Governing Natural Resources for Peace: Lessons from Liberia and Sierra Leone
Natural resources are central to peacebuilding. International actors authorize United Nations' sanctions to disrupt the trade in resources that fuel conflict. In the aftermath of conflict, international actors intervene to influence how natural resources are governed to ensure that resources contribute to postconflict recovery. This article examines international efforts to govern forests in Liberia and diamonds and minerals in Sierra Leone to better understand the extent to which natural resources have helped establish the underlying conditions for peace. It suggests that, despite reducing the likelihood that resource revenues will fuel conflict, a decade of natural-resource governance has made peacebuilding more challenging. Rather than foster cooperation and trust, governance interventions leave unaddressed historical sources of tension and create new sources of instability.