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[ONLINE EVENT] Politics, power and the economy of conflict

Tuesday, 12 May, 2020 / 16:45 – 17:45

Hosted by: the 2020 Stockholm Forum on Peace and Development

In countries like Afghanistan, Mali, DRC and South Sudan, violent conflict and political fragmentation provides enormous opportunities for well-connected individuals, both state and non-state, to access resources. Exploitation of oil, gold, timber, charcoal, drugs, and human trafficking can incentivise violence, change social relations, deepen inequality, and create parallel governance structures that are not accountable to people. Yet it has proven remarkably difficult to ensure that we first of all actually understand in detail how economics drives conflict and then use that knowledge to strengthen those actors – particularly in civil society – striving for accountable governance. Determining what levers are available to international actors to incentivise conflict actors’ behaviour is also essential.

As part the European Institute of Peace’s ‘Politics, power and the economy of conflict’  session, we will discuss how international actors can play a positive role in addressing these conflict economies. To illustrate the challenges, we will look at two country cases: Sudan and Venezuela. Both are countries in which the political and military struggle for the control of resources overshadows the prospects for a political transition. This combined with existing deep levels of inequality between regions, gender, and generations, which are at risk of deepening further as a result of the outbreak of Covid-19. The panel will offer reflections on the central role these struggles over resources play at this pivotal time in their transitions, while providing suggestions for how the international community can respond with financial and political support in a way that rather than exacerbating competition, actually acts as a lifeline that can salvage the prospects for change and bring an end to conflict. 


  • Stefano Manservisi, Senior Advisor, European Institute of Peace and Distinguished Fellow at the Center for Global Development and Overseas Development Institute, former Director-General, DG DEVCO, European Commission;
  • Hilde F Johnson, Senior Advisor, European Institute of Peace, former Norwegian Minister for International Development and SRSG at the UN Mission in South Sudan;
  • Sergio Jaramillo, Senior Advisor, European Institute of Peace, former Colombian High Commissioner for Peace;
  • Moderator: Michael Keating, Executive Director, European Institute of Peace, former SRSG at the UN Mission in Somalia.

The session forms part of the the 2020 virtual Stockholm Forum on Peace a Development event ‘Sustaining Peace in the Time of Covid-19’ that runs between 11-22 May.  If you want to request access to our semi-open sesssion, please contact our Engagement and Dialogue Assistant Esther Bijl.