Promoting natural resource conflict management in an illiberal setting: Experiences from Central Darfur, Sudan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

My main goal is to draw attention to ongoing conflict and insecurity in Darfur region of Sudan, still one of the world's largest humanitarian situation. Darfur once commanded global attention but has receded into the shadows of a world suffering from compassion fatigue. This study was prompted by three distinct yet related concerns. The first is the growing interest in environmental performance within illiberal regimes. I contend that understanding the situation in authoritarian and heavily conflict-ridden societies such as Darfur region in Sudan requires a combined holistic and historical framework for understanding the complex interplay of political economy and cultural ecology affecting local use and management of natural resources. The second concern is a desire to reflect on the possibilities and challenges of peacebuilding and recovery Darfur, drawing on my experience there with two projects carried out by the Near East Foundation that sought to promote early recovery in Central Darfur through environmental peacebuilding. Its preparation was prompted by three distinct yet related concerns. The third concern is to address some of the links between peacebuilding and natural resource interventions. I argue that even in extremely illiberal settings such as Darfur that it is still possible to carry out activities that widen the scope for action by local populations. This finding was most evident regarding the project's conflict management training, which local people ended up applying in a range of situations, and which helped spawn a peace movement among youths. Nevertheless, project participants noted that this training and action, while helpful at the community level, could not address “bigger problems outside.” Renewed national and international peace efforts are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-171
Number of pages9
JournalWorld Development
Volume109
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics

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