Environmental Peacebuilding | Wilson Center

Environmental Peacebuilding

Conflict and Cooperation: Making the Case for Environmental Pathways to Peacebuilding in the Great Lakes Region

Opportunities for environmental peacemaking in the Great Lakes Region have not yet been isolated, even though there are many examples of cooperation at the national, regional, subregional, and local levels. With its prevalence of conflict and transboundary ecosystems, the Great Lakes Region could be a potential model for a future worldwide initiative in environmental peacemaking.

Environmental Peacemaking: Conditions for Success

This article seeks to systematize the study of environmental cooperation and to define its scope more clearly, by identifying the conditions under which environmental cooperation best facilitates conflict transformation and peacebuilding, and which forms of negotiation or stakeholder participation have been particularly successful. I reviewed and evaluated past experiences experiences to pinpoint the lessons learned, as well as shortcomings, and I highlight areas for action and recommendations for development agencies.

ECSP Report 12: Reviews of New Publications

Experts review new publications:

Water Can Be a Pathway to Peace, Not War (No. 1)

Instances of cooperation between riparian nations outnumbered conflicts by more than two to one between 1945 and 1999. Why? Because water is so important, nations cannot afford to fight over it. Instead, water fuels greater interdependence. By coming together to jointly manage their shared water resources, countries can build trust and prevent conflict. Water can be a negotiating tool, too: it can offer a communication lifeline connecting countries in the midst of crisis.

L'eau peut etre un chemin vers la paix, et non vers la guerre (No. 1)

Les cas de coopération entre les pays riverains sont plus nombreux que les conflits : plus de deux contre un entre 1945 et 1999. Pourquoi ? Parce que l’eau est si importante que les pays ne peuvent pas se permettre de se battre pour elle. Au lieu de cela, l’eau développe une plus grande interdépendance. En s’alliant pour gérer conjointement leurs ressources partagées en eau, les pays peuvent construire une relation de confiance et éviter les conflits.

The New Face of Water Conflict (No. 3)

Amid the talk of looming “water wars,” a less dramatic—but more immediate—link between water and violence is often ignored: the violence engendered by poor governance of water resources. Policies to expand water supplies, develop hydroelectric power, alter freshwater ecosystems, or change the terms of access to water can have devastating impacts on the livelihoods, cultures, and human rights of local communities.

A nova face do conflito da agua (No. 3)

Entre todas as conversas de “guerras de água” iminentes, uma ligação menos dramática—mas mais imediata—entre a água e a violência é frequentemente ignorada: a violência desencadeada pela fraca governança dos recursos hídricos. As políticas para expandir os abastecimentos de água, desenvolver energia hidroeléctrica, alterar os ecossistemas de água doce ou mudar os termos de acesso à água podem ter impactos devastadores nas vidas, culturas e direitos humanos das comunidades locais.

Water, Conflict, and Cooperation: Lessons From the Nile River Basin (No. 4)

In 1979, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat said: “The only matter that could take Egypt to war again is water.” In 1988 then-Egyptian Foreign Minister Boutros Boutros-Ghali, who later became the United Nations’ Secretary-General, predicted that the next war in the Middle East would be fought over the waters of the Nile, not politics. Rather than accept these frightening predictions, we must examine them within the context of the Nile River basin and the relationships forged among the states that share its waters.

Eau, conflits et cooperation: Lecons tirees de l'experience du bassin fluvial du Nil (No. 4)

En 1979, le président égyptien Anouar el-Sadate déclarait : « Le seul mobile qui pourrait conduire l’Égypte à entrer de nouveau en guerre est l’eau ». En 1988, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, alors ministre égyptien des affaires étrangères et devenu plus tard Secrétaire général des Nations Unies, prédisait que la prochaine guerre au Moyen-Orient serait à propos des eaux du Nil et non à propos de politiques. Au lieu d’accepter ces prédictions alarmantes, nous devons les examiner dans le contexte du bassin fluvial du Nil et des relations établies entre les états qui partagent ces eaux.

ECSP Report 11: Table of Contents and Foreword

Environmental pathways to peace can emerge at the unlikeliest of times—even during conflict, when managing shared environmental resources can be an important lifeline connecting combatants cut off from other avenues for dialogue, writes Environmental Change and Security Program Director Geoff Dabelko.