This exhibition highlights various impacts of environmental degradation and the growing scarcity of natural resources: as a threat to human security and economic and political stability, as a cause of tensions and conflicts between social and political groups, and as a cause of violent conflicts. This exhibition also highlights ways and means for environmental cooperation to serve as an instrument of conflict prevention and peacebuilding.
Valuable natural resources – such as gold, diamonds, high-grade timber and oil and high-grade timber – are often used to finance wars, prolonging them and exacerbating their destructive impact. Disputes over the control of such natural resources can also be a source of violent conflict.
Climate change, finite levels of fossil energy sources and rising energy demand in the coming decades require that alternative sources of energy are found and that existing resources are used sparingly. Intelligent energy systems, decentralised supply networks and a greater use of renewables can contribute substantially to peace and stability.
Environmental problems know no political boundaries or social divisions. Solving these problems therefore requires collective efforts in the area of environmental protection. Away from the polarizations of economic and political relations, environmental cooperation can contribute to building trust, to initiating dialogue and to fostering the creation of a regional identity based on the shared use of natural resources. Peacebuilding through environmental cooperation can create a positive political framework for cooperation and helps to reduce the likelihood of open conflict between countries and social groups.
Water is an indispensable resource – both for humans and the environment. For thousands of years, people have been rivals for scarce water resources. Only around one percent of the Earth’s water supply is fresh water readily available for human use. In addition, that one percent is distributed very unevenly in terms of geography and the seasons.