From the Executive Summary: Policy analysis has produced important insights on the impact that the predatory and illicit exploitation of natural resources and the pervasive criminalization of economic life can have on conflict dynamics. The operational challenges of transforming the war economies sustaining those conflicts, however, is still an underdeveloped area of policy research and practice. The International Peace Academy-sponsored conference at Wilton Park sought to discern as to whether and how the legacies of war economies in conflicts such as those in Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) create distinctive challenges for conflict resolution, and to identify strategic priorities for policymakers engaged in peacemaking and peacebuilding.
Challenges for Peacemaking and Peace Implementation: Preliminary analysis suggests that the increasingly self-financing nature of many contemporary conflicts creates a more difficult environment for conflict resolution, peacemaking, and peace implementation. War economies are sustained by regional and global linkages with both licit and illicit actors, each with vested interests in the continuation of conflict and instability. Both rebel or government combatants who benefited from predation during war may act as spoilers, using force to undermine peace processes. The economic opportunities and rewards available through predation may also influence combatants’ proclivity to voluntarily disarm and return to a civilian life.