Environmental Peacebuilding | Wilson Center

Environmental Peacebuilding

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).

Reception: Environment, Conflict, and Cooperation Exhibition

Environmental issues—water, climate, land, forests, and minerals—have played a part in some of world's worst conflicts. But these resources can also help build peace. These issues are the focus of a multimedia exhibit, "Environment, Conflict, and Cooperation," on display through April 20, 2007, in the Wilson Center Memorial Hallway.

Created by Berlin's Adelphi Research at the initiative of the German Federal Foreign Ministry, the exhibit aims to addresses three questions:

Environmental Challenges in War-Torn Societies: Sustainability and Human Security in Post-Conflict Reconstruction

War-torn societies are highly vulnerable. Often in these societies, short-term needs take priority over long-term sustainability. Without basic infrastructure and services, many developing countries struggle with the transition from violent conflict to lasting peace. The toll of conflict on societies is both economic and human.

Minerals, Forests, and Conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The tremendous forest and mineral wealth of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is critical to the country and its people's political, economic, and social future. John Katunga, a DRC national and experienced conflict mediator, explored the interconnections between natural resource wealth and stability at an event co-sponsored by the Wilson Center's Environmental Change and Security Program and Africa Program on October 4, 2006.

Conflict Timber, Sustainable Management, and the Rule of Law: Forest Sector Reform in Liberia

Over the past two decades, Liberia's forests have helped subsidize two civil wars and the dictatorial regime of Charles Taylor. Today, the forests may offer the country's best chance at revitalization. After the UN Security Council imposed sanctions on Liberian timber in 2003, the Liberian government had a rare opportunity to reform forestry practices, and pave the way for restoring the rule of law. Part of the U.S.

Parks for Peace or Peace for Parks? Issues in Practice and Policy

Nelson Mandela said, "I know of no political movement, no philosophy, no ideology, which does not agree with the peace parks concept as we see it going into fruition today. It is a concept that can be embraced by all." Parks for peace—transboundary conservation areas dedicated to the promotion of peace and cooperation—hold great promise and appeal, but have they lived up to this promise? Some say yes, others respectfully disagree with the former South African President's assertion.

From Environmental Security to Environmental Peacemaking

The authors in Worldwatch Institute's Worldwatch Magazine and State of the World 2005: Redefining Global Security suggest that environmental security is developing in new and dynamic directions.