Promoting Environmental Cooperation as a Peace-Building Tool: Security Brief and Webchat

Ken Conca Answers Questions From Australia, Geneva, and India

Jul 12, 2005

Environmental degradation triggers intense social conflict that is sometimes accompanied by violence. Pollution, natural resource depletion, and the rapid conversion of coastlines, wetlands, watersheds, and forests can have dramatically negative consequences for communities that depend on them for livelihoods and healthy environments. For example, the World Commission on Dams estimated that some 40-80 million people have been swept out of the way to make room for the world's large dams. Environmental protection initiatives can also trigger conflict and controversy, particularly when local communities are not consulted about the terms of their access to natural systems targeted for conservation.

If environmental degradation can trigger conflict, controversy, and violence, then environmental cooperation initiatives have great potential as peacemaking tools. The environment offers unique opportunities for countries that may differ politically, socially, or economically to join forces towards a common and positive goal: improving their environment. Initiatives such as peace parks, shared river basin management plans, regional seas agreements and joint environmental monitoring programs that combine politics and ecology are making headway in both the environmental movement and the peacemaking process.

To learn more, read the security brief by Ken Conca, Alexander Carius, and Geoffrey D. Dabelko.

Webchat: Building Peace Through Environmental Cooperation

Ken Conca, associate professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland and contributing author to State of the World 2005, answered questions about the exciting ways in which environmental cooperation is being used as a peacemaking tool.

To read the discussion, click here.


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Experts & Staff

  • Roger-Mark De Souza // Director of Population, Environmental Security and Resilience, Wilson Center
  • Sandeep Bathala // Senior Program Associate, Environmental Change and Security Program, Maternal Health Initiative
  • Katharine Diamond // Program Assistant, Environmental Change and Security Program
  • Benjamin Dills // Program Assistant, Environmental Change and Security Program
  • Lauren Herzer // Program Associate, Environmental Change and Security Program
  • John Thon Majok // Program Associate, Environmental Change and Security Program
  • Schuyler Null // Web Editor and Writer/Editor, Environmental Change and Security Program, Maternal Health Initiative
  • Meaghan Parker // Writer/Editor, Environmental Change and Security Program
  • Sean Peoples // Multimedia Producer and Program Associate, Environmental Change and Security Program
  • Geoffrey D. Dabelko // Senior Advisor, Environmental Change and Security Program
  • Ruth Greenspan Bell // Public Policy Scholar
  • William Krist // Senior Policy Scholar
  • Louise Lief // Public Policy Scholar
  • John W. Sewell // Senior Scholar