Chatham House's International Affairs Journal has just released a special issue focused on environmental peacebuilding. adelphi Managing Director Alexander Carius, alongside Tobias Ide, Carl Bruch, Ken Conca, Geoffrey Dabelko, Richard Matthew and Erika Weinthal, introduces the special issue giving particular emphasis on environmental opportunities for building and sustaining peace.
Environmental peacebuilding is a rapidly growing field of research and practice at the intersection of environment, conflict, peace and security. Focusing on these linkages is crucial in a time when the environment is a core issue of international politics and the number of armed conflicts remains high. This article introduces a special issue with a particular emphasis on environmental opportunities for building and sustaining peace.
We first detail the definitions, theoretical assumptions and intellectual background of environmental peacebuilding. The article then provides context for the special issue by briefly reviewing core findings and debates of the first two generations of environmental peacebuilding research. Finally, we identify knowledge gaps that should be addressed in the next generation of research, and to which the articles in this special issue contribute: bottom-up approaches, gender, conflict-sensitive programming, use of big data and frontier technology, and monitoring and evaluation.
Environmental peacebuilding is a good idea. As a practice, it aims to address simultaneously environmental problems and challenges related to violent conflict. Examples include the promotion of environmental cooperation between rival states, conflict-sensitive adaptation to climate change, and restoring access to land and water in post-conflict societies. However, environmental peacebuilding can negatively affect development, chip away at environmental protection, and erode peace. In new study, Tobias Ide highlights six different aspects of the dark side of environmental peacebuilding.
Water is a critical resource everywhere, but in the Middle East, it is a defining issue. Changing demographics, poor management and climate change are pummelling the region’s already alarming water security situation. EcoPeace Middle East’s brand new report ‘A Green Blue Deal for the Middle East’ taps into water as a make-or-break issue for regional cooperation, economic development, and even for the future of peace negotiations.