Environmental Peacebuilding Update

Issue 45: 29 Sep 2015


Call for Articles - 2015 Issue of Conflict Trends
28 September 2015 | The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) is presently soliciting contributions for the fourth 2015 Issue of Conflict Trends (2015, Issue 4). As this will be a General Issue we welcome submissions on any topic related to conflict, conflict resolution, peace, development, security, human rights, peacebuilding, etc. Read More

Introducing the Toxic Remnants of War Network
16 September 2015 | Toxic Remnants of War
Damage to the natural environment has long been a hallmark of conflict. But technological developments, both in terms of how hostilities are conducted, and the locations in which wars are fought, are increasing the risk of serious long-term environmental damage, and with it, threats to the civilian population. Read More


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

First Information Session for the Certification in Environment, Peace, and Security

30 September 2015 | Columbia University, Columbia Club of New York

Evidence is accumulating that linkages between environment and security dynamics are more important than previously thought. Governments, the public, corporations, and other organizations around the world need a clearer understanding of the related new risks and more effective responses. 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

Water, Wars and an Unusual Equation

7 October 2015 – 7 September 2015 | Geneva Centre for Security Policy, Geneva, Switzerland

Over the next few decades water cooperation will not only have an impact on food production, health and industrialisation, but also on peace and security between countries in troubled regions. Read More

Course on Climate Change: Security Challenges and Solutions

12 October 2015 – 16 September 2015 | Geneva Centre for Security Policy, Geneva, Switzerland

Climate change has the potential to be the greatest security threat in this century. It is considered a multiplier of a range of security threats from conflict exacerbation to migration, water, food and health security. This course is designed to equip participants with both conceptual and practical tools for understanding... Read More

Online Information Session for the Certification in Environment, Peace, and Security

19 October 2015 | Columbia University, Online

Evidence is accumulating that linkages between environment and security dynamics are more important than previously thought. Governments, the public, corporations, and other organizations around the world need a clearer understanding of the related new risks and more effective responses. Read More


In the last two weeks, 23 new publications were added to our online library of materials on environmental peacebuilding. Here is a sampling of the new additions:

Côte d’Ivoire Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment
UNEP, 2015
Focusing on critical issues such as forestry, the system of national parks, urban expansion challenges in Abidjan, and the Ebrie Lagoon, this report offers a series of public policy interventions to help reshape the country’s environmental situation. Read More

Special Issue: Defense Spending, Natural Resources, and Conflict
Hamid E. Alia (Defence and Peace Economics, 2015)
This special edition is the product of the 16th Annual International Conference on Economics and Security, held at the American University in Cairo, Egypt, 21–22 June 2012. The conference was organized by the Department of Public Policy and Administration, American University in Cairo, Economists for Peace and Security (Egypt), Economists... Read More

Shackled to Nature? The Post-Conflict State and its Symbiotic Relationship with Natural Resources
Sarah Milne, Pak Kimcheoun, and Michael Sullivan (Routledge, 2015)
New forces are now at play, deriving from an unpredictable combination of influences such as young urban voters, who are plugged-in to social media; a vibrant civil society and protest movement that has galvanized around land conflicts and natural resource depletion;  Thus Cambodia stands at a crossroads, facing a political... Read More

Conservation and Development in Cambodia: Exploring Frontiers of Change in Nature, State and Society
Sarah Milne and Sango Mahanty (Routledge, 2015)
Written by leading authorities from Australasia, Europe and North America, this book examines the dynamic conflicts and synergies between nature conservation and human development in contemporary Cambodia. Read More

Environmental Peacebuilding: Tools for Conflict Mitigation [Video]
Conservation International, 2015
Conservation International (CI) hosted a half-day session to increase knowledge and capacity of CI staff and international conservation, peace and development practitioners of conflict mitigation tools and how to use them in diverse cultural contexts. Read More

Progress and Challenges on Conflict Minerals: Facts on Dodd-Frank 1502
Enough Project, 2015
Conflict minerals have fueled and continue to help sustain armed violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo), linking them to the deadliest conflict globally since World War II. The four conflict minerals (gold, along with tin, tantalum, and tungsten, the “3Ts”) are not the only source of income to... Read More

Organized Chaos: The Illicit Overland Timber Trade between Myanmar and China
Environmental Investigation Agency UK Ltd, 2015
In January 2015, the Myanmar army raided an illegal logging operation in a remote mountainous region in the country’s Kachin State. The sweep led to the arrest of 155 Chinese nationals who had been recruited from neighbouring Yunnan Province to cross the border to cut trees and transport timber. Read More

Clip from "A Dangerous Future", Episode 108 of Years of Living Dangerously [Video]
The Years Project (Showtime, 2014)
In this clip, Pulitzer Prize-winner Thomas Friedman takes a chopper to Sana'a, the first major city in Yemen to run out of water. He concludes his investigation of three Middle Eastern nations-Syria, Egypt, and now Yemen-to witness how climate change can be a stressor that can take a volatile political... Read More

Clip from "Moving a Mountain", Episode 109 of Years of Living Dangerously [Video]
The Years Project (Showtime, 2014)
In this clip, Barack Obama discusses the national security implications of climate change with Thomas Friedman.  Read More

Black Earth - Agribusiness in Ukraine and the Marginalisation of Rural Communities
Natalia Kolomiets and Fidanka Bacheva McGrath (Central and Eastern European (CEE) Bankwatch Network, 2015)
Given Ukraine's abundant land resources and food production potential, modernisation of agriculture is necessary and industrialisation is inevitable. Yet, an investigation into the Vinnytsia poultry complex shows the negative side effects of large-scale industrialisation of meat production and sounds the alarm about the risks that agroholdings pose to communities. Read More


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

Sierra Leone: Agroforesty Expert Tech (Deadline: 2015-09-30)
27 September 2015 | UNDP
Sierra Leone is increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of global climate change. This is exacerbated by uncontrolled deforestation, partly due to unsustainable agricultural methods and charcoal production.  While charcoal/fuel wood provides a key source of rural income and energy Sierra Leone does not have adequate wood-fuel policies or certification procedures,... Read More

South Sudan: National Consultant to Support HDIG (Deadline: 2015-09-30)
27 September 2015 | UNDP
South Sudan development context has been severely affected by the current armed conflict, which started in December 2013 and has persisted despite the IGAD efforts to bring peace in the country. There has been no significant progress on the peace front, the two warring parties(SPLM and SPLM–IO) failed to meet... Read More

Africa: Natural Resources and Conflict Policy Analyst (Deadline: 2015-10-03)
26 September 2015 | Enough Project
The Natural Resources and Conflict Policy Analyst will be responsible for policymaker outreach, research, report writing, and review surrounding the nexus of corruption and the natural resource drivers of violent conflict and atrocity crimes in the Horn of Africa, East Africa, and Central Africa. Read More

Cambodia: Conservation Programme Manager (Deadline: 2015-10-06)
27 September 2015 | World Wildlife Fund
From its origins as a small group of committed wildlife enthusiasts, WWF has grown into one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations – supported by 5 million people and active in over 100 countries on five continents. Read More

International News

Myanmar: Mandalay Golf Resort Project Faces Land-Grabbing Claims
29 September 2015 | Kyaw Ko Ko, Myanmar Times
Defiant farmers in Mandalay Region are cultivating fields they say they own as negotiations with the local authorities broke down. The 200 farmers began harrowing the fields, which are slated for a golf resort, on September 25 in preparation for planting. Read More

Liberia: Land Disputes Threaten Peace & Security
28 September 2015 | The New Republic
The Mayor of Ganta Ben Dokpah has said land disputes in the country remain a serious threat to the peace of security the country of Liberia, particularly in the face of the drawdown of UNMIL. He said the country could be plunged into another round of crisis if nothing was... Read More

Timor-Leste: East Timor Starts New Gas Field Arbitration
24 September 2015 | Michael Roddan, Business Spectator
East Timor has started new arbitration proceedings to resolve a dispute with Australia over access to offshore petroleum resources, including the Greater Sunrise fields that Woodside Petroleum hopes to develop. After failing to agree on rules for a possible gas pipeline from the disputed offshore area between East Timor and Australia, the government of the smaller country told Canberra today that it had... Read More

Liberia: Ellen Submits “Liberia Land Authority” Bill
23 September 2015 | J. Burgess Carter, Liberian Observer
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf submitted to the Senate for enactment into law an Act to create the Liberia Land Authority. In her letter to that august body dated September 15, President Sirleaf said the bill puts into place the necessary legal framework for the establishment of the Liberia Land Authority that... Read More

Australia: Australian Defence Under-Prepared for Climate Change Security Threat
22 September 2015 | Michael Brissenden, ABC News
A former head of the Australian military has warned that the ADF needs to do more to integrate climate change impact into defence planning. Retired Admiral Chris Barrie has co-authored a new report by the climate council that says climate change is a significant and growing national security threat. Read More

DRC: NGO Ranks 155 Companies Across 20 Industries Revealing Significant Supply Chain, ESG Risks for Major Brands
22 September 2015 | PRNewswire
Most U.S. large cap companies are still lagging in efforts to affect positive change with regard to global humanitarian issues, according to research released today by a leading non-profit organization, Responsible Sourcing Network (RSN). However, there are also high performers, which are typically in industries where companies collaborate, proving that... Read More

Iraq/Kurdistan: Iraqi Kurds Dealt Setback by U.S. Court Ruling on Oil Sale
22 September 2015 | Bruce Stanley and Laurel Brubaker Calkins, Bloomberg
A U.S. federal court dealt a setback to efforts by Iraq’s self-governing Kurds to sell Iraqi crude oil in the U.S., further complicating the Kurdish drive for financial independence from the central government in Baghdad. The U.S. Read More

Syria: Syrian War Spurs First Withdrawal from Doomsday Arctic Seed Vault
21 September 2015 | Alister Doyle, Reuters
Syria's civil war has prompted the first withdrawal of seeds from a "doomsday" vault built in an Arctic mountainside to safeguard global food supplies, officials said on Monday. The seeds, including samples of wheat, barley and grasses suited to dry regions, have been requested by researchers elsewhere in the Middle... Read More

China/Philippines/South China Sea: China Reportedly Building Runway on Reef Near Philippine-Claimed Gas Field
17 September 2015 | Erik Slavin, Stars and Stripes
China appears to be building an airstrip on a dredged reef near an oil and gas field also claimed by the Philippines, a move that may further inflame international tensions over the South China Sea. Satellite images taken September 8 show dredging activity and possible runway construction on Mischief Reef,... Read More

Myanmar: Surge in Illegal Logging by Chinese in Myanmar Alarms Activists
17 September 2015 | Tom Phillips, The Guardian
A torrent of illegal timber worth hundreds of millions of dollars each year is pouring across Myanmar’s border into China as loggers reach deeper into the country’s forests in search of profits, activists have claimed. In a report released in Beijing on Thursday, the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency said there... Read More

Japan/United States/Okinawa: Pentagon Blocks Report on ‘Toxic Contamination’ at Base Outside Okinawa Capital
16 September 2015 | Jon Mitchell, Japan Times
The U.S. military is refusing to release a report detailing environmental contamination at Camp Kinser, a 2.7-sq.-km U.S. Marine Corps supply base near Okinawa’s capital, Naha, that is scheduled for return to civilian use. One section cites “evidence of environmental contamination by heavy metals and pesticides caused by past hazardous... Read More

Blogs & Opinion

In the last two weeks, 5 blogs & opinion pieces on environmental peacebuilding were posted on our website.

Why Climate Change is Australia's Greatest National Security Issue
20 September 2015 | Clive Williams
I recently gave my "National Security and Counterterrorism" Masters students a syndicate exercise at the end of their course requiring them to prioritise the most serious threats to Australia's national security (with national security being defined as safeguarding the "wellbeing" rather than "survival" of Australia – "survival" being more relevant... Read More

US and China have Escalating War of Words over South China Sea Territory Dispute
18 September 2015 | Zachary Davies Boren
The world's two most powerful countries are involved in an escalating dispute over territory in the South China Sea. China has nearly finished developing artificial islands in an area the US-allied Philippines has also claimed. It is feared the new islands will be used as military and naval bases to... Read More

The Climate Wars Are Coming – And More Refugees with Them
17 September 2015 | Paul Hockenos
In his State of the European Union address on Sept. 9, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker broached a topic that until now has been virtually absent from discussion about Europe’s refugee crisis. Global warming is responsible for longer-lasting droughts, more violent storms and rising sea levels that worsen the living... Read More

Planning Matters
16 September 2015 | Kashmir Images
In 1961, diamond-rich Botswana and Sierra Leone had approximately the same per capita income of about US$1,070, when both these countries in Africa adopted and experienced extremely different paths of economic development. While diamonds caused an economic miracle in Botswana, the same diamonds led to a total state collapse in... Read More

Coffee: A Pillar of Peace in South Sudan and Africa
7 September 2015 | John Prendergast
Four years after independence there is very little to celebrate in South Sudan. Border and land disputes continue to strain ties, and given other high-visibility emergencies the civil war is not the subject of much attention from international media. 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.

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