Transboundary water cooperation as a tool for conflict prevention and broader benefit-sharing. Global Development Studies, No. 4. Stockholm: Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
Water Scarcity Challenges in the Middle East and North Africa. Stockholm: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)/Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI).
Vast deposits of gold, silver and copper in the Andes Mountains have led to the first outbreaks of violence. In mid November, clashes occurred not among rival gold diggers, but rather between environmentalists and the police in the Chilean capital, Santiago. The conflict arose over gold mining in Pascua-Lama, a region located high in the Andes between Chile and Argentina. The Canadian mining company Barrick Gold Corporation plans to displace three glaciers to facilitate mineral mining. Such a move would have major impacts on the water supply and habitat of several indigenous tribes. Violent clashes took place when protesters attempted to submit a petition containing 18,000 signatures against the company's plans.
The conflict over exploitation rights, which pose a threat to the existence of the indigenous Huascoaltinos community, has been brewing for a long time. In 2001, the company was asked by the Chilean environment ministry to draw up a plan for the glaciers. The Environmental Impact Assessment submitted previously by Barrick had sidestepped this issue. The company has now, as a first step, committed USD 60 million per year for ensuring water quality. A dam is to be constructed to guarantee regular water supply. The Latin American Observatory of Environmental Conflicts (OCLA), an independent watchdog organization, views this conflict as symptomatic of the large number of environmental conflicts in Chile resulting from poor environmental legislation. There are neither any guidelines to ensure adequate participation of civil society in resolving conflicts, nor any mechanisms to minimize the ecological and social impacts of the activities of large corporations. These environmental policy shortcomings may result in gold actually moving mountains (DT).
For more information on this conflict, please see:
Latin American Observatory of Environmental Conflicts (OCLA) (in Spanish) www.ocla.cl
Barrick Gold Corporation in Chile (in Spanish) www.barrick.cl
Inter Press Service Agency (IPS) http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=30994
Even without the hurricanes of the last months, the vulnerability of national energy supply would have been a priority on foreign and security policy agendas. Even before the devastation wrought by Katrina and Rita, top level representatives of political establishments recognized the need for a strategic reorientation of energy policy. This was emphasized by the "Oil Shockwave" exercise carried out by former top US officials in energy and security policy. Simulating a crisis cabinet, they examined options available to US policy in a scenario in which oil supply on world markets drops in response to political crises, terrorist strikes, and adverse weather conditions. As the scenario played out, there were insufficient options available to avert massive economic losses. The virtual cabinet urgently recommended developing a long term strategy to regain the capability to respond to such situations.
The contours of such a strategy are the central theme of a recent book edited by Jan H. Kalicki and David L. Goldwyn. A comprehensive analysis of key actors, regions, and strategic demands reveals that it has so far not been possible to develop a long term, integrated energy strategy. This is likely to lead to foreign policy, economic and environmental contradictions, which are likely to escalate with time. A framework to minimize such risks is outlined, which is directed primarily towards the international level. However, national energy policy is also required to find ways to exploit the existing potential for energy conservation. At the foreign policy level, more multilateral cooperation is required to meet the challenge of the rising global energy demand through a collective security system. An international institution, which adequately reflects the global nature of risks by involving countries like China and India, could play a key role in this kind of energy security architecture (DT).
For more information on the "Oil shockwave" scenario please see http://www.secureenergy.org/shockwave_overview.php
For more information on "Energy and Security: Toward a New Foreign Policy Strategy" by Jan H. Kalicki and David L. Goldwyn please see http://www.press.jhu.edu/books/title_pages/8957.html