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International Law, Natural Resources and Post-conflict Peacebuilding: From Rio to Rio+20 and Beyond

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Abstract

Since the end of the Cold War, peacebuilding efforts and international environmental law have developed independently and in very different manners. Experiences in managing natural resources to support post-conflict peacebuilding in dozens of countries over the past twenty years, however, highlight the critical role that natural resources often play. The 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) provides an opportunity to consider the lessons from these experiences and provide a vision for future consolidation of approaches. This article reviews the development of peacebuilding, highlighting the importance of natural resources. It then surveys the status of international law governing post-conflict peacebuilding, including international environmental law. Looking forward, it considers the likely directions of international law in governing post-conflict peacebuilding, concluding with thoughts on how to capitalize on Rio+20 to advance more effective approaches.

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