Friday 27 September 2019


In the last two decades, many of the conflicts in Africa are as a result of disagreement about the relationship of citizens with the extant natural resources in their clime. Some examples are the Niger Delta crisis over crude oil/environmental pollution; the Farmer-Herder crisis about fodder/water, climate change and the use of land by both farmers and herders. Indeed, these conflicts have regional, continental and international dimensions; etc. However, not much attention has been paid to the germane issue for mediating these conflicts with a view to transforming them into more manageable forms in order to ensure continued peaceful coexistence.

Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa @ the West Africa Network for Peace-building (WANEP) & African Peace-building Network (APN) workshop on 'Mediating Natural Resource Conflicts in Africa: Connecting Practice to Research & Policy'.

There was a pot potpourri of academics/researchers, practitioners and policy makers at the workshop:

*Dr. Cyril Obi - Programme Director, APN
*Dr. Emeka Eze - Executive Director, WANEP
*Ms. Bridget Osakwe - National Coordinator, WANEP Nigeria
*Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa - Conflict Transformation Expert & Member, Forum on Farmer-Herder Relations in Nigeria - FFARN
*Dr. Nathaniel Danjibo - IPSS, University of Ibadan
*Umar Ahmed - Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto
*Godfrey Maringira - University of Western Cape, South Africa
*Dr. Onyinye Oyindo - University of Port Harcourt
*Prof. Felix Asogwa - Enugu State University of Technology (ESUT)
*Jacinta Nwaka - Dept. of History, University of Benin
*Nathaniel Awuapila - CORAFID, Nigeria
*Ebenezer Asiedu - ECOWAS MFD
*Abubakari Ahmed - UDS, Wa, Ghana

After exhaustive deliberations, the following observations were made:

*Natural resources are a major cause of conflicts in Africa.
*Land, the main source of the natural resources, is loaded with historical, spiritual and cultural significance that goes beyond its contemporary value in many cases.
*Local disputes over natural resources may have national, regional, continental and international dimensions.
*Natural resources are managed by complex and overlapping systems of traditional and modern institutions.
*There is price volatility for natural resources traded on the international market.
*Violent conflicts over natural resources likely to occur in countries with weak institutions.
*There is a lack of revenue transparency in the management of commodity chains for natural resources.
*Responses to natural resource conflicts are reactive rather than proactive.
*Early warning about natural resource conflict is not often accompanied by early response to same.
*Reportage of natural resource conflict discountenances sensitivity.
*There is no database of natural resource conflict mediators in Africa.

The following were recommended:

*More attention should be paid to prevention, management and mediation of natural resource conflicts in Africa.
*The spiritual, historical and cultural dimensions of land as a commodity in Africa should be taken into consideration by researchers, practitioners and policy makers in their work.
*The national, regional, continental and international dimensions of local natural resources conflicts should be taken cognisance of by mediators, practitioners and researchers.
*African countries need to develop strong institutions which would put effective and efficient modalities in place for the prevention and management of natural resources conflicts.
*There should be revenue transparency in the natural resource sector. There should be value added to natural resources prior to export.
*Early warning of impending natural resource conflict should be complemented by early response.
*Reportage of natural resource conflict should pass the sensitivity test.
*Members at the inaugural workshop on 'Mediating natural resource conflicts...' should form the core of mediators in the field of natural resource conflict. More intensive training and interaction/workshops/conferences, etc are however needed.
*The trained core of 'natural resource mediators ' could form the team for 'mediation missions' commissioned by regional and continental bodies in Africa.
*The Mediators' Network comprising academics, practitioners and policy makers should be housed in the interim by WANEP.
*A database of natural resource conflict mediators should be compiled and constantly updated.

This is indeed a successful maiden outing for an ambitious project to identify and nurture academics, practitioners and policy makers who could effectively mediate natural resource conflicts in Africa. Bravo! 

Related Links

*Mediation & the principle of emergence - Kluwer Blog
*Why empathy may be the most important skill you'll ever need to succeed in Mediation
*Interface between traditional and modern approaches to Conflict Mnagement by Iddy Ramadhani Magoti
*How to argue in a healthy way
*From Sudan to Mali, how climate wars are breaking out across the Sahel
*5 reasons why Mediation should be mandatory
*Natural resources, sustainable development & peace in Africa
*Will the colonised ever speak?
*How are you showing up as an active listener during Mediation? 5 steps to avoid
*Watchdog Mediation: Mediation is increasing in consumer disputes
*5 ways to boost your bottom-line with empathy during Mediation
*Negotiation: Moving beyond intractability
*Silence as argument in conflict situations
*How to be a good listener
*Breaking Nigeria/Africa's 'resource curse' through eco-system investing
*What is 'deep listening' during Mediation & how can it help during the Covid-19 pandemic?
*What great listeners actually do
*3 ways to build empathy in Mediation


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