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Enhancing EU Resource Governance Interventions: A Call for Prioritising Human Security


Engwicht,  Nina
Peace Academy Rhineland-Palatinate, University of Koblenz-Landau, Landau, Germany;
International Max Planck Research School on the Social and Political Constitution of the Economy, MPI for the Study of Societies, Max Planck Society;

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Grabek, J., & Engwicht, N. (2019). Enhancing EU Resource Governance Interventions: A Call for Prioritising Human Security. SAIIA Policy Briefing, 184.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0004-59F4-5
In response to resource-fuelled conflicts in producer countries, EU foreign policy initiatives
have sought to enhance ‘good governance’ throughout the value chain for an increasing
number of primary commodities. EU-supported reforms of natural resource sectors are
centrally informed by the concept of formalisation. Using the cases of diamond sector
reform in Sierra Leone and timber sector reform in Liberia, this briefing aims to highlight
the shortcomings inherent in formalisation-oriented approaches. We suggest that the
notion of human security is better suited to guide EU intervention in natural resource
sectors and their evaluation. Formalisation approaches tend to favour activities – and red
tape – that have yet to be linked to lasting benefits for producer societies. In contrast, a
human security approach promotes policies that focus on tangible results at the local level
of society, especially for those most affected by natural resource extraction.