Land of the Unexpected: Natural Resource Conflict and Peace building in Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea (PNG) has long been a site of analysis for exploring the links betweennatural resources and conflict, having been cited as an example in prominent studies of the ‘natural resource curse’ and used as a source of learning in international debates on CorporateSocial Responsibility (CSR). Over the past d ecade, this scholarship has expanded to encompass conflict analysis and peace building. This paper considers four themes identified in the contemporary literature, each with reference to examples drawn from PNG: 1) the costs of conflict on business and the power of local communities; 2) tensions between the state as regulator and the state as shareholder; 3) the unsatisfactory performance of compensation packages and CSR projects; and 4) an emphasis on the economic dimensions of the natural resource curse in the search for new frameworks. Through a discussion of these themes, the paper calls for the development of natural resource conflict mitigation strategies that are based on a deeper understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of existing CSR measures.
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