Research page

Natural Resource Governance in Hybrid Political Orders: The Cases of North-Kivu and Katanga

Principal Collaborators

  • Gilles Carbonnier

  • Lara Atanasijevic



Supported by a research grant from the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (Division for Security Policy), this project investigated the modalities of natural resource governance in so-called “hybrid political orders,” where the state is not necessarily the only wielder of security, welfare, and representation while overlapping claims to legitimacy and the ownership/management of economic resources exist.

It is widely recognised that proper natural resource management has a significant potential to contribute to social and economic development in countries where governance institutions remain weak or unconsolidated. Reflecting such a view, a number of global and local initiatives have been set up aiming at promoting good governance in the extractive sectors in these challenging settings. However, most of these mechanisms remain highly state-centric by presuming a benevolent Weberian state as the key actor, largely neglecting the complexity surrounding de facto resource governance in areas marked by hybrid political orders.

In this vein, it is also important to recall that, according to an estimate of the United Nations, about 40% of intrastate conflicts are linked to or directly fueled by natural resources. As such, while the potential of natural resource governance and the significant role they can play in resolving and preventing conflicts are widely recognized, little attention has been paid to the dynamics of natural resource governance in hybrid political contexts, and particularly, how de fact governance of such resources are taking place in settings characterised by competing claims to legitimacy to govern.

This project addressed this research gap by distilling new insights on de facto natural resource governance in North-Kivu and Katanga, two provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Specifically, the project aimed to:

  • Gain a more comprehensive and refined understanding of de facto natural resource management in the context of hybrid political orders;

  • Assess current initiatives and guidelines promoting transparency and good governance in the extractive sector;

  • Analyse and compare developments and dynamics in the extractive sector since early 2013; and

  • Investigate the potential impact of such initiatives on broader peacebuilding and state-building processes.

Guided by these objectives, the research project primarily drew on extensive qualitative fieldwork of artisanal mining in the DRC, carried out in 2013 and 2015 by Lara Atanasijevic under the guidance of Prof. Gilles Carbonnier.



The final outcomes of the project have been published in 2016 as a CCDP Working Paper, entitled: “Natural Resource Governance in Hybrid Political Orders: The Cases of North Kivu and Katanga.”

The preliminary findings of the project were also published in a two-part blog article posted by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute:

G. Carbonnier and L. Atanasijevic (2014). "The Governance of Natural Resources in Hybrid Political Orders Part 1", SIPRI/USIP/EPS Blog, Part 1 (22 January 2014) and Part 2 (5 February 2014).