Environmental Peacebuilding Update

Issue 66: 19 Jul 2016


Environmental Peacebuilding at the World Conservation Congress
3 August 2016
Are you going to the 2016 World Conservation Congress? In addition to the many events related to environmental peacebuilding, ELI will convene an informal strategy meeting with people interested in environmental peacebuilding. The date and venue are to be determined.  Read More

Environmental Peacebuilding MOOC -- Feedback Sought on Draft Syllabus
16 July 2016 | MOOC Steering Committee
We are excited to share with you the draft syllabus for an Environmental Peacebuilding MOOC (massive open online course). In the next two weeks, we encourage you to send your edits, additions, and suggestions for the draft, whether regarding all aspects of the course or details for a specific module. Read More

Call for Abstracts for 2017 Warfare, Environment, Social Inequality, and Peace Studies (WESIPS) Biennial Conference
14 June 2016 | Center for Cross-Cultural Study
Over millennia, warfare, environmental degradation, and social inequality have brought much suffering to humankind. In an effort to facilitate interdisciplinary cross-fertilization, WESIPS brings together a cadre of internationally recognized scholars to address the underlying causes of warfare, environmental degradation, the advent of social complexity, and social inequality from a host... Read More


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

Best Practices in Conflict Minerals Compliance

26 July 2016 | Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, PA (ST&R) and Sandler & Travis Trade Advisory Services (STTAS), Online

Compliance with conflict minerals reporting requirements is of increasing concern to federal authorities, making it critical for affected companies to fully understand those requirements and how to source responsibly. This webinar will examine the first three years of conflict minerals reports, review specific case studies and extrapolate best practices based... Read More

Hiroshima and the DMZ: The Ethnology of Environmental Peacebuilding in Korea and Japan

26 July 2016 – 9 August 2016 | Peace Park Expeditions and Ohio University, South Korea and Japan

Experience the power and beauty of East Asian culture, language and ecology in the Hiroshima and the DMZ program. This summer will take students back in time as they learn about the practical and symbolic work of environmental peacebuilding in South Korea and Japan through the ages. Read More

Planetary Security Conference 2016

5 December 2016 – 6 December 2016 | Planet Security Initiative & Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Netherlands), The Hague, Netherlands

The Planetary Security Initiative is glad to announce the (tentative) dates for the second edition of the Planetary Security conference: 5 and 6 December, 2016. Venue will be, as last year, the Peace Palace in The Hague. Read More


In the last two weeks, 22 new publications were added to our online library of materials on environmental peacebuilding. Here is a sampling of the new additions:

The South China Sea Arbitration (The Republic of the Philippines v. The People’s Republic of China)
Permanent Court of Arbitration, 2016
A unanimous Award has been issued today by the Tribunal constituted under Annex VII to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (the “Convention”) in the arbitration instituted by the Republic of the Philippines against the People’s Republic of China. Read More

Overlapping Claims in the South China Sea [Infographic]
Amanda Macias (Reuters and Business Insider, 2016)
Six nations contest all or parts of the South China Sea, which has led to confrontations between China and some of its neighbors of the potentially oil-and-gas rich area. Here is a look at how each claim compares with the official exclusive economic zone (EEZ), the waters extending 200 nautical... Read More

The Rise of Environmental Crime: A Growing Threat to Natural Resources, Peace, Development and Security
Christian Nellemann, Rune Henriksen, Arnold Kreilhuber, Davyth Stewart, Maria Kotsovou, Patricia Raxter, Elizabeth Mrema, and Sam Barrat (UNEP and INTERPOL, 2016)
The slaughter of elephants and rhinos has raised awareness of the illegal trade in wildlife. We are facing mass extinctions and countries are losing iconic wildlife species. However, the scope and spectrum of this illegal trade has widened. Read More

Climate Change and Violent Conflict in East Africa -- Implications for Policy
Malin Mobjörk and Sebastian van Baalen (Stockholm University, Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 2016)
There is growing consensus among researchers that climate change can increase the risk of violent conflict under certain circumstances. Researchers also agree on the need for a better understanding of why, how and when this might occur. Read More

Land of the Unexpected: Natural Resource Conflict and Peace Building in Papua New Guinea
Kylie McKenna (Business, Peace and Sustainable Development, 2016)
Papua New Guinea (PNG) has long been a site of analysis for exploring the links between natural resources and conflict, having been cited as an example in prominent studies of the “natural resource curse” and used as a source of learning in international debates on corporate social responsibility (CSR). Read More

Weaponization of the Land and Property Rights System in the Syrian Civil War: Facilitating Restitution
Jon D. Unruh (Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, 2016)
The Syrian civil war has seen the weaponization of its land and property rights system by the primary combatant groups in the country. The government is the most robust in its use of the tenure system to locate, target, destroy, confiscate, cleanse and gain revenue by way of the institutions... Read More

Mass Claims in Land and Property following the Arab Spring: Lessons from Yemen
Jon D. Unruh (Stability: International Journal of Security & Development, 2016)
The Arab Spring uprisings have released a flood of land and property conflicts, brought about by decades of autocratic rule. Expropriations, corruption, poor performance of the rule of law, patronage and sectarian discrimination built up a wide variety of land and property transgressions over approximately 30 years. Read More

Actors and Networks in Resource Conflict Resolution under Climate Change in Rural Kenya
Grace W. Ngaruiya and Jürgen Scheffran (Earth System Dynamics, 2016)
The change from consensual decision-making arrangements into centralized hierarchical chieftaincy schemes through colonization disrupted many rural conflict resolution mechanisms in Africa. In addition, climate change impacts on land use have introduced additional socio-ecological factors that complicate rural conflict dynamics. Read More

River of Gold: How the State Lost Out in an Eastern Congo Gold Boom, While Armed Groups, a Foreign Mining Company and Provincial Authorities Pocketed Millions
Global Witness, 2016
An estimated $28 billion worth of gold lies under the soil in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (hereafter Congo). But the country’s gold wealth, the majority of which is artisanally mined, has long been ill-used. Preyed upon by armed groups, bandits and corrupt elites the revenues generated by eastern Congo’s artisanal... Read More

Climate Variability, Food Production Shocks, and Violent Conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa
Halvard Buhaug, Tor A. Benjaminsen, Espen Sjaastad, and Ole Magnus Theisen (Environmental Research Letters, 2015)
Earlier research that reports a correlational pattern between climate anomalies and violent conflict routinely refers to drought-induced agricultural shocks and adverse economic spillover effects as a key causal mechanism linking the two phenomena. Comparing half a century of statistics on climate variability, food production, and political violence across Sub-Saharan Africa,... Read More

Environmental Governance, Climate Change and Peacebuilding
Christian Altpeter (Folke Bernadotte Academy, 2016)
This brief summarizes the presentations and discussions from the eighth International Expert Forum (IEF) on environmental governance, climate change and peacebuilding. The purpose of the IEF was to unpack and revisit the links between environmental factors and issues pertaining to peace and conflict and to discuss how environmental governance and... Read More


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

North American Development and Policy Officer (Deadline: 2016-07-30)
6 July 2016 | EcoPeace Middle East
The Development and Policy Officer in North America is responsible for directing all aspects of EcoPeace's fundraising efforts and programs in North America. The officer will work together with the development department based in the region to develop advanced fundraising strategies and campaigns, research new methods of fundraising and determine... Read More

Livelihoods Research Consultant – Syria, Turkey, Jordan, and Iraq (Deadline: 2016-07-30)
11 July 2016 | International Alert
International Alert is requesting ‘Expressions of Interest’ from qualified and experienced specialists for a research assignment that begins in August 2016. As part of its strategic programme development in the Middle East region, and in response to the significant consequences and impact of the war in Syria, Alert would like... Read More

Egypt: Programme Policy Officer (Disaster Risk Reduction & Climate Adaption) (Deadline: 2016-07-31)
13 July 2016 | World Food Programme
The Regional Bureau in Cairo (RBC) is supporting countries across the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and Eastern European regions in reducing disaster risks, adapting to climate change and pursuing resilience strategies relevant to specific contexts. Read More

Sierra Leone: Energy Advisor (Deadline: 2016-08-07)
8 July 2016 | Adam Smith International
Adam Smith International was selected by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) to implement the second phase of the Presidential Delivery Unit project in Sierra Leone, alongside McKinsey (consortium lead) and the Tony Blair African Governance Initiative. Read More

International News

Colombia: Coca's Comeback Forces Colombia to Rethink Drug War
18 July 2016 | Joshua Goodman, Associated Press
After six straight years of declining or steady production, the amount of land under coca cultivation in Colombia began rising in 2014 and jumped 42 percent last year to 159,000 hectares (393,000 acres), according to the U.S. government. Read More

Iraq: Iraq's Marshes, Once Drained by Saddam, Named World Heritage Site
17 July 2016 | Reuters
A wetland in southeast Iraq, thought to be the biblical Garden of Eden and almost completely drained during Saddam Hussein's rule, has become a UNESCO world heritage site, Iraqi authorities said on Sunday. Fed by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the marshlands of Mesopotamia are spawning grounds for Gulf fisheries... Read More

Nigeria: Are the Niger Delta Militants Now Targeting Oil Facilities in the South West?
14 July 2016 | Adetula David, Ventures
On Tuesday night, suspected militants blew up a gas pipeline in the Ogijo area of Ogun state. Since the inauguration of President Buhari’s administration last year, this is the first reported attack on oil installations in the south-western part of Nigeria. Read More

Myanmar: Gems and Food Products Added to National Export Strategy
14 July 2016 | Chan Mya Htwe, Myanmar Times
The Ministry of Commerce has added gems and value-added food products to its National Export Strategy in the hope of creating thousands of new jobs. U Aung Soe, director at the ministry’s Trade Promotion Department, said yesterday the ministry would meet with gems entrepreneurs and food manufacturers to find out... Read More

China/South China Sea: China May Establish Air Defense Zone after Losing Court Ruling
13 July 2016 | Katie Hunt and Steven Jiang, CNN
China said Wednesday it has the right to set up an air defense zone in the hotly disputed South China Sea, a day after a landmark court ruling against Beijing's claims in the contested waters. Liu Zhenmin, China's vice foreign minister, told a press conference in Beijing that China's sovereignty... Read More

China/South China Sea: Tribunal Rejects Beijing’s Claims in South China Sea
12 July 2016 | Jane Perlez, New York Times
An international tribunal in The Hague delivered a sweeping rebuke on Tuesday of China’s behavior in the South China Sea, including its construction of artificial islands, and found that its expansive claim to sovereignty over the waters had no legal basis. Read More

DRC: DRC Declares First New National Park in 40 Years
12 July 2016 | Morgan Erickson-Davis, Mongabay
Late last week, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) government announced the creation of the country’s first new national park in more than four decades. Spanning an area of Congo Basin almost twice the size of the U.S. Read More

Sierra Leone: Agriculture is the Future of the Artisanal Diamond Miner – Chairman Kono Diamond Dealers
11 July 2016 | Awoko
Agriculture is the hope of the artisanal miners as diamonds are dwindling. It is now time to discuss with the people about diversification and on how to provide training as the soil is rich for agriculture, Prince Sahr Saquee Chairman Kono Diamond and Gold Dealers Association said in an interview... Read More

Africa: The Nile Project: Resolving Conflict into Harmony
8 July 2016 | Deutsche Welle
The Nile flows through 11 African nations and serves as key source of freshwater - but sharing this resource is politically tricky. A unique project works to resolve conflicts and promote sustainable use - through music. Read More

Iraq/United Kingdom/United States: US and Britain Wrangled over Iraq's Oil in Aftermath of War, Chilcot Shows
7 July 2016 | Terry Macalister, Guardian
The US and British governments fought bitterly over control of Iraq’s oil following the toppling of Saddam Hussein, the Chilcot papers show. Tony Blair seemed more concerned than the Americans about any invasion being seen by critics as a war for oil, telling them it would be very damaging if... Read More

Iraq/Islamic State: Satellite Photos Show Islamic State Installing Hundreds of Makeshift Oil Refineries to Offset Losses from Airstrikes
7 July 2016 | Joby Warrick, Washington Post
With its refineries mostly destroyed and its tanker fleet under constant attack, the Islamic State is increasingly turning to low-tech alternatives for processing oil, a vital source of revenue for the terrorist group, new satellite images reveal. Read More

Liberia: Open Letter from Goldman Prize Laureates
30 June 2016 | Goldman Environmental Prize winners
A host of Goldman Environmental Prize winners sent a letter to Liberia's Forest Development Authority (FDA) expressing their concerns at the FDA's plan to legalize conversion timber and its potential impact on Liberia's forests. Read More

Blogs & Opinion

In the last two weeks, 16 blogs & opinion pieces on environmental peacebuilding were posted on our website. Following is a sampling:

Hague Ruling Presents Vietnam with Opportunities and Dilemmas
18 July 2016 | Le Hong Hiep
The Permanent Court of Arbitration’s ruling on the Philippines’ case against China is a historic milestone in the evolution of the South China Sea dispute. Vietnam stands to benefit significantly from the award, but also faces some negative implications for its claims in the Spratlys. Read More

Pak-Afghan Hydro Diplomacy
17 July 2016 | Syed Muhammad Abubakar
Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan have never been great. They have been subjected to various complexities over the past few decades — the issues in question being related to border disputes especially the recent skirmishes at Torkham border crossing, the 1978–to date war, the refugee crisis, Taliban insurgency and the... Read More

What’s at Stake in China’s Claims to the South China Sea?
14 July 2016 | Scott L. Montgomery
While the South China Sea has been a source of territorial dispute for many years, involving all of its bounding nations, China has been particularly aggressive of late, building artificial islands, installing military facilities, drilling for oil and gas, and chasing off the boats of its Southeast Asian neighbors from... Read More

Oil and ISIS: If We Hadn’t Needed One, the Other Wouldn’t Exist
11 July 2016 | Ian Reifowitz
The moral responsibility for murders lies solely with those who carried them out, those who ordered them, and those who encouraged them. But beyond responsibility lies the question of how ISIS came to be, and what can be learned from this history. Read More

Illegal Mining is Fuelling Conflict in Afghanistan and China Can Play a Major Role in Curbing This
9 July 2016 | Stephen Carter
For 6,500 years, Afghanistan has been famous for the brilliant blue lapis lazuli, coveted by everybody from the Egyptian pharaohs to the common jewellers of today. These days mining of the precious stone is funding illegal armed groups and driving extremism and corruption in the northern province of Badakhstan, a... Read More

War, Peace, and Climate: How Carbon Trading Can Help Avert Resource Wars
8 July 2016 | Steve Zwick
Liberian environmentalist Silas Siakor knows all too well what can happen to a fragile nation when a dictator hijacks its commodity sector, as warlord Charles Taylor did in the 1990s - first by using slave labor and “blood diamonds” to finance a devastating civil war in neighboring Sierra Leone, and... Read More

U.S. House Votes to Undermine Transparency and Conflict-Free Supply Chains in Democratic Republic of Congo
7 July 2016 | Enough Project
Efforts to support peace, corporate accountability, and transparency in the Democratic Republic of Congo faced a setback today, as the House of Representatives passed an amendment introduced by Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI) to defund implementation of the Security Exchange Commission (SEC)’s rule to address conflict minerals.  Read More

Reviving a Jaded Peace Process: Why Natural Resources Must be a Top Priority in Efforts to End Conflict in Kachin State
6 July 2016 | Mike Davis
Delivering peace in Myanmar is the top priority of the country’s first democratically elected government in over 60 years. A close analysis of the recent spike in fighting in northern Kachin State shows that won’t be possible unless those at the table tackle the role of natural resources, particularly jade,... 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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