As a late result of my project GLONEXACO my brief policy paper “First, do no harm: five questions the EU needs to keep in mind for a sensitive approach to conflict resources” was published in the series CIDOB Notes Internacionals. This online publication addresses current world events with expert analyses that are oriented towards policy. My paper addresses the issue of measures against so-called conflict resources.
The European Union acknowledges that when sanctions against resource-fuelled armed confrontations are not conflict sensitive, they can potentially exacerbate violence and instability on the ground. In many conflicts, sanctions are difficult to enforce due to limited state presence and rampant corruption in the affected regions. The question to ask is, therefore, how can the trade in conflict resources be effectively stop, and what is the expected impact (and the real one) of such a restrictive measure. In the policy paper, I discuss five criteria the EU should keep in mind when taking policy decisions against conflict resources: (I) the relevance of those resources for the conflict dynamics; (II) how effective and (III) efficient this policy can be; (IV) what (unexpected) impacts it can have on the ground; and, finally (V) how sustainable it is. Implementing restrictive measures in isolation is not a silver bullet to end resource fuelled conflicts and neither effective nor efficient.