Institute for Environmental Security

Advancing Global Environmental Security through
Science · Diplomacy · Law · Finance · Education

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What is the Pathfinder Programme?

The Pathfinder Programme is a multi-disciplinary programme built on four distinct but complementary pillars with the aim of restricting the import of illegally extracted resources from zones of conflicts. The key element of this programme is to promote the strengthening of legal mechanisms that importing and transit states could use to block illicitly obtained natural resources from entering their national markets and to dry up funds that are used to finance conflict in exporting countries.

The increasing prevalence of armed conflicts involving natural resources is now widely known throughout the world. Natural resources in developing countries are essential for future sustainable development and poverty alleviation but they can be misused to create the dynamics for localised armed conflict and black and grey international commercial transactions.

This is especially the case in countries of weak governance where governments lack adequate resources to effectively control domestic markets. Illicitly obtained natural resources are often exported through a series of illegal payments between corrupt businessmen, rebels, terrorists and even involving state and military officials.

Ultimately, the illegal trade in natural resources deprives developing countries, their citizens and their local communities of their right to development. It also does damage to international security, is harmful to the conservation of ecosystems, and undermines the moral values of all market participants.

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