Environmental Peacebuilding Update

Issue 68: 16 Aug 2016


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

IUCN World Conservation Congress: Planet at the Crossroads

1 September 2016 – 10 September 2016 | International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Hawai'i

Our planet is at a crossroads. The ecosystems that underpin our economies, well-being and survival are collapsing. Species are becoming extinct at unprecedented rates. Our climate is in crisis. And it’s all happening on our watch. Read More

Environmental Peacebuilding 1-Week Executive Training at Columbia University: Environment, Peace and Security

26 September 2016 – 30 September 2016 | Earth Institute, University of Columbia, Columbia University in the City 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


In the last two weeks, 29 new publications were added to our online library of materials on environmental peacebuilding. Here is a sampling of the new additions:

Conflict Mineral Reporting: A Deeper Look into RY2015 SEC Filings
Alexandria Bennett and Shanel Orton (Source Intelligence, 2016)
The 2016 SEC filings marked the third year of conflict minerals reporting. In this report, we analyze the SEC filings, across a range of metrics and provide key observations and trending data. Read More

How Climate Change and Failed Agricultural Policies Have Contributed to Conflict in Syria
Megan Perry (Sustainable Food Trust, 2016)
The conflict in Syria and the rise of Isis have displaced half a nation of people and generated the largest humanitarian crisis in the world today. Some 8.7 million people are now suffering food insecurity, and the country’s agricultural infrastructure has largely been destroyed. Read More

Role of Women in Artisanal Mining & Peacebuilding [Video]
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholar, 2016
Southern Voices Network Scholar, Maame Esi Eshun says that focusing on the role of women and improving conditions for those involved in artisanal mining in Africa can provide a major boost to regional peacebuilding efforts. Her findings and call to action provide the focus for this edition of Wilson Center NOW. Read More

Cacao for Peace (CFP) Overview
Global Agricultural Information Network, 2016
On January 15, 2016, USDA and USAID executed a participating agency program agreement (PAPA) titled Cacao for Peace. The overall objective of the project is to improve the cacao value chain in Colombia by strengthening key agricultural institutions in the public and private sectors through cooperative research, technical assistance, and... Read More

Will Illegal Fishing Ignite a Preventable Resurgence of Somali Piracy?
Oceans Beyond Piracy, 2015
Current conditions off Somalia echo those which led to the recent piracy crisis. However, the underreporting of small-scale attacks may be masking alarming trends. Read More

How Conflict and Climate Change are Triggering Witch Hunts
Even Fraser, Alexander Legwogoh, Krishna KC, and Marion Davis (Foreign Affairs, 2015)
In July, an angry mob in India dragged a 63-year-old mother of five out of her home and beheaded her after the local goddess accused her of casting evil spells. The victim was one of dozens in the southern state of Assam who have lost their lives due to accusations... Read More

Equitable Land Rights Promotion
Search for Common Ground, 2016
Increasingly, Sierra Leone has been encouraging new investment in the Agriculture sector. This effort has begun to yield results, with large scale investments in the agriculture in some parts of the country. The investments have resulted to the leasing of thousands of hectares of land from communities through land negotiations. Read More

Climate Change, Conflict, and Children
Richard Akresh (The Future of Children, 2016)
We have good reason to predict that a warming climate will produce more conflict and violence. A growing contingent of researchers has been examining the relationship in recent years, and they’ve found that hotter temperatures and reduced rainfall are linked to increases in conflict at all scales, from interpersonal violence... Read More

The Bangui Carousel: How the Recycling of Political Elites Reinforces Instability and Violence in the Central African Republic
Christopher Day (Enough Project, 2016)
The successful February 2016 election of President Faustin Archange Touadéra marks a new beginning for the Central African Republic (CAR) and provides hope that the country is now stabilizing after three years of violence and political transition. Read More

Local Conditions of Drought-Related Violence in Sub-Saharan Africa
Adrein Detges (Journal of Peace Research, 2016)
Despite growing concerns about the possible security implications of extreme precipitation shortfalls in vulnerable and politically fragile regions, the particular conditions that make armed violence more or less likely in times of drought remain poorly understood. Read More


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

DRC: Senior Consultant- Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo
16 August 2016 | Enough Project
The Senior Consultant on the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will be responsible for researching, investigating, and writing about the drivers of conflict and high-level corruption, focusing on conflict financing in eastern Congo. The role will require significant research in the DRC and the Great Lakes region, and particular... Read More

China: China Associate, Forest Legality Initiative
16 August 2016 | World Resources Institute
The Associate will be a key subject matter expert and will facilitate program management and contribute to the development of high quality project activities and research products that are designed to influence targeted audiences. The Associate will work with the Forest Legality Initiative (FLI), an international, multi-stakeholder initiative designed to... Read More

DRC: Central Africa Regional Strategy Lead, Forests
16 August 2016 | World Resources Institute
The World Resources Institute (WRI) seeks a Central Africa Regional Strategy Lead to lead development of national strategies, support work plan development, monitoring, communication and fund-raising across WRI’s Forest Program’s priority countries in the Congo Basin – with a particular focus on Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. Read More

Liberia: Economic Assessment Consultant (Deadline: 2016-08-24)
16 August 2016 | International Alert
International Alert is requesting ‘Expressions of Interest’ (EOI) from qualified and experienced specialists for a "Community Economic Needs and Opportunities Assessment" to be submitted by 31 October 2016. We are looking for someone with experience in conducting economic studies in West Africa, preferably in Liberia. Read More

International News

Iraq/Kurdistan: In Kurdistan, Beekeepers Sweeten Lives as Business Flourishes
15 August 2016 | Rawa Abdulla, Rudaw
Although the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources does not have specific data about the number of bees, beekeepers and their products, according to other data it is estimated that around 350,000 to 500,000 beehives and 10,000 beekeepers exist in the region. Read More

Still Sick 25 Years after the Gulf War, a Vet Seeks Answers — and the Minneapolis VA May Have Them
14 August 2016 | Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune
Today, researchers at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center are leading a wave of studies to solve the mystery of Gulf War Illness, a cluster of unexplained symptoms reported by 25 to 65 percent of the 700,000 soldiers deployed to the Gulf in 1990 and 1991. Read More

Climate Security: War on Climate Terror (II): Fleeing Disasters, Escaping Drought, Migrating
11 August 2016 | Baher Kamal, Inter Press Service
“No one can deny the terrible similarities between those running from the threat of guns and those fleeing creeping desertification, water shortages, floods and hurricanes.” Hardly a short, simply-worded statement could so sharply describe the ignored human drama of millions of victims of man-made wars, violence, poverty and disasters like... Read More

China/Vietnam/South China Sea: Sea Dispute Fallout Stokes Tensions between China and Vietnam
10 August 2016 | Michael Peel, Financial Times
Tensions are rising between Vietnam and China over an escalating regional sea territory dispute that has sparked allegations of missile deployments by Hanoi and cyber attacks by hackers aligned with Beijing. Military and cyber manoeuvres have grown more intense after an international legal judgment in favour of the Philippines in... Read More

Myanmar: Floods Caused by Limitless Abuse of Resource Extraction: Deputy Minister
10 August 2016 | Eleven Myanmar
Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation Dr Tun Win said yesterday that the flooding and natural disaster happening in Myanmar today are the consequences of the limitless abuse of forest and mine resources. Read More

Iran/Kurdistan: KRG Holding Back on Signing Oil Deal with Iran
8 August 2016 | Rudaw
Three months have passed since the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) was expected to ink an oil agreement with Iran, but the KRG has yet to make the final commitment and sign the deal. The deal with Tehran would give the KRG access to Iran’s Persian Gulf to ship its crude... Read More

Afghanistan: Afghanistan Learns about Korea's Soy Industry
7 August 2016 | Rachel Lee, Korea Times
Afghanistan government officials were in Korea to learn about the country's soy industry and the development process on August 7-13. Nutrition & Education International (NEI), a non-government organization, invited the 13-member Afghanistan delegation, including representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock, for training on how to develop a... Read More

Afghanistan/Iran: Iran, Afghanistan Exchange Views on Water, Security, Border Control
6 August 2016 | Tehran Times
Talks on a wide range of mutual concerns, particularly water shortage, terrorism, border control, and drug smuggling were the main themes of a session between Iranian Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani and Mohammad Hanif Atmar, national security advisor to the Afghan president on Saturday. Read More

Cambodia: Dozens March Against Sugar Company ‘Land Grabs’
5 August 2016 | Kann Vicheika, Voice of America
About 70 villagers from Koh Kong province delivered petitions to the government and European Union on Thursday to lodge complaints about alleged land grabbing by two sugar plantation firms. The protesters, representing 147 families from six villages in Koh Kong’s Sre Ambel and Botum Sakor districts, claim that Koh Kong... Read More

Africa: How Climate Change Fuels Conflict [Video]
4 August 2016 | Deutsche Welle
With temperatures soaring and drought increasing, many in Africa are losing their livelihoods. They are looking for other ways to survive, in some cases by turning to groups like Boko Haram. Read More

Colombia: Colombia’s New, Legal Drug Barons Focus on Medical Marijuana
4 August 2016 | Ezra Kaplan, New York Times
Last year, President Juan Manuel Santos spearheaded an overhaul of Colombia’s 30-year-old drug laws, which formally legalized medical marijuana for domestic use. Crucially, the new law also allowed the commercial cultivation, processing and export of medical marijuana products — like oils and creams — although not the flower, the part... Read More

Myanmar: Suu Kyi Tackles Military Land Grabs in Test of New Myanmar Government
3 August 2016 | Aubrey Belford, Hnin Yadana Zaw, and Antoni Slodkowski, Reuters
When Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) stormed to power in elections last November, its victory was fueled in part by rural anger over land seizures and the party’s pledge to provide redress. Just days after the NLD formed the first government since 1962 that is not backed by... Read More

Blogs & Opinion

In the last two weeks, 9 blogs & opinion pieces on environmental peacebuilding were posted on our website.

Vietnam’s Rocket Launchers May Prompt China to Declare Air Defense Zone
11 August 2016 | Harry Kazianis
It was inevitable, but nations in the South China Sea that have overlapping claims with the People’s Republic of China are now beginning to push back.  Yesterday, Reuters reported that Vietnam “has discreetly fortified several of its islands in the disputed South China Sea with new mobile rocket launchers capable of striking... Read More

A Resourceful Solution to Rapacious Mining Projects
11 August 2016 | Frontier Myanmar
Just weeks before last year’s election, Global Witness dropped a bombshell. In a report on the jade industry, Jade: Myanmar’s ‘Big State Secret’, it alleged that the illegal trade in jade was worth US$31 billion in 2014. Read More

Africa: War On Climate Terror - Fleeing Disasters, Escaping Drought, Migrating
11 August 2016 | Baher Kamal
While widespread violence and climate catastrophes are common to all continents and countries, there is an overwhelming consensus among experts, scientific community and international specialised organisations that Africa is the most impacted region by them. Read More

Liberia is at a Crossroads: Recognising Land Rights Can Safeguard Against Violence
10 August 2016 | Jennifer Duncan and Jaron Vogelsang
The government of Liberia has an unprecedented opportunity to pass progressive land reform legislation that could positively impact millions of people, but the window of opportunity is rapidly closing. If Liberia’s legislature doesn’t vote to adopt the draft Land Rights Act before it goes on recess on August 30, the... Read More

The Middle East: From Oil Wars to Water Wars?
10 August 2016 | Mike Safadi
In 1988, Egyptian Foreign Minister Boutros Boutros-Ghali said that the next war in the Middle East would be fought over water, not politics. What is the situation nearly 30 years on, as the region's water resources have dropped to precariously low levels and population figures have soared? Read More

Deep Trouble: Emerging Resource Competition in the Deep Sea
10 August 2016 | Scott Moore & Dale Squires
It might seem strange to say that the deep sea, the vast expanse of the world’s oceans beyond the continental shelf, is at risk of conflict and competition. After all, no one lives there, and as is often said, more is known about the surface of the moon than most... Read More

On the Humanitarian and Environmental Frontline in Iraq
10 August 2016 | Rene Nijenhuis
As the country battles the so-called Islamic State (IS) on multiple fronts, Iraq is also trying to prevent what could be one of the worst environmental and humanitarian disasters the world has ever witnessed – the collapse of the Mosul Dam. Read More

Friendships Rescue DRC’s Gorilla Reserve from Ruin
5 August 2016 | Eugene Yiga
Launched in 2013, the Virunga Alliance invests at least 30% of the Virunga National Park revenues into community development projects such as clinics, schools and better roads. The area’s high rainfall, coupled with its high mountains, means rivers are high in energy that can be converted into electricity. Read More

Oil Won't Save Libya
4 August 2016 | George Ward
Libya is precariously split between several factions vying for control. The UN-backed Government of National Accord, also called the unity government, formed in early 2016 and operates from Tripoli. The GNA faces an opposition body based in Tobruk, which collaborates with General Khalifa Hifter and his Libyan National Army (LNA). 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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