Environmental Peacebuilding Update

Issue 43: 1 Sep 2015


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

Screening of "Saving Mes Aynak"

15 September 2015 | Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, DC

Saving Mes Aynak, a 2014 award-winning Kartemquin documentary film, chronicles one Afghan archaeologist’s fight to save a 5,000-year-old Buddhist site from ruin. As a Chinese mining company closes in on Mes Aynak, hoping to extract $100 billion dollars’ worth of copper buried underneath, Qadir Temori and his team of archaeologists face... Read More

Webcast: Mining the Disclosures 2015: A Guide to Conflict Minerals Reporting in Year Two

22 September 2015 | Source Intelligence, Online

The 2015 edition of Mining the Disclosures: An Investor Guide to Conflict Mineral Reporting by Responsible Sourcing Network (RSN) will be a much-anticipated deep analysis of filings by more than 1,200 companies to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) per a mandate on whether their products contain materials from war-torn areas... Read More

Third Al-Moumin Distinguished Lecture on Environmental Peacebuilding: Liz Alden Wily

6 October 2015 | American University, ELI, and UNEP, Washington, DC

Liz Alden Wily will deliver the Third Al-Moumin Distinguished Lecture on Environmental Peacebuilding, entitled, "Communities & the State: Getting the Property Relationship Right for a Safer 21st Century." Read More

24th World Congress of Political Science

23 July 2016 – 28 July 2016 | International Political Science Association, Istanbul, Turkey

The 2016 World Congress will focus on "Politics in a World of Inequality."  The congress will include sessions on environmental peacebuilding, including Environmental Peacebuilding – Approaching the Nexus Climate Change, Adaptation/Mitigation and Peacebuilding and Defining Environmental Peacebuilding. Read More


In the last two weeks, 47 new publications were added to our online library of materials on environmental peacebuilding. Here is a sampling of the new additions:

Conflict Stalemate in Morocco and Western Sahara: Natural Resources, Legitimacy and Political Recognition
Natasha White (British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 2015)
This article addresses the role of natural resources in the protracted conflict between Morocco and Western Sahara. Drawing from literatures of political ecology and political science, the article argues that natural resources have been deeply implicated in the conflict over time, with resource-related developments lending legitimacy to each party in... Read More

Promoting Climate-Resilient Peacebuilding in Fragile States
Alec Crawford, Angie Dazé, Anne Hammill, Jo-Ellen Parry, and Alicia Natalia Zamudio (International Institute for Sustainable Development, 2015)
Efforts to help fragile states move onto a path toward stability and sustainability continue to face enormous challenges. Climate change is one of these challenges. This is true for a number of reasons: the high exposure of many fragile states to climate risks, their economic reliance on climate-dependent sectors (particularly... Read More

Farmland Investments and Water Rights: The Legal Regimes at Stake
Makane Moïse Mbengue and Susanna Waltman (International Institute for Sustainable Development, 2015)
The rise of foreign investment in farmland over the past decade is partly driven by a search for access to water resources. Land without water has no value; it is the key ingredient for agricultural production. Over 70 per cent of all freshwater resources are used for agricultural production. Read More

Reducing the Cultivation of Opium Poppies in Southern Afghanistan
Victoria A. Greenfield, Keith Crane, Craig Bond, Nathan Chandler, Jill E. Luoto, Olga Oliker (Rand Corporation, 2015)
This report identifies a broad range of factors that drive opium poppy cultivation in southern Afghanistan, the locus of opium production in that country, and assesses the positive and negative effects of programs designed to promote rural development, eradicate opium poppies, or otherwise create incentives for farmers to reduce the... Read More

Poor Institutions, Rich Mines: Resource Curse in the Origins of the Sicilian Mafia
Paolo Buonanno, Ruben Durante, Giovanni Prarolo, and Paolo Vanin (The Economic Journal, 2015)
With weak law-enforcement institutions, a positive shock to the value of natural resources may increase demand for private protection and opportunities for rent appropriation through extortion, favouring the emergence of mafia-type organisations. We test this hypothesis by investigating the emergence of the mafia in twentieth century Sicily, where a severe... Read More

The Resource Curse Reconsidered: Cash Crops and Local Violence in Kyrgyzstan
Lawrence P. Markowitz (Terrorism and Political Violence, 2015)
It is often noted in resource curse literature that agricultural economies are less conflict-prone than countries managing mobile, high-value resources. In the vast literature linking resource endowment and conflict, cash crop economies are often considered immune to civil violence, believed to stand apart from the many horrific episodes of violence... Read More

The Socioeconomic Determinants of Natural Resource Conflict: Minerals and Maoist Insurgency in India
Jonathan Kennedy (Society & Natural Resources, 2015)
This article analyzes a unique district-level data set to demonstrate that mineral abundance increased the probably of Maoist insurgency in India over the past three decades. Nevertheless, this finding must be qualified in two respects. First, mineral abundance has a much stronger effect on the probability of insurgency after the... Read More

The Effects of Oil Production and Ethnic Representation on Violent Conflict in Nigeria: A Mixed-Methods Approach
Carlo Koos and Jan Pierskalla (Terrorism and Political Violence, 2015)
A large qualitative literature on violent conflict in Nigeria has identified the importance of oil production and ethnicity as salient factors in understanding violence, especially in the oil-rich Niger Delta. This resonates with the broader literature on natural resources, ethnic exclusion, and conflict. Read More

China, Oil, and Asia: Conflict Ahead
S. S. Harrison (Columbia University Press, 1977)
This book presents the first comprehensive report on Peking's carefully non-publicized offshore oil and gas program. Harrison shows why a growing Chinese offshore capability could foreshadow significant clashes of interest with neighboring countries, affecting, in particular, the future of Taiwan and South Korea; the Sino-Japanese-Soviet triangle; Sino-Vietnamese and Sino-Filipino relations;... Read More

The South China Sea Disputes: Who Owns the Islands and the Natural Resources?
Choon‐ho Park (Ocean Development & International Law, 1978)
Among the numerous border and territorial disputes between China and its neighbors, the Paracel‐Spratly case is the most serious to date. Primarily, the dispute concerns the ownership of some 200 midocean islets in the South China Sea, most of which are coral outcroppings without much value in themselves. Read More


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

Sudan: Food Security/Livelihoods Manager
30 August 2015 | United Methodist Committee on Relief
The Food Security Manager plays an important role in the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) Sudan's field management structure. UMCOR-International Program’s program areas in the Sudan focuses primarily in the field of Emergency Relief and transitional development, which include but not limited to the following sectors; water and sanitation,... Read More

Uganda: Agricultural Advisor (Deadline: 2015-09-07)
30 August 2015 | ZOA
ZOA is a Christian international NGO, with its head office based in the Netherlands. ZOA operates in fifteen countries on three continents. We provide relief to people affected by conflict or natural disasters. We contribute to a new perspective of hope in which people work together for a promising future... Read More

Colombia: Sustainable Agrobusiness Specialist (Deadline: 2015-09-10)
30 August 2015 | Finance in Motion
Finance in Motion is an asset management firm focused on sustainable development finance. On behalf of public and private institutional investors as well as international financial institutions, we develop and advise alternative investment vehicles. Our 135 professionals in 14 offices cover a broad spectrum of development finance, including energy efficiency,... Read More

Ethiopia: Community-Based Nutrition (Deadline: 2015-09-11)
30 August 2015 | UNICEF
The first phase of the National Nutrition Programme (NNP) was developed and launched in 2008 in an effort ‘to reduce the burden of malnutrition and its consequences in a harmonized and comprehensive approach, and through large scale national efforts.’  Since its inception, the NNP has contributed to an improved policy... Read More

Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security (Deadline: 2015-09-15)
1 September 2015 | Liu Institute of Vancouver
The Liu Institute for Global Issues invites applications for the Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver) at the Associate or Full Professor level (a tenure-track appointment, effective July 1 2016, or until filled).  Read More

Iraq: Norwegian Refugee Council (Deadline: 2015-09-17)
30 August 2015 | Norwegian Refugee Council
The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is a non-governmental, humanitarian organization with 60 years of experience in helping to create a safer and more dignified life for refugees and internally displaced people. NRC advocates for the rights of displaced populations and offers assistance with GBV, shelter, education, emergency food security, legal... Read More

Afghanistan: International Environmental Negotiations Specialist (Deadline: 2015-09-30)
30 August 2015 | UNEP
Afghanistan is vulnerable to climate change, particularly extreme weather events, including floods and droughts, which adversely affect natural ecosystems, agriculture and community livelihoods. Unfortunately, governing structures – including community councils, district units, research institutions and government agencies – currently have limited capacity to plan for, overcome and withstand the current... Read More

International News

Sierra Leone: Spain to Hand over US-Belgian Businessman Wanted in Sierra Leone Blood Diamonds Case
31 August 2015 | Ciaran Giles, Associated Press
An American-Belgian businessman arrested for suspected involvement in enslavement and pillaging blood diamonds during Sierra Leone's civil war will be handed over shortly to Belgium, a Spanish court official said Monday. The National Court spokesman said the man, identified as Michael Desaedeleer, has agreed to be handed over to the... Read More

South Sudan: African Union Commission Says Oil Resources Must Benefit the People for Lasting Peace
30 August 2015 | Ann Garrison, Bay View
The warring parties in South Sudan’s 20-month civil war signed a peace agreement in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, earlier this week. The civil war which began in December of 2013 has cost more lives than anyone can precisely estimate now and uprooted over 2 million South Sudanese people. Read More

Conflict Diamonds: Africa’s Blood Diamonds are Dawood's Latest Biz, Intelligence Agencies Say
30 August 2015 | Raj Shekhar, Times News Network
Investigators working to identify underworld don Dawood Ibrahim's offshore assets have stumbled on a startling fact: The fugitive is now in the business of conflict diamonds. The sleuths have found that the current focus of the D Company, as Dawood's businesses are called, is to promote and expand the business... Read More

Middle East: Water Wars? Devastating Shortages Will Fuel MidEast Conflicts for 25 yrs – Report
28 August 2015 | RT
In a worrying global trend, the Middle East is set for a record water shortage to strike over the next 25 years. The global fallout from the recent record heatwaves will force more and more people into overcrowded cities and stagnate economic growth. Read More

Liberia: Has Liberia Found the Way to Share its Forest Plenty with the Poor?
26 August 2015 | Max Bankole Jarrett, Guardian
The “paradox of plenty” debate tends to focus on fossil fuels and minerals. Countries that are rich in these resources are often – paradoxically – kept financially poor, with the proceeds of natural wealth largely profiting political elites, foreign companies and commodities traders, rather than being used strategically to bring... Read More

Timor-Leste: East Timor PM Seeks to Diversify Economy with Help of Oil Fund
26 August 2015 | Randy Fabi, Reuters
East Timor will tap into its $16.6 billion oil fund to build the necessary infrastructure to attract non-energy investment, the prime minister said on Wednesday, as disputes over undeveloped gas fields look to remain unresolved for years. Read More

Ukraine: UN Giving Chickens to Small Farms in Ukraine
25 August 2015 | Prague Post
Some 7,000 three-week-old layer-broiler chickens are being distributed this week to small farms in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Provision of the birds is the latest move by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to help vulnerable households whose livelihoods have been compromised by the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine,... Read More

China/Vietnam/South China Sea: Controversial China Rig Completes Drilling Well Near Vietnam Coast
24 August 2015 | Reuters
The Chinese oil rig at the center of last year's standoff between China and Vietnam over oil exploration in the South China Sea has completed drilling of a well not far from Vietnam's coast, the official Xinhua News Agency said on Monday. Read More

Sierra Leone: Sierra Leone Gold and Diamond Exports Plummet Due to Ebola
22 August 2015 | AFP
Sierra Leone said Saturday gold exports had plunged three-fold and diamond exports nearly halved in the first half of 2015, a sign of the devastation wrought on the mining industry by the Ebola epidemic. Gold exports went from 11,751 grams in January to 3,900 grams in June and July with... Read More

Food Security: Peace is Good for Food Security - Sasu
19 August 2015 | Samuel Hinneh, GhanaWeb
Born into a farming family where Lydia Sasu, a farmer and the executive director of Development Action Association (DAA) witnessed her mother struggle to make enough money to feed the entire family, she is excited to learn that the world isn’t as hungry as it used to be. Read More

Blogs & Opinion

In the last two weeks, 11 blogs & opinion pieces on environmental peacebuilding were posted on our website. Following is a sampling:

Which States Are Progressive on Conflict and the Environment?
28 August 2015 | Doug Weir
The first tentative moves to strengthen legal protection for the environment before, during and after armed conflict are underway – and not before time. With everything to play for, we take a look at a scientifically unrepresentative sample of governments to see who’s progressive, and who would rather the international... Read More

Conservation in Conflict Zones: Protecting Peace and Biodiversity in Colombia
25 August 2015 | Brittany Ajroud
With a new peace process underway between the Colombian government and leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in Cuba, the spotlight is back on this long-troubled South American country. But decades of civil conflict have overshadowed an incredible fact: Colombia is among the four most biologically diverse countries on Earth. Read More

Tin is the Biggest Conflict Mineral: GAO
21 August 2015 | Emily Chasan
Tin may pose the biggest challenge for companies looking to rid their supply chains of “conflict minerals” blamed for funding violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Read More

China’s Ongoing Game of Chess in Southeast Asia
20 August 2015 | Eliza King
As China continues to expand into a superpower large enough to one day rival the United States, the support and cooperation of Southeast Asian countries is imperative. Since 2000 China’s trade with the 10 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member countries rose from $32 billion to $350 billion in 2014, with... Read More

The World’s Hot Spot
19 August 2015 | Thomas Friedman
Here’s a bet about the future of Sunni, Shiite, Arab, Turkish, Kurdish and Israeli relations: If they don’t end their long-running conflicts, Mother Nature is going to destroy them all long before they destroy one another. Read More

Decentralisation Key to Ending Water Wars
19 August 2015 | Nipon Poapongsakorn and Nujpanit Narkpitaks
Water is the lifeblood of agriculture. It has significant impacts on the livelihood of millions of Thai farmers. Early on in rainy season this year, farmers in the Central Plains suffered from one of the most intense droughts in the last five decades. 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. 

Sharing and Posting Materials

The strength of the knowledge platform depends on submissions and suggestions on contents from users. To share publications and information on events, job opportunities, and other announcements, please contact share@environmentalpeacebuilding.org. Please also feel free to share ideas on how the platform can be further improved to meet your needs.

Platform Statistics

Members Page Views Library
August, 2015 2515 4744 1786
July, 2015 2511 6137 1701
June, 2015 2481 7032 1641
May, 2015 2415 6368 1561
April, 2015 2387 6936 1499
November, 2013 298 5866 108

Compiled by Samantha Bresler, Jonathan Cohen, Aleksandra Egorova, Elizabeth Hessami, Natalia Jiménez Galindo, Laura Mitchell, Matthew Phillips, and Ben Zukowski
Edited by Joel Young
Coordinated by Michael Lerner
Design by Graham Campbell
Managed and edited by Carl Bruch and David Jensen

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