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​The Global-Local Nexus of Armed Conflicts: How External Economic Interventions Can Hurt Civilians Without Ending the War

Monday October 16, 2017, at 13:30
Room Fred Halliday 24.133 (First floor). Mercè Rodoreda building 24
Research seminar

This seminar will explain the work that has so far been done in the research project GLONEXACO, which analyzes measures to curtail the trade of natural resources in resource-fueled armed conflicts. Most policies in this field hope to limit the role of these so-called conflict resources by imposing mandatory due diligence regimes or import sanctions. The project studies both the global context in which these measures are taken, and how they can influence the micro-dynamics of armed conflicts.

By looking at the case of the eastern Congo, the talk will explain how external economic interventions can actually increase the probability of violent events near mines. Using the concept of ‘political marketplaces’ it argues that these measures may “change the players, but not the game”. To test this argument empirically, the project has looked at the 2010 US Dodd-Frank Act’s Conflict Minerals provisions and violent events around 1,629 mines in the eastern Congo. The analysis of this data shows that this policy has both increased the probability of military confrontations and acts of violence against civilians around these mining sites. Based on these findings, GLONEXACO suggests that national and international policies that target ‘conflict resources’ have to be implemented with caution and only as part of a broader approach toward an armed conflict.

Martijn Vlaskamp is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global Fellow at the IBEI and the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University. In his work, he studies EU Foreign Policy as well as the economies of armed conflicts with a special emphasis on the role of natural resources.

His fellowship from the European Commission finances the project GLONEXACO (The Global-Local Nexus of Armed Conflicts: The interlinkages between natural resource-fueled armed conflicts and the EU's raw materials supply). Martijn is a member of the research group Observatory of European Foreign Policy in Barcelona and affiliated to the Program on Order, Conflict and Violence at Yale.

Martijn received his PhD in International Relations and European Integration from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in 2014. In his dissertation, he studied the policies of the EU to curtail the trade in natural resources that fund armed conflicts. As part of his research he was a visiting fellow at the University of Cambridge (2012) and the Belgian Royal Institute for International Relations EGMONT (2013).

Martijn's research has been has been published in peer-reviewed journals and been presented on major academic conferences. He has been funded by the European Commission, the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competiveness, and the Fritz Thyssen Foundation.