By Kim Pozniak,
It’s been called the “Resource Curse,” the fact that many countries rich in natural resources also have high and growing levels of poverty, extreme income inequalities, greater risk of conflict, and high levels of corruption.
Too often, government revenues from resource extraction—oil, gas, mining and logging—are not used to support basic social services such as health, nutrition and education. They certainly don’t find their way into investments that benefit the poor as often as they should. Worse yet, profits from extractives too often fuel terrible violence in some countries. At the same time, people living near extractive operations often suffer from degradation of the environment and their own health, conflict, unjust labor practices, displacement from their land and interrupted livelihoods.
To address such issues, CRS and the U.K.-based Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) sponsored an extractive industries conference in the southern African country of Zambia this month. More than 130 people representing faith-based, legal and human rights and environmental organizations from 15 countries came together in Lusaka for the conference entitled “Connecting Resources, Connecting People.”