The Tip of the Iceberg – Natural Resource Conflicts in Afghanistan
A Political Salon with Renard Sexton
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
6:30 to 8pm
As international forces prepare to withdraw in 2014 and Western aid declines, Afghanistan’s government is looking to the country’s rich natural resources to generate new revenue. Though extractive industries hold promise for supporting the country’s economy, they also may worsen already fraught ethnic, political, local, and regional dynamics. Conflicts over land and water rights already fuel more than half of local conflicts in the country, making it crucial that Afghanistan manage wisely the development of new resources. Regional players complicate the picture further, as in the case of the Salma Dam, where Iranian-armed and funded Taliban commanders are blocking the Indian government’s construction of a major hydroelectric dam that will reduce the flow of the Harirod River into Iran. In this Political Salon, Renard Sexton examines Afghanistan’s prospects for short and long term stability at the intersection of resource governance, economic development, and security.
About the Speakers
Renard Sexton is an expert on conflict, natural resources and international affairs with regional expertise on South Asia, Latin America and West and Central Africa. He has spent significant time in Ecuador and Afghanistan, along with shorter stints in Sierra Leone, India and Haiti. He is currently a PhD student in the Department of Politics at New York University, a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a Visiting Researcher at Afghanistan Watch in Kabul. His previous posts include Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano in Quito, Ecuador and the U.N. Environment Programme’s Post-Conflict and Disaster Management Branch. Sexton has also been a contributor to The New York Times blog FiveThirtyEight, the Guardian, the Independent, Foreign Policy, and URD's Humanitaires en mouvement.
Sebastian Gräfe is the Program Director for Foreign & Security Policy and Transatlantic Issues at the Heinrich Boll Stiftung’s North American office in Washington, DC. Sebastian worked previously as Senior Advisor at the European Parliament in Brussels, where he specialized in European integration of the Western Balkans, EU structural funds, and the EU internal market. He has worked extensively on Iran and spent time researching in Tehran. Born in Eastern Germany, he holds a Masters of Arts in political science, economics and ethnology from the Leipzig University.
About the Sponsors
The World Policy Institute is a non-partisan center for global thought leadership focused on emerging challenges, thinkers, and solutions. World Policy fellows, events, policy development and media outreach, alongside our flagship World Policy Journal, provide a forum for solution-directed policy analysis and debate in support of a sustainable market economy, effective governance, and broadened security strategies.
The Political Salon – organized by Steve Sokol since 2003 to promote dialogue among the next generation of leaders in business, policy, and the media – regularly convenes a diverse group of young professionals to discuss a range of foreign policy issues and global affairs. Attendees are diverse in terms of nationality, profession, and political persuasion.
With special thanks to the Heinrich Böll Foundation for supporting the Political Salon.
[Image courtesy of Afghanistan Watch]