49th Otago
Foreign Policy
School 2014

Dr Marcelle Dawson
Department of Sociology, Gender and Social Work

Dr Chris Rosin
Centre for Sustainability – CSAFE

Global resource scarcity is often regarded as a catalyst for conflict; yet, paradoxically, such scarcity also underlies some of the most important international collaborations. An abundance of natural resources is often seen as a blessing and, certainly, many nations have benefitted economically and otherwise from their unencumbered access to the kinds of resources that others want and need. However, in a world where need has turned to desperation, having the very thing that others want puts nations in a position where they are pitted against one another. The outcome of this contest may take the form of resource wars and, indeed, the world has witnessed violent and often devastating conflicts over resources like oil and water. Nonetheless, some scholars have contested the idea that resource scarcity inevitably leads to conflict. They have offered convincing evidence to suggest that scarcity, more often than not, triggers collaboration among nations.

The contested terrain of resource politics takes centre stage at the 49th annual Otago Foreign Policy School. Leading scholars, professionals and policy-makers will debate the issue of resource diplomacy. The first day of the conference will address current resource concerns that have a direct bearing on foreign policy in NZ, while the second day gives prominence to the global politics of water. The School’s deliberations aim to contribute to the post-2015 development agenda and to assess New Zealand’s role with regard to foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific region.

Click here to download the flyer for the 2014 School (PDF)

Global resource scarcity: catalyst for conflict or collaboration?


The organisers gratefully acknowledge the assistance of the following organisations and agencies:

Australian High Commission
British High Commission
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade United States Embassy
University of Otago
Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, NZ