Environmental Peacebuilding Update

Issue 82: 28 Feb 2017


Seeking Applicants: Ph.D Fellowship in Climate, Conflict and Food Security
22 February 2017 | Norwegian University of Life Sciences - NMBU
The Faculty of Landscape and Society invites applications for a doctoral fellowship in International Environment and Development Studies at the Department of International Environment and Development Studies (Noragric). The selected candidate is expected to start the doctoral studies in August/September 2017. Read More


For more upcoming events on environmental peacebuilding, please visit our online calendar of events.

Healing the Enlightenment Rift: Rationality, Spirituality, and Shared Waters

2 March 2017 | University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA

Water management is, by definition, conflict management: whether in the Western US or internationally, competing stakeholder interests include domestic users, agriculturalists, hydropower generators, recreators, and environmentalists – any two of which are regularly at odds, and the complexity of finding mutually acceptable solutions increases exponentially as more stakeholders are involved. Read More

From West Africa to the Middle East, Water and the Rise of Insurgencies in the "Arc of Instability"

3 March 2017 | Wilson Center, Washington, DC

Water scarcity and conflict over freshwater resources have contributed to an “arc of instability” stretching from West Africa through the Maghreb and across the Mediterranean to the Middle East. Rural livelihoods are collapsing, displacing many, and violent extremist organizations like Boko Haram, Al Qaeda, and ISIS are gaining footholds in... Read More

The Impact of Armed Conflict on the Environment and Natural Resources: A Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 Perspective

17 March 2017 | University of West of England Environmental Law Unit, Bristol, United Kingdom

With the objective of SDG16 in mind, the aim of the proposed seminar is to explore the implementation of SDG16 and the challenges to such implementation, in particular exploring key issues such as human rights, and sustainable investment, from the perspective of natural resource management or environmental protection relevant to... Read More


In the last two weeks, 36 new publications were added to our online library of materials on environmental peacebuilding. Here is a sampling of the new additions:

Afghanistan WASH Cluster Detail Operational Plan - HRP 2017
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 2017
According to UNICEF-WHO joint monitoring report 2015, 68 percent of Afghans don’t have access to improved sanitation and nearly 15 million, 45 percent use unimproved water sources. The provinces with higher intensity of conflicts are also the ones with poor WASH indicators (ALCS 2014). Read More

Using a Novel Climate-Water Conflict Vulnerability Index to Capture Double Exposures in Lake Chad
Uche T. Okpara, Lindsay C. Stringer, and Andrew J. Dougill (Regional Environmental Change, 2017)
Climate variability is amongst an array of threats facing agricultural livelihoods, with its effects unevenly distributed. With resource conflict being increasingly recognised as one significant outcome of climate variability and change, understanding the underlying drivers that shape differential vulnerabilities in areas that are double-exposed to climate and conflict has great significance. Read More

The Nature of Enabling Conditions of Transboundary Water Management: Learning from the Negotiation of the Indus and Jordan Basin Treaties
Enamul Choudhury (Chapter in "Water Diplomacy in Action: Contingent Approaches to Managing Complex Water Problems", 2017)
Today we face an incredibly complex array of interconnected water issues that cross multiple boundaries: Is water a property or a human right? How do we prioritize between economic utility and environmental sustainability? Do fish have more rights to water than irrigated grain? Can we reconcile competing cultural and religious... Read More

Mediation in the Israeli-Palestinian Water Conflict: A Practicioner's View
Patrick Huntjens (Chapter in "Water Diplomacy in Action: Contingent Approaches to Managing Complex Water Problems", 2017)
Today we face an incredibly complex array of interconnected water issues that cross multiple boundaries: Is water a property or a human right? How do we prioritize between economic utility and environmental sustainability? Do fish have more rights to water than irrigated grain? Can we reconcile competing cultural and religious... Read More

Cows and Guns: Cattle-Related Conflict and Armed Violence in Fizi and Itombwe, Eastern DR Congo
Judith Verweijen and Justine Brabant (Journal of Modern African Studies, 2017)
This paper analyses the role of cattle in the entwined dynamics of conflict and violence in the Fizi and Itombwe region of South Kivu province, in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. On the one hand, agropastoral conflict intensifies armed mobilisation, allowing armed groups to draw upon particular conflict... Read More

La Paz y la Protección Ambiental en Colombia: Propuestas para un Desarrollo Rural Sostenible
(Peace and Environmental Protection in Colombia: Proposals for Rural Sustainable Development)
Lorenzo Morales (El Diálogo Interamericano, 2017)
En Colombia existe una estrecha relación entre el conflicto armado y el medio ambiente—la guerra ha sido determinante en las formas de entender, ocupar y usar el territorio. Con un Estado débil en zonas de conflicto, la ocupación se hizo con frecuencia de manera espontánea y sin planeación. Read More

Self-Protection Mechanisms: Colombian Rural Defenders and Communities
ABColombia CAFOD, Christian Aid, Oxfam GB, SCIAF, and Trócaire, 2017
The situation of Colombian human rights defenders has for many years been one of the worst in the world.1 Since the official start of the Havana Peace Talks (October 2012) between the Colombian Government and the left-wing Guerrilla Group, the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – Ejercito de Pueblo (FARC),... Read More

Land Reform in Afghanistan: Full Impact and Sustainability of $41.2 Million USAID Program is Unknown
Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), 2017
According to land reform experts, land reform is generally understood to be efforts to correct problems with land distribution and rights to its use. Since 2004, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has worked to address land reform in Afghanistan because of its effect on the economy and the... Read More

Structural Change and Wife Abuse: A Disaggregated Study of Mineral Mining and Domestic Violence in Sub-Saharan Africa, 1999–2013
Andreas Kotsadam, Gudrun Østby, and Siri Aas Rustad (Political Geography, 2017)
Mineral mining may be a mixed blessing for local communities. On the one hand, extractive industries can be a positive economic driver, generating considerable revenues, and opportunities for growth. On the other hand, mining is often thought to be associated with negative effects, such as pollution, and violent conflict. Read More


Please visit our jobs page to view these positions and other job opportunities.

CAR: Research and Community Manager (Deadline: 2017-03-04)
23 February 2017 | Chinko Project
The Chinko Project sustainably manages a nature reserve in the heart of Africa – one of the last pristine mosaics of wooded savannah and tropical lowland rainforest deep within the Central African Republic. This project goes beyond conservation, it represents hope for stability and governance in one of the poorest... Read More

CAR: Special Projects Manager (Deadline: 2017-03-04)
23 February 2017 | Chinko Project
The Chinko Project sustainably manages a nature reserve in the heart of Africa – one of the last pristine mosaics of wooded savannah and tropical lowland rainforest deep within the Central African Republic. This project goes beyond conservation, it represents hope for stability and governance in one of the poorest... Read More

Liberia: Chief Resilience Officer (Deadline: 2017-03-17)
23 February 2017 | Axis Human Capital
The City of Paynesville would like to hire a Chief Resilience Officer to provide technical leadership on resilience building. The Chief Resilience Officer will be a key Advisor to the Mayor and other heads of departments to mainstream resilience in all activities of the city.  He/She will be the primary... Read More

DRC: Représentant Pays (Deadline: 2017-03-20)
23 February 2017 | Solidarités Internationales
SI est présente depuis l’année 2000 en République Démocratique du Congo. La mission RDC regroupe 4 provinces : le Nord Kivu, le Sud Kivu, le Katanga et la Province Orientale. Les actions actuelles de la mission s’articulent autour de 3 axes : la sécurité alimentaire, l’eau, l’assainissement et l’hygiène, et... Read More

Afghanistan: WASH Coordinator - Kabul (Deadline: 2017-04-09)
23 February 2017 | Solidarités Internationales
SI has been working in Afghanistan for 37 years. SI is currently implementing in Khost, Bamyan and Wardak provinces the following projects: Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (1 ECHO, 1 AFD which is a FSL/NRM project including a WASH part), Emergency (Emergency Response Mechanism) and FSL programs (1 Food distribution and... Read More

International News

Ethiopia/South Sudan: Ethiopia and South Sudan Agree to Construct Oil Route
24 February 2017 | Sudan Tribune
President Salva Kiir and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn have agreed to build a road linking the two countries enabling South Sudan to export its oil to the landlocked Ethiopia. President Kiir arrived in Ethiopia Thursday afternoon on a three-day official visit. Read More

Conflict Minerals: Conflict Minerals Compliance Costs Drop by 45%
24 February 2017 | CNW
The average cost of the compliance of section 1502 for SEC issuers has dropped by 45% over the past three years. The average cost for the core elements of ongoing compliance to Section 1502 have dropped below $20K USD per issuer for the 2016 reporting period, from an average cost... Read More

Colombia: Medellin Takes to Urban Farming to Heal Memories of War
24 February 2017 | Richard Kelleher, Colombia Reports
Parts of Colombia’s second largest urban center, Medellin, have taken to the most rural activity possible, agriculture, in an attempt to recognize the memories of war while restoring the social fabric necessary for peace. For the past 15 years, an urban farming initiative named “AgroArte” (Agrarian Art) has brought new life to the... Read More

Conflict Minerals: Why Apple and Intel Don’t Want to See the Conflict Minerals Rule Rolled back
23 February 2017 | Todd C. Frankel, Washington Post
Apple doesn’t want to see it scrapped. Neither does Intel or Tiffany & Co. But the U.S. conflict minerals law — which requires American public companies to avoid using minerals that fund war and human rights abuses in the Congo region — is widely seen today as facing its most... Read More

Myanmar: EU-Standard Forestry Agreement to Be Set up
20 February 2017 | Si Thu Lwin, Myanmar Times
Forestry staff, relevant government personnel, environmental conservation groups and timber entrepreneurs met in Mandalay on February 15 for a workshop to discuss the processes involved in the Forest Law, Enforcement, Governance and Trade, Voluntary Partnership Agreement (FLEGT-VPA) between Myanmar and the European Union. Read More

Uganda: Uganda Launches Gold Refinery, amid Fears of Dirty Minerals
20 February 2017 | Associated Press
A gold refinery primarily owned by a Belgian investor was launched in Uganda Monday amid concerns about the source of its minerals. The African Gold Refinery, worth $15 million and the first of its kind in East Africa, has drawn the attention of activists who are concerned that minerals from... Read More

China/India/Nepal: Water Diplomacy
16 February 2017 | Pramod Arayol, Kathmandu Post
Nepal, China, and India have witnessed civilisations with diverse religions, cultures and heritages growing in harmony but with a brutal history of colonisation followed by periodic shocks. Moreover, the new global order of the 21st century makes it prudent for these great civilisations to work to harness the embedded potentials... Read More

South Sudan: South Sudan Seeks Unlikely Economic Salvation with Farming
16 February 2017 | Okech Francis, Bloomberg
South Sudan, ravaged by three years of conflict and impending famine, said it’s seeking investors for agricultural land in a bid to offset a fall in oil revenue that’s spurred an economic crisis. The government is assigning more than 50,000 feddans (about 51,900 acres) in each of the East African... Read More

Kyrgyzstan/Uzbekistan: When Climate Change Starts Wars
16 February 2017 | John Wendle, Nautilus
Throughout the spring and summer in 2016, tensions flared after ethnic Uzbek villagers and police blocked access to the reservoir and its water, which lies inside Kyrgyzstan. Uzbekistan drove armored personnel carriers into Kyrgyzstan, and both sides have captured and detained each other’s citizens. Fistfights and potshots have been common. Read More

Iraq/Kurdistan: Stuck without Water in Mosul, Neighbors Find a Way
16 February 2017 | David Zucchino and Ben C. Solomond, New York Times
The water taps are dry in Rashidiya. The water and sewage system collapsed in this eastern Mosul neighborhood after 100 days of street combat. On Sunday, Haitham Younis Wahab and his neighbor Shamsuldeen Ahmed Saed decided to do something about it. Out came the sledgehammers, steel pipes and shovels. Read More

Liberia: Holding the Line – Global Witness Reveals How All of Liberia’s Large Logging Contracts Are Illegal on Multiple Counts
15 February 2017 | Global News Network
Liberia’s forestry sector has a long history of corruption, crime and conflict. During the country’s 14-year war, logging contracts were handed out to cronies of then-President Charles Taylor. Revenues from the sale of timber paid for weapons that helped prolong the conflict that claimed an estimated 250,000 lives. Read More

Colombia: FARC Troops Help Boost Colombia’s Landmine Removal Effort
15 February 2017 | teleSUR
As part of Colombia's transition to peace, around 1,000 former FARC rebels will help to identify and remove land mines across Colombia as the country works towards its goal of eradicating land mines in the next four years. Read More

Conflict Minerals: Central African Nations Warn Trump Reform Could Lead to Conflict
15 February 2017 | Pierre Bertrand
A coalition of 12 African countries has sounded the alarm that a possible plan by US President Donald Trump to suspend federal US rules on so-called “conflict minerals” could lead to an increase in violence and unrest in central Africa. Read More

Colombia: Peacetime Renaissance for Colombia’s Culinary and Agricultural Chocolate
15 February 2017 | Julia Cohn, City Paper
With the proliferation of new producers and an international push for Colombian farmers to grow more cacao, chocolate could give coffee a run for its money as the country’s most trendy, internationally acclaimed treat. Put simply, Colombia’s culinary and agricultural scene is witnessing a chocolate renaissance. Read More

Blogs & Opinion

In the last two weeks, 12 blogs & opinion pieces on environmental peacebuilding were posted on our website. Here is a sampling:

Mainstreaming the Environment in Peace and Security
24 February 2017 | Doug Weir
Everyone recognises the importance of environmental mainstreaming. It’s a problem that is particularly acute for conflict and the environment, where the environment is rarely prioritised before, during or after conflicts. In turn this influences how we frame the issues we work on, and it also influences how we work, often... Read More

Keep Minerals Conflict-Free
24 February 2017 | Steve Feldstein and Sasha Lezhnev
It was not long ago that central Africa was mired in its "first world war" that led to 5.4 million deaths in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Slowly and painstakingly, conflict-affected areas have started to recover. But peace is fragile, and a reversion to widespread violence is never a far-off prospect. Read More

A Congolese View on Why We Need the U.S. Conflict Minerals Law
23 February 2017 | Janvier Murairi Bakihanaye
As a native of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), I have seen first-hand what things are like on the ground – gang-rape, modern child slavery and other flagrant human rights violations on a massive scale, affecting scores of victims, especially in eastern DRC. Some people may not understand how a U.S. Read More

Will the US Fight for Oil in the South China Sea?
22 February 2017 | Wesley Rahn
US Secretary of State Tillerson's former role as ExxonMobil CEO has fueled speculation that US assertiveness in the South China Sea is connected with oil interests - but experts remain skeptical of these claims. Read More

The Mosul Operation: An Interim Open-Source Assessment of Conflict-Related Environmental Damage
21 February 2017 | Wim Zwijnenburg
As the Mosul Operations slowly progress, a myriad of open-source information is emerging from both Ninawa province and other areas where intense fighting took place earlier indicating that the ongoing battle has left a disastrous environmental legacy on Iraq’s landscape. Read More

Water Wars: Rediscovering the Status Quo in the South China Sea
17 February 2017 | Jared Dummitt and Eliot Kim
China continued to react critically to the Trump administration’s emerging position on the South China Sea.  Responding to a joint statement by President Trump and Prime Minister Abe that confirmed American support for Japanese administration of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said that “Diaoyu [Island] and its affiliated islands are... Read More

The De Facto Embargo is Over: Record-High Conflict-Free Minerals Exports from Eastern Congo
16 February 2017 | Annie Callaway and Sasha Lezhnev
The conflict-free minerals trade has been slowly but steadily increasing in recent years, and 2016 resulted in record-high exports from the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo once again. The North Kivu province, the most 3T minerals-rich province in Congo, reported record-high conflict-free export numbers for both tin and tantalum in 2016. Read More

About Our Community of Practice

Environmental Peacebuilding is a knowledge platform and global community of practice on natural resources, conflict, and peace, hosted by the Environmental Law Institute (ELI), UN Environment, McGill University, and the University of Tokyo. The platform unites a global network of researchers, practitioners, and decision makers in sharing experiences and lessons from managing natural resources in fragile states and conflict-affected settings. The platform also helps people to access new publications on the topic, conduct new research, and participate in events to support the growth of the field. As part of our Community of Practice, we bring you biweekly updates on recent developments, including news about our program as well as links to new publications, upcoming conferences and events, and job openings.

Please visit us at www.environmentalpeacebuilding.org for more information. Financial support for the platform has been provided by the Government of Finland, USAID, and the European Commission. 

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