Natural Resource Extraction & Justice:
GSN Study e-Broad @ CRS
September 17th - 28th 2012
Justice Development Peace Commission, JDPC, is actively involved in peacebuilding, early warning, early response and conflict mapping in this area because of tribal violence. Every three months they have events in the area of the communities involved, including the Agbaduma area, of Agatu local government. This month they are having a Peace rally with speakers being from the Methodist Church, the Catholic churches and the four chiefs of the involved tribes.
Photo: Karen Kasmauski for CRS
Paradoxically, having natural resources can be a curse for a developing country. Not only can the desire to control these resources give rise to conflict and corruption; when poorly managed, the extraction of natural resources such as minerals and oil can exacerbate and prolong armed conflicts already in place and actually slow development. In the age of globalization, the extraction business can become entwined with violence and human rights abuses. Sadly, the answer to the question of what a cell phone and a car has to do with conflict is then — a lot. Essential components of our consumer electronics and fuel for cars are derived often from lands suffering violence.
Session #1 will draw on CRS’s programming in Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, both rich in natural resources and experiencing ongoing violent conflict. This session will consider: links between natural resources and governance in these countries; how revenue from extraction is used; what initiatives are being undertaken to increase transparency and address corruption; and how civil society is being mobilized to hold these sectors accountable. In particular, what is our role as American consumers, shareholders, advocates, and environmental stewards?
Ways to Participate:
STUDY - Read the essay(s)/watch the video(s) that your professor assigns.
BLOG - Post your reflections and respond to student posts on our GSN Blog.
INTERACT w/ CRS - Email your questions to a CRS expert
Review the resources assigned by your professor.
CRS Framing Documents
1.) Extractives and Equity, Introductory Essay, pp. 1-25
This essay introduces students to the extractive industries and the challenges posed by this work – including changes in a region's economy, potential for increased violent conflict, and environmental and health risks. Emphasis is placed on the importance of quality governance and regulation, as well as the necessity of involving all stakeholders in planning and decision making, from communities to corporations. The final part of the essay gives a sense of CRS’s approach to programming and partnership, recounts the history of the Catholic Church’s views on the use of natural resources, and briefly introduces the publication’s case studies. DISCUSS
2.) Nigeria: Increasing Equity in Oil Communities: A Case Study of the Umuechem Community 2003-2010, by Joseph Shopade and Christopher O’Connor, pp. 82-109
This case concerns the development of local governance in the Umuechem region of the Niger River Delta, an area plagued by poverty, violent conflict, and environmental degradation. The case reviews the work of the CRS-supported Centre for Social and Corporate Responsibility (CSCR) and the ways in which the people of Umuechem were able to form a community development council and bring increased accountability for the impact of oil extraction by the Shell Petroleum Development Corporation. The work of the CSCR between 2003-2010 is described and evaluated. Readers learn as well about the historical and political context of Nigeria and its oil industry. Themes for discussion might include: the impact of oil extraction on a community such as Umucheum, evaulation of the idea of a “resource curse,” strategies for development of good governance, corporate social responsibility and the interactions of various stakeholders, the role of an agency such as CRS, international campaigns for accountability, and actions students can take as global citizens. DISCUSS
CRS Supporting Resources:
1. Brief description of CRS and its methodology in working with local partners. Written by Sue Toton, CRS Liaison to the Partnership at Villanova University. DISCUSS
2. – Publication of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) - February 2012 DISCUSS
Faculty Recommended Supporting Resources on Nigerian Oil Industry
2. Curse of the Black Gold: Hope and Betrayal in the Niger Delta National Geographic photo gallery on the impact of oil extraction on the Niger River Delta. DISCUSS
3. Nigeria Profile: BBC News portal including maps, facts, links to local media sources, and political timeline. DISCUSS
Faculty Recommended Supporting Resources on Mineral Extraction in the Democratic Republic of the Congo*
*Note: The CRS Framing Documents do not address the Democratic Republic of the Congo directly but these materials on the DRC are offered if you wish to broaden your discussion on mineral extraction and conflict beyond the Niger River Delta focus.
1. Conflict Minerals 101, Video by the Enough Project on mineral extraction in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (4 minutes, 3 seconds). DISCUSS
5. Giving Loving Gifts, by Rees Warne, Former CRS’ Strategic Issues Advisor on Extractives. This is a two-page primer on being a better US-based consumer of diamonds, phones, chocolates and other commodities sourced from developing countries. DISCUSS
- Select the session.
- Post your reflection and response to other student postings.
- Be sure to sign your name and class so your professor can identify your work.
- Email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Join a Live Webcast
- Watch a Recorded Webcast