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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Sierra Leone's Seas: A Project to Assess the Current Status and Potential Role of Marine Resources in the Development and Peacebuilding of Sierra Leone


The relationship between natural resources and conflict is a complex issue, and has generated a significant volume of literature from a number of academic disciplines. There is a general consensus that the links between natural resources and conflict are significant, and current research suggests that since 1945, at least 40% of all intrastate conflicts contain a resource element. Furthermore, a link to natural resources and environment has been found to double the likelihood for conflict relapse within the first five years of a peace agreement. The Sierra Leone’s Seas project was prepared for the UN Environment Program- Sierra Leone, and fulfilled a requirement for a Masters of Advanced Studies through the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation. The project assesses the role of marine resources in the peacebuilding and development of post-conflict Sierra Leone. The assessment is threefold, and the objectives are: 1. To conduct an assessment of recent and current work within the marine resource sector, in order identify the major priorities, challenges, opportunities, and active organizations 2. To identify gaps and areas of overlap, in order to assist stakeholders in pursuing strategic projects and increasing collaboration 3. To assist the UNEP office in Sierra Leone in identifying potential projects within the marine sector.

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