technological capacities of all countries are involved. Few developing countries have considerable production capacities for climate-friendly technologies. If the creation of attractive enabling environments in the global South goes hand in hand with new ways of careful export support in the global North, this will work as a global and fair Green New Deal.

Critique of the Green Economy - Toward Social and Environmental Equity


Publication Series on Ecology 22: The idea of growth as the way to end poverty and escape economic and financial crisis remains largely undisputed and is currently reflected in the concept of the green economy. But not everything that is “green” and efficient is also environmentally sustainable and socially equitable. This essay outlines a policy of less, of wealth in moderation, to enable the Earth’s resources to make a life of dignity and without need possible for all.

Biomassters Battle to Control the Green Economy

At Rio+20, the concept of the "green economy" focuses on industrial production from biomass as one way to overcome fossil fuel dependency. The push for a bio-based economy comes with a call for market-based mechanisms for the financialization of the Earth’s natural processes, re-branded as ‘ecosystem services’, which also encourage land and water grabs.  By etc Group and Heinrich Boell Foundation

Marginal Oil: What is driving oil companies dirtier and deeper?


This paper is a document that describes the drivers behind marginal oil investments and gives an overview of existing and potential projects across the globe. It contains important analysis that should be public knowledge and will productively feed the ongoing debate, from Cancun to Durban to Rio and beyond.


Research Project

From Money to Metal

Despite the current financial "crisis" investors are pouring money into mining companies and projects, with potentially negative consequences for thousands of communities around the world. Launched in 2008, and now available as a regularly-updated data base, "From Money to Metals" is a vital resource to discover who is funding what, and where, in one of the most potentially destructive of all global industries. By Nostromo Research, 2009. more»