Unequal distribution of raw materials and the consequences of using non-renewable resources have repeatedly been the cause of violent confrontations of varying intensity. Depending on both the overriding arrangement of the parties involved and on the form taken by political, economic and social conditions, various conflict risks can arise. In many ways, these risks are globally linked, not least as they essentially reflect resource flows between consumer, transit and producer countries. Conflicts between producer countries can therefore jeopardise the security of raw material supplies in consumer countries. Whether for energy-related raw materials like crude oil, coil, and natural gas or non-energy related raw materials like coltan or copper, it is often claimed that Germany must adapt to increasing competition as regards the scarce but strategic raw materials which are said to point to the possibility of raw materials conflicts.
This first interim report for the project “Avoiding Raw Materials Conflicts Sustainably: (Inter)national Conflict Risks in the Access to and Use of Raw Materials” presents essential theoretic and conceptual thoughts on conflict risks in the raw materials sector, on the basis of which further interim reports present case studies, scenarios developments alongside a discussion of possible crisis and conflict-prevention approaches.