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close this bookConflict over Natural Resources in South-East Asia and the Pacific (UNU, 1990, 256 pages)
close this folder2. Conflict over land-based natural resources in the ASEAN countries
View the document(introductory text...)
View the document2.1 The ASEAN region: great wealth and great strife
View the document2.2 The historical roots of conflict
View the document2.3 The plunder of forest resources
View the document2.4 The transformation of a natural resource: from agriculture to agribusiness
View the document2.5 Conflicts over mineral resources
View the document2.6 Development and tribal peoples: resistance to displacement
View the document2.7 Natural resource abuses: a time for change
View the documentReferences

2.1 The ASEAN region: great wealth and great strife

The countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) produce a major portion of some of the world's most essential natural resources. From the Philippines, Brunei, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore come 82 per cent of the world's production of natural rubber, 70 per cent of copra and coconut products, 70 per cent of tin, 56 per cent of palm-oil, and 50 per cent of hardwood. In addition, the region's seas and rivers account for a significant share of the world's supply of fish and other marine products. Thailand and the Philippines, for example, are major tuna exporters to the US market. Thailand is also one of the world's top rice exporters, and the Philippines boasts the largest pineapple plantation in the world.

Because of the abundance of vital resources in the countries of the ASEAN group, the area has been the scene of various local, national, and international conflicts centring on the use, control, and disposition of natural resources. As control over resources becomes a paramount issue in the drive for national and human survival, disagreements and differences in approaches, priorities, and philosophies emerge. Governments often clash over jurisdiction of lands containing valuable raw materials such as oil and minerals. On the other hand, a government often faces opposition from its own citizens regarding the issue of human rights violations committed by the state as it pursues certain national strategies of development. These conflicts are often portrayed in official pronouncements as being between modernity and tradition, but more often than not the conflict simply reflects the intransigence of institutionalized power and its propensity to impose bureaucratic and technocratic planning models.