Environmental Peacebuilding Update

Issue 47: 27 Oct 2015


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

Environmental Peacebuilding: Tools for Conflict Mitigation from the Development Field

28 October 2015 | Conservation International, Arlington, Virginia, USA

Conservation International's Policy Center for Environment and Peace will host a three hour session entitled, "Environmental Peacebuilding: Tools for Conflict Mitigation from the Development Field" on Wednesday, October 28. The purpose of the session is to increase awareness of the broad range of tools for conflict mitigation and explore ways for... Read More

Panel Discussion on the Impact of Armed Conflict on the Environment and Human Health

2 November 2015 | The Irish Society of International Law | Irish Red Cross, Dublin, Ireland

There is a growing acceptance that certain military materials and practices have the potential to cause environmental damage, with the potential to affect civilian health and interfere with post-conflict recovery. While the impact of explosive remnants of war is comparatively well documented and increasingly well managed, less attention has been... Read More

Geneva Peace Week

16 November 2015 – 20 November 2015 | Geneva Peacebuilding Platform, Geneva, Switzerland

Geneva Peace Week 2015 is the umbrella for 33 events organized by 41 organizations. All events resulted from a public call for submissions of events to contribute in two programme tracks. The Main Programmehas beendeveloped collaboratively between UNOG, the founding partners of the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform (CCDP, GCSP, Interpeace, QUNO),... Read More

Climate Security and the 4Ds of Foreign Policy

18 November 2015 | Security & Sustainability Forum, Webinar

Disaster risk reduction, development, diplomacy and defense communities have increasingly identified climate as a risk – and not just in the long term. For example, in the U.S. Department of Defense’s 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap, the Pentagon states that climate risk “poses immediate risks to national security.” But beyond... Read More

Conference on Water Security 2015

9 December 2015 – 11 December 2015 | REACH Program, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom

Water security has rapidly emerged as a defining global and local challenge to promote economic growth, human development and resource sustainability. Achieving and maintaining water security requires balancing often competing goals in an increasingly complex landscape of demographic, climatic, environmental, political, economic and social change. Read More


In the last two weeks, 24 new publications were added to our online library of materials on environmental peacebuilding. Here is a sampling of the new additions:

Land, Indigenous Peoples and Conflict
Alan C. Tidwell and Barry Scott Zellen (Routledge, 2015)
Land, Indigenous Peoples and Conflict presents an original comparative study of indigenous land and property rights worldwide. The book explores how the ongoing constitutional, legal and political integration of indigenous peoples into contemporary society has impacted on indigenous institutions and structures for managing land and property. Read More

Jade: Myanmar's "Big State Secret"
Global Witness, 2015
This 12-month investigation reveals an industry far bigger than previously thought, worth up to US$31 billion in 2014 alone. That is equivalent to nearly half the GDP for the whole of Myanmar, but hardly any of the money is reaching ordinary people or state coffers. Read More

Tusk Wars: Inside the LRA and the Bloody Business of Ivory
Ledio Cakaj (Enough Project, 2015)
New field research from the Enough Project shows that the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) is weakened to an unprecedented point, counting only 120 armed fighters in its ranks, scattered across three countries in central Africa. Despite its weakened state, the LRA continues to pose a threat to local populations in Central... Read More

Winning the Peace in Mesopotamia
Luke J. Schumacher and Joshua Shapiro (Cicero Magazine, 2015)
Academics, generals, and the intelligence community are generally in agreement concerning the changing character of war: yesterday’s wars were waged over land, today’s for energy, while tomorrow’s will be fought for increasingly-scarce water resources. Read More

Use of Upgraded Evidence in Cadaster Approaches for Syrian Refugee Return
Jon D. Unruh (World Cadastre Congress, 2015)
The enormity of the Syrian refugee crisis in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, together with the difficulties of their livelihoods and the burden placed on host countries, highlights the importance of planning now for the eventual return of refugees to their housing, land and property (HLP) in Syria. Read More

Desperate Guests, Unwilling Hosts: Climate Change-Induced Migration and Farmer-Herder Conflicts in Southwestern Nigeria
Azeez Olaniyan and Ufo Okeke-Uzodike (Conflict Studies Quarterly, 2015)
Discourses on the relationship between climate change and violent conflict have created two opposing views of the enthusiasts and the skeptics, with the former arguing that there is a strong connection and the latter doubting it. Read More

Conservation and Conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo: The Impacts of Warfare, Mining, and Protected Areas on Deforestation
Van Butsic, Mathías Baumann, Anja Shortland, Sarah Walker, and Tobias Kuemmerle (Biological Conservation, 2015)
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), home of the second largest tropical forest in the world, has experienced 20 years of violent conflict, resulting in the death of over 100,000 combatants and up to 5 million civilians. Read More

Gold, Oil and the Lure of Violence: The Private Sector and Post-Conflict Risks in Colombia
Angelika Rettberg (Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre, Clingendael Institute, 2015)
For the first time in decades Colombia seems to be on course towards a negotiated settlement with its two remaining guerrilla groups, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and the National Liberation Army. However, the post-conflict prospects are not altogether auspicious. Read More

Inside Isis Inc: The Journey of a Barrel of Oil [Infographic]
Erika Solomon, Robin Kwong, and Steven Bernard (Financial Times, 2015)
Isis controls most of Syria’s oil fields and crude is the militant group's biggest single source of revenue. Here we follow the progress of a barrel of oil from extraction to end user to see how the Isis production system works, who is making money from it, and why it... Read More

Facing Famine: Somali Experiences in the Famine of 2011
Daniel Maxwell, Nisar Majid, Jeeyon Janet Kim, Guhad Adan, and Khalif Abdirahman (Feinstein International Center, 2015)
In 2011–12, Somalia experienced the worst famine of the twenty-first century. Since then, research on the famine has focused almost exclusively on the external response, the reasons for the delay in the international response, and the implications for international humanitarian action in the context of the “global war on terror.”... Read More

Chains of Abuse: The Global Diamond Supply Chain and the Case of the Central African Republic
Amnesty International, 2015
The Central African Republic’s (CAR) biggest traders have purchased diamonds worth several million dollars without adequately investigating whether they financed armed groups responsible for summary executions, rape, enforced disappearances and widespread looting. Based on interviews with miners and traders, the report details how armed groups - the Christian or animist... Read More

Decentralization, Institutional Ambiguity, and Mineral Resource Conflict in Mindanao, Philippines
Boris Verbrugge (World Development, 2015)
Based on an analytical framework that builds on theories of incremental institutional change, this article interrogates the relationship between decentralization and mineral resource conflict in the Philippines. Here, efforts to decentralize control over mineral resource wealth have resulted in a highly ambiguous institutional arena, wherein heterogeneous actor coalitions are attempting... Read More

Escaping the Resource Curse in China
Shixiong Cao, Shurong Li, Hua Ma, and Yutong Sun (AMBIO, 2015)
Many societies face an income gap between rich regions with access to advanced technology and regions that are rich in natural resources but poorer in technology. This “resource curse” can lead to a Kuznets trap, in which economic inequalities between the rich and the poor increase during the process of... Read More

The Art and Science of Benefit Sharing in the Natural Resource Sector
International Finance Corporation (World Bank Group, 2015)
If developed and managed appropriately, a country’s oil, gas, and mineral resources can make a major contribution to economic development and poverty alleviation. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the understanding and discussion of how the costs and benefits of natural resource development are shared across society. Read More


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

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Chief of Party (Deadline: 2015-11-04)
24 October 2015 | Wildlife Conservation Society
 WCS is recruiting for a Chief of Party to ensure the oversight, administration, and coordination of activities supported by USAID under the Central Africa Forest Ecosystems Conservation (CAFEC) project of the Central Africa Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE). Read More

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Technical Coordinator (Deadline: 2015-11-13)
24 October 2015 | Bureau of the Environment and Development
Descriptif du poste:   Installé (-e) à Brazzaville, le (-a) titulaire du poste sera en charge de la Coordination de l’assistance technique tout au long du programme FINFOTROP. Il (elle) devra effectuer des déplacements fréquents dans la sous-région et plus particulièrement au Cameroun pendant la phase pilote. Read More

International News

Timor-Leste: A Stabilized East Timor Creating Opportunities for Foreign Businesses
23 October 2015 | Sadachika Watanabe, Nikkei
East Timor is looking to upgrade its natural-resource and transportation infrastructure, creating new business opportunities for overseas construction companies and plant builders. As East Timor's politics have stabilized in the 13 years since the country gained independence, foreign companies are seeking to cash in. Read More

DRC: Picks, Pans and Bare Hands: How Miners in the Heart of Africa Toil in Terrible Conditions to Extract the Rare Minerals that Power Your iPhone
22 October 2015 | Nick Fagge, Daily Mail
Scraping through shovels-full of silt for the precious mineral with their bare hands, miners use these primitive methods to harvest coltan - the magical conductor that powers your iPhone, Samsung Galaxy or other smartphones. Covered head-to-foot in the ore-laden mud, hundreds of workers toil for 12 hours a day -... Read More

Iraq: Iraq Oil Refinery to Eliminate Liquid Waste with ZLD System
21 October 2015 | WaterWorld
Iraq´s State Company for Oil Projeacts (SCOP) will use a zero liquid discharge (ZLD) to eliminate all liquid waste discharge from its Karbala refinery. Veolia´s HPD evaporator technology was selected for the Karbala Refinery project by SCOP and its EPC contractor HDGSK, a joint venture comprising Hyundai Engineering & Construction,... Read More

Myanmar: Recent Floods Deal Devastating Blow to Agricultural Livelihoods and Food Security in Myanmar – UN
20 October 2015 | United Nations
A new joint United Nations agency-Myanmar Government report paints a grim picture of the destruction caused by flooding in the country, where more than half a million hectares of rice paddy were affected and almost a quarter of a million livestock were killed, including poultry, cattle, pigs and goats, when... Read More

Syria: Kerry: Climate Change Made the Syrian Civil War Far Worse
17 October 2015 | Jacqueline Klimas, Washington Examiner
Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged Saturday that climate change didn't cause the Syrian conflict, but he said it did play a large role in making the situation worse. In a speech at the Milan Expo in Italy, Kerry said that climate change and the resulting food shortages play a... Read More

Iraq/Syria/Islamic State: How ISIS Built Its Own Multi-Million Dollar Industry by Attacking Oilfields [Video]
17 October 2015 | Hari Sreenivasan, PBS
The militant group known as the Islamic State or ISIS controls huge amounts of territory in Iraq and Syria. And ISIS finances much of its military operations from siphoning and selling the greatest commodity in Iraq and Syria: oil. Read More

China/South China Sea: China Suggests Joint South China Sea Drills with Asean
16 October 2015 | BBC
Beijing is currently hosting an informal meeting for defence ministers from the region. China's Defence Minister Chang Wanquan has suggested drills for "maritime rescues and disaster relief". China's reclamation activities in the sea in recent years have raised tensions with its neighbours. Read More

Rwanda: Exclusive Interview with Hon. Dr Vincent Biruta, Minister of Natural Resources
15 October 2015 | Mining Review Africa
The most exciting project currently happening in the Rwandan mining sector is the transformation of the industry from an artisanal-mining dominated industry to a well planned professional and mechanized industry. Read More

South Sudan/Sudan: Sudan, S. Sudan Agree to Demilitarize Border
14 October 2015 | Addis Getachew Tadesse, Anadolu Agency
After more than two years of negotiations, Sudan and South Sudan on Wednesday signed a deal to implement an earlier agreement to demilitarize their common border. The establishment of a Safe Demilitarized Border Zone (SDBZ) was first agreed in a deal signed on 27 September 2012. However, its implementation was delayed due to disagreements on security issues. Read More

Myanmar: Myanmar Steps up Renewables Investment with Plans for South East Asia’s Largest Solar Power Plant
14 October 2015 | BusinessGreen
Myanmar is to host a series of flagship solar projects, following a number of contract awards in recent weeks. US-based engineering giant Black & Veatch announced yesterday it has been appointed by Thailand-based developer Green Earth Power to provide design and consultancy services for a 220MW solar project in Myanmar,... Read More

Blogs & Opinion

In the last two weeks, 4 blogs & opinion pieces on environmental peacebuilding were posted on our website.

Will the European Endgame on Conflict Minerals Put an End to Financing Rape in the DRC?
26 October 2015 | Margot Wallström and Denis Mukwege
In the Eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), armed groups and criminal operators terrorize the population. Sexual violence against women is frequently used as a weapon to exert control over commerce, land, and the primary labor force in this largely agrarian region. Read More

'Greening' of a Dam Prompts Damning Accusations
26 October 2015 | Kyaw Phyo Tha
In Burma these days, there are really only two colors that people are talking about: red and green. Read More

Coffee Capsules Boost Business and Living Standards of South Sudanese Farmers
21 October 2015 | Antonio Pasolini
There’s much more to a cup of coffee than meets the eye - or the nose, for that matter. One of the most beloved hot drinks in the world, coffee is big business - and for that reason, it can also be a cataly​st of social good, too. Read More

Migratory Labor for Extractive Industries Creating “Sons of Soil” Conflict in China
14 October 2015 | Isabelle Côté
In May 2011, two weeks before I was scheduled to start research in the region, a Mongol herder named Mergen was hit by a mining truck while protecting his pastureland in Xilingol, Inner Mongolia. He was dragged 140 feet and killed. His death sparked a month of protests. 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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