Environmental Peacebuilding Update

Issue 52: 5 Jan 2016


Environmental Peacebuilding: 2015 in Review
5 January 2016 | ELI and UNEP
The field of environmental peacebuilding continued to grow quickly in 2015. We are pleased to share with you some highlights from the Environmental Peacebuilding partnership and from the broader field. Read More

NR&E Fall 2016 Call for Article Proposals (Water Conflict)
4 January 2016 | ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources’ magazine Natural Resources & Environment
The ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources’ magazine Natural Resources & Environment will devote its Fall 2016 issue to articles on Water Conflicts. The editors of NR&E are looking for articles discussing substantive legal issues arising over conflicting views about—and economic interests in—water rights and water management, whether federal,... Read More


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

Environment, Peace, and Security Certification - Information Session

6 January 2016 | 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

Climate Change, Disasters, and Security: Unconventional Approaches to Building Stability

14 January 2016 | Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars Environmental Change and Security Program, Washington, D.C.

Natural disasters are expected to increase in both number and severity as a result of climate change. Many places lack the resources and institutional capacity for disaster prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery. As a result, climate-related natural disasters can act as a threat multiplier, undermining the stability of nations and... Read More

Meeting on Environmental Impacts of Syria Conflict

25 January 2016 | Emergency Preparedness and Environment Section (Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit), Geneva, Switzerland

The Joint United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)/OCHA Environment Unit (JEU), housed within OCHA’s Emergency Services Branch, helps Member States to prepare for and respond to environmental emergencies. Read More


In the last two weeks, 21 new publications were added to our online library of materials on environmental peacebuilding. Here is a sampling of the new additions:

Regional Challenges to Land Restitution and Peace in Colombia: The Case of the Lower Atrato
Jairo Baquero Melo (Journal of Peacebuilding & Development, 2015)
Government policies and practices of land restitution may impede Colombia's peace process. Given the rural origin of the contemporary Colombian armed conflict, peacebuilding and land restitution policies are linked. Based on a qualitative study undertaken by the author, this article analyses regional challenges to the implementation of land restitution policies... Read More

Evaluation of Environmental Peacemaking Intervention Strategies in Jordan-Palestine-Israel
Marina Djernaes, Teis Jorgensen, and Elizabeth Koch-Ya'ari (Journal of Peacebuilding & Development, 2015)
Working in an ever-changing political context presents a set of unique challenges to sustainable peacemaking, and requires the continuous adaptation of approaches. This briefing shares key insights from the latest external evaluation of EcoPeace's (formerly Friends of the Earth Middle East) programme, building on sustainable environmental solutions paired with enhanced trust and... Read More

The Prize: Fighting for Libya’s Energy Wealth
Claudia Gazzin (Crisis Group, 2015)
Libya’s economic conditions could turn sharply for the worse, as rival authorities vie to control rapidly shrinking national wealth. The struggle affects oil fields, pipelines and export terminals, as well as the boardrooms of national financial institutions. Read More

¿Y Cómo se Repara al Medio Ambiente?
(And, How to Repair the Environment?)
Juan David Ortiz Franco (Pacifista, 2015)
La mancha de petróleo llegó al Pacífico. Las barreras que pusieron los expertos de las compañías petroleras para evitarlo no fueron suficientes. El jueves Juan Carlos Echeverri, presidente de Ecopetrol, reconoció que un pequeño hilo de crudo se filtró por uno de los brazos del río Mira y desembocó en... Read More

The Effectiveness of Treaty Design in Addressing Water Disputes
Sara McLaughlin Mitchell and Neda A. Zawahari (Journal of Peace Research, 2015)
We examine the design features of treaties governing international rivers and empirically test their effectiveness in managing water disputes. We expect peaceful conflict management to be more successful and militarized conflict to be less likely in dyadic river claims when riparians share membership in treaties with mechanisms for river basin... Read More

From Scarcity to Security, Water as a Potential Factor for Conflict and Cooperation in Southern Africa
Wanjiku Kaniaru (South African Journal of International Affairs, 2015)
Water scarcity has emerged as a compelling non-military security issue that justifies an expanded human security agenda. This article argues that a buttressed notion of mutual interdependence is critical to the prospects of enhanced hydropolitical cooperation over shared water resources in Southern Africa. Read More

Conflict and Cooperation over Water - The Role of the EU in Ensuring the Realisation of Human Rights
Inga Winkler (European Parliament, Directorate General for External Policies, 2015)
The human right to water has been firmly established and its implications for policy-making have been discussed in many fields. Thus far, this has hardly been the case for conflicts over water. This study discusses what it means to integrate human rights in the context of governing water and addressing... Read More

The Elements of Power: Gadgets, Guns, and the Struggle for a Sustainable Future in the Rare Metal Age
David S. Abraham (Yale University Press, 2015)
Our future hinges on a set of elements that few of us have even heard of. In this surprising and revealing book, David S. Abraham unveils what rare metals are and why our electronic gadgets, the most powerful armies and indeed the fate of our planet depend on them. These metals have... Read More

Warriors and Weather: Climate Change and National Security in America [Video]
Economist, 2015
The Economist recently produced a short video, Warriors and weather: Climate change and national security in America. It’s a good overview of some of the issues the U.S. Department of Defense is grappling with in regards to climate change. To view the video, click the link below. Read More


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

Egypt: Programme Policy Officer (Resilience Building Livelihoods) P4 (Deadline: 2016-01-06)
23 December 2015 | UN World Food Programme
The Cairo Regional Bureau (RBC) is supporting local and national recovery, rehabilitation, “resilience building” and livelihoods protection strategies and efforts. Several Country Offices (COs) have already started to integrate “resilience building” into their strategies, programmes, and initiatives, and there are good examples of such interventions delivered in very different contexts... Read More

International: Researchers for Resource Governance (Deadline: 2016-01-09)
4 January 2016 | Natural Resource Governance Institute
The Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) helps people to realize the benefits of their countries’ endowments of oil, gas and minerals. We do this through technical advice, advocacy, applied research, policy analysis, and capacity development. We work with innovative agents of change within government ministries, civil society, the media, legislatures,... Read More

U.K.: Campaigner (Deadline: 2016-01-31)
24 December 2015 | Land and Environmental Defenders
Global Witness’ Land and Environmental Defenders Campaign aim is for ‘defenders’(including communities, activists, lawyers, journalists, civil society organisations and indigenous people) working on environmental and land rights to be able to carry out their work without fear of killing, persecution, intimidation or threats to their lives, families or colleagues. Read More

International News

Myanmar: Power Project Generates Anxiety
4 January 2016 | Oliver Slow, Frontier Myanmar
The Ministry of Electric Power estimates that demand for electricity will rise by between 13 percent and 15 percent a year in the coming years. It has made power generation a priority and its plans include building 11 coal-fired plants; four in Yangon Region, three in Tanintharyi Region, and one... Read More

Syria/Islamic State: Weaponizing Syria’s Water
4 January 2016 | Alisa Reznick, Boston Review
By spring 2015, Ain al-Fijah had become a ghost town, marked by crude barricades and rebel checkpoints, and its water had been weaponized. In the deadlocked fight between the regime and insurgents, Ain al-Fijah represents a kind of nuclear option: cutting its flow parches Assad’s stronghold, but the cost to... Read More

Afghanistan: Salma Dam: Another Key Indian Project in Afghanistan
31 December 2015 | Ranjana Narayan, The Statesman
India’s major development works in Afghanistan are going at a fast pace. The parliament building was inaugurated in Kabul last week by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while another key project, the mega Salma Dam, is already nearing completion and being looked forward to by the Afghan people. Read More

Colombia: Landmines in Colombia Biggest Challenge for Post-War Nation
30 December 2015 | Maria Myka, LATINONE
After decades of war, the Colombian government has finally negotiated peace with the rebel group called the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). However, despite the ceasefire, Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas said that there are still landmines around part of the South American nation, which remains to be the... Read More

Iraq/Syria/Islamic State: Thousands of Foreign Workers Help ISIS Keep its Crude Oil Flowing
29 December 2015 | ARA News
The extremist group of Islamic State (ISIS) has recruited thousands of workers with experience in the oil industry to help the group keep crude pumping from the wells of the ISIS-held oil fields in Syria and Iraq. Read More

South Sudan: Deadly Famine Looms in South Sudan
25 December 2015 | Richard Nield, Al Jazeera
More than two years after the outbreak of civil war in South Sudan, tens of thousands of South Sudanese face starvation, say NGOs. More than a third of South Sudan's population are classified as "severely food and nutrition insecure," an 80 percent increase compared to 2014, according to the latest... Read More

Cote d’Ivoire/Liberia/Sierra Leone/Guinea: US$2bn Power Transmission Line for 4 MRU States
23 December 2015 | Global News Network
A 225kv power transmission line costing over US2 billion is to be constructed linking the four Mano River Union (MRU) states to serve the expanding West African regional electricity market. This was disclosed in the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy 2015 annual report covering the period January to December 2015. Read More

Iraq/Kurdistan: Oil Tears Iraq to Pieces
23 December 2015 | Rufiz Hafizoglu, Trend
The division of the Arab countries of the Middle East on a mini "state" is a painful process accompanied by military actions. The common religion and interests, that previously united the Muslim peoples of Syria, Iraq, destroy the historic alliance between these nations now because they are under the monopoly... Read More

Blogs & Opinion

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

Donald Trump’s First Campaign Ad Promises Blood for Oil
4 January 2016 | Jeet Heer
The long-awaited ad contains a curious line: “He’ll quickly cut the head off of ISIS and take their oil.” ISIS, of course, controls oil fields that properly belong to the people of Iraq and Syria, but Trump wants those resources for the United States. Read More

The Business of War
3 January 2016 | Asad Zaman
As plans for war against Syria heat up, new myths are being manufactured to support it. In line with Major General Smedley Butler’s thesis, we must look past the smokescreens of the Islamic State (IS) and oppression of Syrians, and follow the money, to understand the reasons for the war. Read More

U.S. Policy Shifts from Détente to Deterrence in the South China Sea
28 December 2015 | Andrew Lam
In geopolitics, when détente fails, it's time for deterrence, and nowhere more so than in the South China Sea. China's expansionist designs on the region's strategic shipping lanes and untapped natural resources are turning it into the next global hotspot. Last month, the U.S. Read More

Liberia’s Economic Diversification Bill: It’s Better, but Seems Too Late
27 December 2015 | Samuel Goteh
In the past centuries, Liberia’s model for economic development has been predominantly natural resource-driven and revenues generation for government’s operations have mainly come from the sales or trading of rubber, iron ore, timber and recently with the discovery of oil. Read More

The Rare Metal Age
23 December 2015 | Greg Klein
Read this book and you might want to renounce technology to live in a cave—provided it’s equipped with battery rechargers. Author David S. Abraham brings out some of the paradoxes of our dependency on increasingly elusive minerals while explaining the complicated but murky background of interconnected economic, social and geopolitical forces. 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
December, 2015 2555 4579 1961
November, 2015 2531 6059 1928
October, 2015 2526 4955 1877
September, 2015 2519 5298 1834
August, 2015 2515 4744 1786
November, 2013 298 5866 108

Compiled by Gretchen Ellison, Natalia Jiménez Galindo, Liz Hessami, Janina Laurent, Jeremy Walker, 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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