Management natürlicher Ressourcen und Friedensförderung

Vortrag von Lancedell Mathews, Direktor der BfdW-EED-Partnerorganisation NARDA aus Liberia, beim Peace Building Forum der Arbeitsgemeinschaft Frieden und Entwicklung vom 07. bis 08 Mai 2014 in Berlin.


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Vortrag von Lancedell Mathews, Direktor der BfdW-EED-Partnerorganisation NARDA aus Liberia, beim Peace Building Forum der Arbeitsgemeinschaft Frieden und Entwicklung vom 07. bis 08 Mai 2014 in Berlin. 

In seinem Beitrag zum Management natürlich Ressourcen führt Lancedell Matthews, Direktor von NARDA aus Liberia aus, dass Land und andere natürliche Ressourcen wie u.a. auch Wasser zentrale Ansatzpunkte für Friedensförderung liefern. Die National Land Policy in Liberia bietet Chancen, da vor allem die Rechte indigener Gruppen hierin berücksichtigt werden. Die Sicherung lokaler legitimer Nutzungsrechte von Land und anderen natürlichen Ressourcen gegenüber einflußreichen Investoren und damit verbundenen Einbeziehung lokaler Betroffener in Gouvernance-Fragen kommt eine zentrale Bedeutung zu. Allerdings bräuchte es für inklusive Prozesse auch ausreichend Zeit und gegenseitiges Vertrauen, um lokales Know-how und Perspektiven in die Programmierung und Umsetzung einbringen zu können.

Sein ausführlicher Beitrag zum Thema Management natürlicher Ressourcen und Friedensförderung ist auf der Homepage von FriEnt erschienen und nun im Folgenden oder unter diesem Link nachzulesen.

A praxis journey: peacebuilding, natural resource management and development actors


By Lancedell Mathews




The quest for peace in the world has taken nations and peoples down diverse paths – the paths of freedom and justice, the way of democracy and human rights, and the road of security and now natural resource management.

The lesson we are learning from these journeys is that the values of peace are overarching and must be reflected in local, national and international economics or politics, business and industry as well as the social and cultural everyday life of people everywhere. Natural resources and its ownership, use and how it is administered has for very many years now been called into question and the rich experience of how we have managed it in the past whether through ideas of imperialism, and colonialism, communism or capitalism and now natural resource management must be harnessed and used for promoting a peaceful world.


This is one of the blessings of on-going debates and dialogues on peacebuilding, they stimulate thoughts on how we can do things differently and it is our global hope that connections between what we say and do will be strengthened so that we do not have thoughtless actions embedded in hegemony and actionless thoughts anchored in current practices.

Another important consideration for peacebuilding work is that it takes time, but time is what neither the international community, nor governments, nor people seem to have. The international development agenda keeps changing but largely within the same hegemony so following up initial interventions becomes a challenge; governments struggling with the lack of peace have a limited time to effect change before the next elections, and people need peace now and not in the year 2030. The peacebuilding agenda must consider how to meander through the maze of these competing realities. Peacebuilding is long term – and so too should be the commitment for peace.

Current natural resource management thinking in my mind focuses significantly on the economics of the resource and treats humanity as an add-on and not instead as the very essence – the means and the end of natural resource management. Local people should be ready and prepared for investments in resource extraction before national and international actors have it thrust upon them. In our quest to forge ahead with economic growth we sometimes leave the people behind. The notions of ‘the whole of society’, ‘inclusive development’ and ‘maximum feasible participation’ important concepts for building peace, without clear indexes, and standards have become all things to all people with all actors claiming compliance. But our experience shows that in spite of this claim thousands of hectares of indigenous people land are being relinquished through concession agreements for mining, agriculture, and logging without their participation. Attention to processes for peace must be as important as the results. The list could go on to include the changing nature of livelihoods of entire fishing communities that now buy fish from fishing vessels off the Liberian coast because they claim that fish have moved into the deep waters and paddling is too tedious and not profitable. After more than a generation of peacebuilding interventions, people’s involvement in the allocation, distribution, use and management of benefits of extraction of natural resources is at the minimum threshold of the participation ladder.

The insistence of the peacebuilding agenda on inclusive natural resource management is laying the foundation of positive long-term sustainable peace that rests with people. National dialogues on peacebuilding are considering the construction of a maximum feasible participation index so that we recognize it when we see it, and we are beginning to recognize it.

I just looked at a memo from the natural resource management consortium of civil society actors last week, informing members of a request by the 53rd National Legislature of Liberia to contribute to a public hearing on a legislative investigation on the condition of water, sanitation and hygiene. The consortium is to focus on Liberia’s Extractive Industries and their Impact on Safe and Accessible Water. We find that generally, water as a natural resource is misused, abused and not responsibly managed perhaps because it seems to be everywhere.

Our findings suggest that the water sector is also largely unregulated. Some of the big concessions take a minimalist approach to protect sources of water in some of the areas that they operate in. However, what these concessions do is not supervised by national water management bodies. On the other hand, alluvia and artisanal mining in several parts of Liberia do not even see water as a natural resource that is important enough to manage.

Much more is required to empower ordinary people to hold powerful people and corporations accountable. The natural resource management agenda must with deliberate haste work with all actors including governments, corporations, and civil society to set rules and respect the rules they set, to vigorously monitor integrity and accountability.

In contrast to water, land and people on the other hand, are perceived as two of the nation's most important natural resources. What we hear over and over again as we work in communities is that Liberia's next war will be over land. For years in our country, land, it's ownership, administration and use has continued to make a few people wealthy and at the same time put barriers in the way of very many others keeping them poor, marginalized and disenfranchised. The management of land has made it both a cause and an outcome of poverty.

The Liberian government working with civil society and international development partners has drawn land, and land management into the National Peace and Reconciliation Road Map, an essential instrument for building peace in Liberia. Encouraged by peacebuilding principles of seeking out drivers of conflicts and factors that put barriers in the way of people's resilience which is a huge national resource, a consultative policy on land has been developed. The innovative element within this policy is the recognition for the first time in the nation's history of indigenous communities’ rights to land ownership! It provides legal protection that equates customary land rights to private land rights. Although, historic, institutional and strategic challenges still remain including suppressing the traditional for the modern, and looking outward instead of inward for reflection, learning and action.

Recognition and legal protection given to customary land in our thinking, provides both the opportunity and the space for civil society to increase the stakes of rural communities in governance of land and other natural resources. A CSO alliance for natural resource management has been formed and has started working with the legislature to facilitate the enactment of just and accountable natural resource governance laws, hopefully through a more inclusive process.

But of what use is a good law? Strengthening public institutions have always meant the institutions of the modern state, thus neglected customary structures will remain weak or deal with modern influences and change.

These opportunities of hope and barriers for despair define the Liberian civil society's peacebuilding agenda for continued engagement in the natural resource management on-going debate. Utilizing the theory of change of both including both key people and more people to ensure that in translating the land policy into law, we will ALL (including the international community) trust each other and above all, trust the people to own and manage their land responsibly