A new joint report released by the UN Development Program (UNDP) and the UN Environment Program (UNEP) says that the environment and natural resources can play an important role in promoting sustainable peace in many conflict-ridden countries around the world. The report urges governments and partners to integrate natural resource management in post-conflict re-integration programs.
The report says that inclusion of natural resources in peace-building efforts can help reduce potential conflicts, such as disputes over land and water. It can also lead to the creation of green jobs for former soldiers. The report, â€˜The Role of Natural Resources in Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration â€“ Addressing Risks and Seizing Opportunitiesâ€™, also points out that natural resource management and distribution can be a part of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programs of the UN.
Jordan Ryan, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, said that it is important to help former fighters and their communities to turn existing natural resources into economic opportunities in order to re-build their lives after a conflict. Proper management of natural resources such as minerals, oils, gas and timber can be an effective part of a well thought-out peace process.
The report quotes an example of the creation of â€˜green jobsâ€™ in a post-conflict setting in Nepal. Following the signing of a peace agreement in Nepal in 2006, nearly 19,600 former Maoist fighters who awaited integration into the Nepalese National Army were taught how to upkeep water systems and improved cooking stoves in their own cantonment camps.The report also notes that given one-third of UN peacekeeping operations since 1990 have taken place in areas where the conflicts have been economically fuelled by, or otherwise driven by, natural resources, effective natural resource management has the potential to reduce risk of inflaming conflicts.
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