Environmental Peacebuilding

Environment, Conflict, and Peacebuilding: Sharing Lessons and Building Networks (Location: Barcelona)

From climate change to deforestation to water scarcity, environmental degradation can not only lead to conflict, but can also offer a pathway to peace, said experts at the World Conservation Congress on October 7, 2008. An international panel sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson Center and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) presented evidence that managing the environment and natural resources is key to improving security, resolving conflicts, and building a sustainable peace after war.

Troubled Waters: Anticipating, Preventing, and Resolving Conflict Around Fisheries

Conflicts erupt over fisheries because there are "more and more people going after fewer and fewer fish in areas where they weren't fishing before," said Richard Pollnac, a professor of anthropology and marine affairs at the University of Rhode Island, at "Troubled Waters: Anticipating, Preventing, and Resolving Conflict Around Fisheries," an event sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson Center's Environmental Change and Security Program on May 15, 2008.

Future Shock: How Environmental Change and Human Impact Are Changing the Global Map

The complex linkages between environmental degradation, health, and migration are "entangled vulnerabilities," said Pell Center Director Peter Liotta at "Future Shock: How Environmental Change and Human Impact Are Changing the Global Map," an event sponsored by the Pell Center in collaboration with the Woodrow Wilson Center's Environmental Change and Security Program (ECSP) and the Embassy of Liechtenstein on March 4, 2008.

The Power of Local Natural Resource Governance in Conflict Contexts

"Top-down government programs and top-down government policies and actions like protected areas" are not the only solutions to effective natural resource management (NRM), said Florida International University's David Bray, but "neither is community-based conservation…There are no panaceas.

Innovative Partnerships for Peace: The Role of Extractive Industries in Resource-Based Conflict Prevention and Mitigation

The extractive industry sector needs "a vision of resource extraction that actually leads to development. We've got quite good at stopping the worst things going wrong, but that's not enough," said the World Bank's Jill Shankleman at "Innovative Partnerships for Peace: The Role of Extractive Industries in Resource-Based Conflict Prevention and Mitigation," an event sponsored by the Environmental Change and Security Program (ECSP) on January 9, 2008.

Book Discussion: Peace Parks: Conservation and Conflict Resolution

"Obviously, peace parks alone are not going to create peace—the causes of conflict are much too complex. But they are one important tool in the toolkit for building those transboundary relations and peaceful relations between states," said Dorothy Zbicz, an international environmental policy consultant, at a meeting sponsored by the Environmental Change and Security Program (ECSP) on November 7, 2007, to discuss the new MIT Press book Peace Parks: Conservation and Conflict Resolution.

Examining Environmental Links to Peace and Conflict in Sudan: The UN Environment Programme's Sudan Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment

Efforts to end the ongoing violence in Darfur and build on the 2005 peace agreement between Northern and Southern Sudan must consider how environmental problems such as deforestation, drought, and desertification affect the balance between peace and conflict.

Creating Opportunities for Peace Through Regional Trade in the African Great Lakes Region

The countries of Africa's Great Lakes region are blessed with abundant natural resources. But instead of bringing prosperity to the region's people, trade in minerals, metals, and timber products has fueled devastating conflicts and contributed to the area's widespread poverty.

Beyond Disasters: Creating Opportunities for Peace

When natural disasters befall conflict-ridden regions, they can reignite pre-existing disputes among the warring parties, as well as trigger new clashes over the distribution of relief and reconstruction resources. However, notes Michael Renner, a senior researcher at Worldwatch Institute, "When disasters occur in conflict zones, they sometimes do have an unexpected silver lining.

Environment, Conflict, and Cooperation

From Congo to Cambodia, environmental resources—water, climate, land, forests, and minerals—have played a part in some of world's worst conflicts. Better management of these resources could pave a path for peace in war-torn societies, or, conversely, mismanagement could trigger a relapse back into conflict. The Wilson Center's Environmental Change and Security Program (ECSP), along with the German Embassy and the Heinrich Böll Foundation, hosted a discussion on April 3, 2007, of the links among environment, conflict, and cooperation (ECC).

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