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Call for papers for conference on Natural Resource Management and Conflict in Africa


Natural Resource Management and Conflict in Africa

Organized by the Institute of African Studies (IAS), University of Ghana, and the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS), Denmark.

Date: 26th to 28th June 2023.

Venue: Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS), Copenhagen.

Natural resources such as land, water, forests, pasture and minerals are integral to development globally, not least to the fortunes of natural resource rich and dependent countries in Africa. Natural resources also directly shape the livelihoods of most people in the world. For a few decades now there have been both academic and policy debates centring on the relationship between resources and development outcomes. Some of the early analysis falls in the ‘resource curse’ tradition, faulting the resources themselves as a hindrance to development. More recent literature draws attention to the governance, management, policy and institutional arrangements of resource extraction and appropriation as contributing to poor development outcomes in natural resource rich economies. In Africa specifically, studies have found that the way institutions work bear substantial responsibility for the social, political, and economic challenges that natural resources pose, including poor distribution of economic growth.

Across the African continent policy debates are thriving about how the extraction and use of natural resources have shaped social, economic, and political relations, emphasizing both positive and negative outcomes.

In this regard, conflicts are an important indicator of limitations on resource governance and management, arising from competition over land and dynamics of the beneficiation process. Indeed, conflict over natural resources have become endemic in Africa, and their rise in numbers and intensity have devastating implications for people’s lives and livelihoods. Examples are many. They include conflicts between pastoralists and farmers over land and water; large-scale mining companies and small-scale miners; mining of different scales and agrarian communities; the state and small-scale miners and between the state and local agrarian communities. Land use conflicts also arise from urbanisation and the loss of farmlands to housing and related infrastructure in urban peripheries.

The relationship between natural resource exploitation and conflict is complex and multidimensional. Several actors, including community-based organizations, youth and women groups, traditional authorities, state-sanctioned security agencies, local government institutional, multinational and domestic businesses who often have diverse and incompatible interests are at the centre of these conflicts, but also the efforts to resolve them.

In sum, across Africa, the extraction and use of various natural resources have contributed to fuelling and sustaining conflicts and state-sanctioned strategies to tackle them such as improving governance, persuasion, and using force have not only had limited success, but often made matters worse.

Due to the topical and continued importance of understanding and debating natural resource governance, management and conflict on the African continent, the Institute of African Studies (IAS), University of Ghana, and Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS) are organizing an international conference on the theme: ‘Natural Resource Management and Conflict in Africa’, to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 26-28 June 2023.

The conference urges creative theorizing, empirical research and the articulation of multiple perspectives on natural resource governance, conflicts and security challenges as well as strategies to avert, manage, and solve natural resource conflicts and insecurities. Given the devastating effects of the mismanagement of natural resources on livelihoods, economies, environment, and the ability to deal with the effects of climate change, cutting edge research on natural resource management and conflict continues to be needed.


We invite abstracts and papers that are interdisciplinary and oriented towards providing unique perspectives on natural resource management conflicts in the following sub-thematic areas:

  1. Historical trajectories of current natural resource conflicts
  2. Key factors, determinants of and relationships underpinning natural resources conflicts
  3. Formal and informal/state and non-state governance institutions and arrangements for natural resource management and their contribution to resource conflicts
  4. Gender dimensions of resource conflicts and security
  5. The impact of natural resource conflicts on livelihoods, health and peace and security
  6. Resource management strategies for curbing the security challenges and conflicts ensuing from resource ownership
  7. Dynamics of local, national, regional, and global factors on natural resource conflicts
  8. Positive cases of natural resource conflict management
  9. The relationship between resource conflicts and climate change


Submissions Guidelines and Deadlines:

Abstracts (maximum of 400 words) must be submitted by Wednesday 31st August 2022. In addition to the institutional affiliation of author(s), abstracts must include details of question(s) to be addressed, methodology, and (possible) conclusions.

Abstracts should be sent to:

Authors of accepted abstracts will be informed by Friday 30th September 2022.

Deadline for full papers of accepted abstracts: Tuesday, 31st January 2023.

Selected papers from this conference will be published in a special/supplementary issue of yet to be identified peer-reviewed international journal.


Please send any questions for further information to: 


The conference organizers will fund the participation of a limited number of scholars based in African universities. Please note whether this is needed when you send your abstract. Funding covers return-ticket to Copenhagen, visa costs and accommodation.