Abdel-Samad, M. and A. Khoury. 2006. Water Scarcity in the Middle East: Balancing Conflict, Development, and Survival in Turkey, Syria and Iraq. Journal of Peacebuilding & Development 3 (1): 63-74.

This article highlights the importance of water as a source of conflict in the Middle East and as an element of peacebuilding and development. It studies the internal and external factors that create and increase water scarcity – and thus the prospects for conflict – between Turkey, Syria and Iraq. The causes and impacts of water scarcity are examined and possible solutions are presented for reducing scarcity and achieving development and peace in these neighbouring countries.


Alleson, I., J. Levin, S. Brenner, and M. S. Al Hmaidi. 2013. Peace and Pollution: An Examination of Palestinian-Israeli Trans-Boundary Hazardous Waste Management 20 Years after the Oslo Peace Accords. Journal of Peacebuilding & Development 8 (1): 15-29.

As part of the Oslo Accords, Israel and the Palestinian Authority agreed to jointly manage issues of environmental concern according to internationally recognised standards. The purpose of this paper is to qualitatively evaluate the outcomes of the Palestinian–Israeli Oslo environmental peace agreements regarding trans-boundary hazardous waste management. Hazardous waste is an area of particular importance given the potential for inefficient management to impact on public health and shared ecological resources. Although the environmental negotiations that took place within the framework of the Oslo Accords can be seen as a significant milestone for environmental cooperation, many objectives were never achieved. Ultimately, both parties were left with suboptimal trans-boundary management, in practice, because broader political disputes derailed cooperation in many technical spheres. This outcome can be attributed to four main factors: Israeli security concerns, territorial disputes, logistical ambiguities and Palestinian institutional constraints. The outcomes of the environmental agreements challenge neo-functionalist approaches to peacebuilding at the inter-state level. Given the risks environmental concerns pose to both sides, new models are needed that disentangle the management of immediately shared environmental challenges from the ongoing conflict.


Arai, T. 2012. Rebuilding Pakistan in the Aftermath of the Floods: Disaster Relief as Conflict Prevention. Journal of Peacebuilding and Development 7 (1): 51-65.

In July and August 2010, Pakistan faced floods on an unprecedented scale that affected some 20 million people. Focus group interviews conducted in severely affected communities demonstrated a decline in the availability of accessible renewable resources to the point of increasing the potential for civil violence. These manifestations of environmental scarcity included strained landlord-tenant relations and other forms of structural inequity that magnified the devastating socio-economic effects of the floods. The article concludes with recommendations for conflict-sensitive measures to facilitate post-disaster recovery and defines humanitarian relief as an integral part of national security and conflict prevention in Pakistan.


Barquet, K., Lujala, P. and Rød. J.K. 2014. Transboundary conservation and militarized interstate disputes. Political Geography 42: 1-11. DOI: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2014.05.003

Advocates of transboundary conservation argue that borderlands can be a source of cooperation between neighboring states that previously engaged in conflict. It has been stated that, by opening negotiation channels based on environmental issues, jointly managed cross-border protected areas can promote and reinforce harmonious relations between contiguous states. We explore this assertion by empirically testing how transboundary protected areas (TBPAs) are related to militarized interstate disputes (MIDs) between contiguous states. Through the use of global data on protected areas and MIDs, we find that TBPAs tend to be established between countries that have previously been engaged in MIDs. We also find some evidence that TBPAs can be related to a more peaceful co-existence between neighboring countries in Africa, Middle East, and Asia.


Brown, K. 2006. War Economies and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding: Identifying a Weak Link. Journal of Peacebuilding & Development 3 (1): 6-19.

While the international community has in the last several years appreciated the close links between conflict and natural resource exploitation, current efforts to transform war economies in post-conflict peacebuilding fall short of the goal. This article charts the pervasive effects of war economies – and specifically lootable resources such as diamonds and timber – in post-conflict contexts, as well as the inclusion of natural resources in the language and implementation of United Nations mission mandates in countries where economic predation has played an important role. This preliminary mapping exercise of Cambodia, Angola, Sierra Leone and Liberia highlights certain innovations in the UN’s approach, yet demonstrates that post-conflict war economies continue to jeopardise expensive and well-intentioned reconstruction activities like disarmament, demobilisation and reconstruction programmes, transitional justice and security sector reform.


Bruch, C., M. Baoulicault, S. Talati, and D. Jensen. 2012. International Law, Natural Resources and Post-conflict Peacebuilding: From Rio to Rio+20 and Beyond. Review of European Community and International Environmental Law 21 (1): 44-62.

Since the end of the Cold War, peacebuilding efforts and international environmental law have developed independently and in very different manners. Experiences in managing natural resources to support post-conflict peacebuilding in dozens of countries over the past twenty years, however, highlight the critical role that natural resources often play. The 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) provides an opportunity to consider the lessons from these experiences and provide a vision for future consolidation of approaches. This article reviews the development of peacebuilding, highlighting the importance of natural resources. It then surveys the status of international law governing post-conflict peacebuilding, including international environmental law. Looking forward, it considers the likely directions of international law in governing post-conflict peacebuilding, concluding with thoughts on how to capitalize on Rio+20 to advance more effective approaches.


Burt, M. and B.J. Keiru. 2011. Strengthening post-conflict peacebuilding through community water-resource management: case studies from Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, and Liberia. Water International 36 (2): 232-241.

This article highlights the importance of water-resource management and its contribution to peacebuilding. It presents learning from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan and Liberia. The article showcases the positive contribution empowered communities can make to public-health improvement, good water governance, economic revitalization, and restoration of peace. It lays emphasis on how equitable and sustainable management of water resources can contribute towards peacebuilding in post-conflict environments by supporting basic human needs, livelihoods, economic revitalization, public health improvement and restoration of cooperation at all levels of society.


Conca, K. and J. Wallace. 2009. Environment and Peacebuidling in War-torn Societies: Lessons from the UN Environment Programme’s Experience with Postconflict Assessment. Global Governance 15 (4): 485-504.

Environmental challenges create high-stakes choices in war-torn societies. Handled well, they may create a solid foundation for peace and sustainable development; handled poorly, they risk undercutting an already tenuous peace. In this article, we identify patterns and lessons from the work of the UN Environment Programme’s Post-Conflict and Disaster Management Branch, which has conducted postconflict assessments in several war-torn societies over the past decade. PCDMB’s experience sheds considerable light on the nature of conflict-related environmental challenges, identifies possible entry points for environmental initiatives in peacebuilding, and suggests cautions about the requirements for environmental initiatives to be peacebuilding tools. We identify four themes emerging from their work: the multiple and often indirect links between violent conflict and environmental degradation; the political dimensions of environmental assessment as a confidence-building tool; resource and environmental linkages among the different segments of war-torn economies; and the environmental dimensions of reconstituting the state, regulation, and the rule of law.


Evans, D. 2004. Using Natural Resources Management as a Peacebuilding Tool: Observations and Lessons from Central Western Mindanao. Journal of Peacebuilding and Development 1 (3): 57-70 

The conflict in Mindanao, Philippines, is widely presented as a religious one, often within a wider Southeast Asian context. Yet many of the underlying disputes and tensions are the result of local issues revolving around ownership, use and access to land and natural resources and the resultant impact upon livelihoods. At the local level in Mindanao peacebuilding activities need to address these livelihood issues. A number of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the area already have separate peacebuilding and natural resource management activities, yet they seem unable to link the two, both within their programmes and at a conceptual level. This paper argues that at the practical level these management activities have the potential, when used together, to reduce communal conflict and address basic human needs. The paper is based primarily on interviews with local NGO practitioners, and though not exhaustive, it provides a number of interesting lessons that have significance beyond Mindanao.


Gary, L.C. 2002. Environmental policy, land rights, and conflict: rethinking community natural resource management programs in Burkina Faso. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 20 (2): 167-182.

In this paper I will examine the effects of the implementation of the Gestion des Terroirs approach in several villages in the cotton-growing region of southwestern Burkina Faso, an area of both extensive immigration and fast-paced socioeconomic change. Efforts to restructure land-tenure relations have failed, despite the rhetoric of participatory development, because projects misunderstand the nature of changing land rights, agricultural practices, and village social relations. Failures of efforts to zone land have been exacerbated because land has become a major site of conflict. Population growth and agricultural growth have led to land shortages, intensified competition, and overt conflict. Efforts to restructure landholding by using participatory development methods have had unintended consequences as individuals and groups manipulate meanings and representations about rights to land and land-management strategies in order to lay claim to land. On the one hand some local farmers are attempting to expel migrant farmers from land by invoking notions of who is and who is not using environmentally sound management practices. Migrant farmers, on the other hand, are fearful of leaving land fallow because they fear that the project or their local hosts will take it away from them. Both of these outcomes have increased tension among ethnic and generational groups and fostered mistrust of the motivations of environmental projects. Instead of homogeneous cooperative entities, villages are often based on conflict and competition. Projects, therefore, should focus on conflict resolution and reconciliation when attempting to restructure how natural resources are allocated.


Griffin, P.J. and S.H. Ali. 2014. Managing transboundary wetlands: the Rasmar convention as a means of ecological diplomacy. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences 4 (3): 230-239.

Shared conservation projects, especially those involving water, can help build trust and confidence between bordering countries to build or maintain peace. The essential nature of water has brought countries such as Pakistan and India together to develop the Indus Water Treaty, a shared management plan. The Ramsar Convention is an international environmental agreement addressing wetland conservation with a key provision that acknowledges wetlands may transcend political boundaries. These are defined as transboundary wetlands. Shared management of these systems provides an opportunity to build trust among neighbors, hence the prospect for “ecological diplomacy.” Enlisting the scientific process into diplomacy can address issues of uncertainty related to hydrological resources and help create more resilient agreements. Prioritizing countries with Ramsar transboundary wetlands according to the Global Peace Index, which ranks countries according to their prospects for peace, reveals participating countries with the greatest need for peacebuilding. With over 40 years of experience, the Convention has built a significant measure of international trust, though it often operates “under the radar.” This is an underutilized diplomatic opportunity. A more proactive approach to transboundary wetland conservation can provide new diplomatic energy to help end conflicts and build peace.


Haddadin. M. J. 2011. Water: triggering cooperation between former enemies. Water International 36 (2): 178-185.

This paper reveals the role of the good offices of the United States to facilitate understanding between two enemies, Jordan and Israel, prior to the conclusion of a peace treaty between them in October 1994. It further addresses the basis of agreement on water-related matters between the two states, and the role water has played in triggering cooperation between these two former enemies. Lessons learned, from a Jordanian perspective, during the conflict, negotiations and post-conflict eras that lasted for decades are discussed, and a brief outlook to the future is presented.


Hallward, M.C. 2006. Natural Resource Transformation: Incorporating Identity. Journal of Peacebuilding and Development 3 (1): 48-62.

Natural resource issues provide a useful context for analysing and intervening in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because environmental destruction harms both Israelis and Palestinians given their close proximity in a small, ecologically fragile landscape. This article argues that because Israeli and Palestinian national narratives both assume a special relationship between their peoples and the land, a traditional natural resources management (NRM) approach treating land as a finite resource to be ‘managed’ or divided will not help to resolve the issue. Instead, politicians, scholars and practitioners should draw upon the principles of conflict transformation in designing intervention strategies and work to create a new ‘ecological’ narrative that weaves the long-term wellbeing of the two peoples together with the environment. Looking at the conflict over land in one location along the route of the separation barrier, the author applies a natural resource transformation framework in analysing the land conflict between Israeli authorities, the settlement of Zufin and the villagers of Jayyous.


Jarraud, N.S. and A. Lordos. 2012. Participatory approaches to environmental conflict resolution in Cypress. Conflict Resolution Quarterly 29 (3): 261-281.

There are four conceptual relationships between the environment and conflict: the environment as a tool for conflict resolution, or as a source of conflict, environmental damage as a result of conflict, and the creation of de-facto ecological havens in demilitarized zones. The focus of this article is on Cyprus, which has been divided since 1974, and where since the late 1990s the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been involved in testing different methodologies for leveraging environmental issues as entry points for conflict resolution. This has involved a growing realization that environment is at its most powerful as a peace-building tool when it is combined with a focus on citizen participation.


Langholz, J., K. Sand, L. Raak, A. Berner, H. Anderson, B. Geels, A. McKeehan, and A. Nelsen. 2013. Strategies and tactics for managing environmental conflicts: insights from Goldman Environmental Prize recipients. Journal of Natural Resources Policy Research 5 (1): 1-17.

Disputes over minerals, forests, wildlife, water, and other natural resources continue to rise in frequency and intensity across much of the world. Few scholars have described specific approaches to addressing these disputes, and none have done so systematically across multiple locations with a uniform nomenclature. This article fills part of that gap by analyzing approaches taken by Goldman Environmental Prize recipients. Based on 126 cases spanning 78 countries, 21 years, and 588 actions, we classify environmental conflict management strategies and tactics embodied in this rich data set. The resulting typology offers scholars a systematic lexicon for understanding, describing, and comparing conflict management strategies and tactics, with an emphasis on grassroots efforts. It also provides policymakers and practitioners with a rich tool box of proven approaches for addressing natural resource conflicts.


Martin, A. 2005. Environmental Conflict Between Refugees and Host Communities. Journal of Peace Research 42 (3): 329-346.

Much of the existing environmental security literature examines the causal linkages between environmental scarcity and violent conflict. Such research is clearly useful for exploring the causes of violence but less useful for exploring the causes of peace. This article adopts a theoretical approach to the environment-conflict nexus that considers a range of local variables that shape the ways in which actors socially construct resource use competition. The basic approach is to accept that any resource use competition can be constructed in ways that engender either cooperative solutions or unproductive forms of conflict, including violence. The local variables that shape actors’ constructions of conflicts are, therefore, viewed as the determinants of the kind of outcomes that result from a resource use conflict. This theoretical approach is developed with reference to environmental conflicts in areas hosting refugees. The variable of resource management regimes is explored in more detail, illustrated by a case study from an Ethiopian refugee camp. The article finds theoretical and empirical evidence to support the view that participatory and inclusive resource management regimes may enable communities to construct resource use conflicts in ways that help to prevent unproductive conflict. Such forms of governance can potentially be initiated in places where the state is failing to mitigate conflict through its own institutional resources. Thus, there may be an opportunity to respond to the ‘ingenuity gap’ that Homer-Dixon identifies as a key linkage between scarcity and conflict.


Matthew, R. 2014. Integrating climate change into peacebuilding. Climatic Change 123 (1): 83- 93.

Peacebuilding countries are concentrated in areas of heightened vulnerability to climate change impacts, and almost certainly lack the capacity to manage these impacts. In spite of this overlap, climate change adaptation and mitigation projects are typically excluded from peacebuilding activities. This is particularly alarming given that many analysts believe climate change will trigger, amplify or perpetuate humanitarian crises, population displacement, political extremism and violent conflict in the regions in which most peacebuilding operations take place. This paper investigates opportunities for integrating climate change into peacebuilding. It identifies three obstacles to this integration-the lack of climate change tools and policies that can be easily introduced into typical peacebuilding programming; the skepticism and complacency of the donor community; and tensions between the objectives and timeframes of peacebuilding and those of climate change response. The paper then examines opportunities to integrate climate change into four principal programmatic areas of peacebuilding-socio-economic recovery, politics and governance, security and rule of law, and human rights-and concludes that more attention needs to be given to these opportunities in order to build resilience and reduce the likelihood of more daunting and costly challenges in the future.


McCandless, E. and W.T. Christie. 2006. Moving Beyond Sanctions: Evolving Integrated Strategies to Address Post-Conflict Natural Resource-Based Challenges in Liberia. Journal of Peacebuilding & Development 3 (1): 20-35.

Liberia is emerging from 14 years of war where it served as the epicentre in West Africa of conflict fuelled by disputes over natural resources. Almost three years after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement there remain resource-rich, poorly managed areas where ex-combatants wield considerable power due to lack of law-and- order capacity and alternative livelihood opportunities. Gaining government control of such areas and prohibiting the use of timber and diamonds to fuel conflict are central to the lifting of sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council in May 2003. This article examines the efforts of the Liberian government, the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and other international partners to evacuate Sapo National Park as a case study for establishing control of natural resources – an important post-conflict challenge that can undermine the building of peace. Critical components of what worked are examined in an effort to design and implement an integrated strategy, as are ongoing operational, coordination and other challenges. The case study illustrates the complexity of issues raised by, and the need to move beyond, sanctions for peace to be sustainable in resource-rich countries emerging from war.


Milburn, R. 2012. Mainstreaming the environment into postwar recovery: the case for ‘ecological development.’ International Affairs 88(5): 1083-1100.

Twenty years on from the original Rio Summit and the emergence of sustainable development, which first raised awareness of the importance of the environment to humanitarian development, significant strides have been taken to integrate environmental considerations into humanitarian development, but such considerations still remain largely ostracized from core security and humanitarian theory and practice. An important issue and opportunity is therefore being ignored. This article argues that an evolutionary step beyond sustainable development is now required, both to unite under a common banner the work on this subject carried out to date, and to encourage further practical and theoretical work to be carried out to mainstream the environment into postwar recovery. To enable this transition, this article suggests adopting the concept of ‘ecological development’. This concept of using the management and development of the environmental resources of water and biodiversity to mitigate conflict, promote peacebuilding and a transition from conflict towards peace—and a subsequent durable post-conflict recovery—is then expounded, demonstrated through case-studies of two very different conflicts, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Afghanistan. The article concludes that through the implementation of ecological development, environmental management should be mainstreamed into security and humanitarian development theory and practice in order to promote a more durable and effective methodology for post-conflict recovery in the twenty-first century.


Pertocelli, T., S. Newport, and D. Hamro-Drotz. 2013. Climate Change and Peacebuilding in the Sahel. Peace Review 25 (4): 546-551.

The article discusses how climatic changes affect the Sahel and potential conflict in the region. Increasing floods, droughts, and desertification will affect food and water security and natural resource availability. These may result in migration, conflict at a local level, and political destabilisation. Topics mentioned include water access to Lake Chad, recent political problems in Mali, and the need for international cooperation in the region.


Rwabizambuga, A. 2007. Environmental security and development. Conflict, Security & Development 7 (1): 201-225.

The development policy community has recently awakened to the importance of security as an important dimension of development policies and a basic pre-condition for their success. This paper seizes the opportunity to highlight the linkage between human security and development, and environmental security. It argues that the link is particularly strong in developing countries where human security is closely tied to peoples’ access to natural resources. Drawing on a number of case studies where communities have increasingly endured hardships linked with environmental deterioration and resource scarcity, the author points to the fact that, any efforts to better the lives of peoples may be unsuccessful if they fail to conserve and enhance essential resources and life support systems.1 While the security literature often tones down environmental threats as soft, the author points out that they often emerge as major threats in certain contexts where, like wars, they may have detrimental and enduring impacts on peoples’ security and development. This paper recommends a broader approach to security that recognises the significance of environmental threats to human security and legitimises its firm integration within the current development policy agenda. Given the crosscutting and trans-boundary nature of environmental threats, the author concludes that any development policy actions designated to mitigate environmental threats may maximise their impacts if they transcend institutional and regional boundaries, and are embedded in broader institutional collaboration.


Sadoff, C.W. and D. Grey. 2002. Beyond the river: the benefits of cooperation on international rivers. Water Policy 4 (5): 389-403.

International rivers can elicit cooperation or conflict. The choice between the two will in large part be determined by perceptions of their relative benefits. In this paper, we explore the dynamics that drive the choice between conflict and cooperation, and present a simple framework for examining the extent of potential benefits that could underlie these choices. The paper seeks to broaden the range of perceived benefits, as some are obvious and some are much less apparent. The framework categorizes four types of cooperative benefits. First, cooperation will enable better management of ecosystems, providing benefits to the river, and underpinning all other benefits that can be derived. Second, efficient, cooperative management and development of shared rivers can yield major benefits from the river, in increased food and energy production, for example. Third, cooperation on an international river will result in the reduction of costs because of the river, as tensions between co-riparian states will always be present, to a greater or lesser extent, and those tensions will generate costs. And finally, as international rivers can be catalytic agents, cooperation that yields benefits from the river and reduces costs because of the river can pave the way to much greater cooperation between states, even economic integration among states, generating benefits beyond the river. While each of these four types of benefits could potentially be obtained in all international river basins, the extent and relative importance of each type will vary greatly between basins, reflecting a wide range of political, geographic, economic and cultural circumstances. In some cases, the scale of benefits may not justify the costs of cooperative actions, in others the sum of benefits could be very high. The paper concludes that identifying and understanding the range of often inter-related benefits derived from the cooperative management and development of international rivers is central both to better management of the world’s rivers, and to relations among the nations sharing those rivers.


Stec, S., J. Kovandzic, M. Filipovic, and A. Colakhodzic. 2011. A river than through it: post- conflict peacebuilding on the Sava River in former Yugoslavia. Water International 36 (2): 186- 196.

The Sava River flows through Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia on its way to join the Danube at Belgrade. This formerly national river became an international one as a result of the break-up of Yugoslavia due to the 1991–95 Yugoslav Wars. Following an overview of the conflict and a description of the Sava River Basin, this article describes the post-conflict challenges to joint management in the basin and the negotiations that led to a Framework Agreement and the eventual establishment of the International Sava River Basin Commission. The institutions and mechanisms that were established in this process are placed within the context of broader European and global processes. Factors affecting the success of peacebuilding efforts in this arena are reviewed, along with lessons learned. Finally, the article assesses the future prospects for the International Sava River Basin Committee’s work and recommends some important next steps.


Turner, M. 1999. Conflict, Environmental Change, and Social Institutions in Dryland Africa: Limitations of the Community Resource Management Approach. Society & Natural Resources: An International Journal 12 (7): 643-657.

In dryland Africa, development attention has shifted toward community resource management projects. The concurrence of environmental degradation, resource conflict, and “weak” resource management institutions is seen by project managers as evidence for the failure of local institutions to govern resource use. This article demonstrates that such diagnoses are error prone and are often logically reducible to the simple advocation of the formalization of resource access. “Community based” projects, such as those following the Gestion de Terroirs approach in Sudano – Sahelian West Africa, often attempt to improve resource management by spatially delimiting appropriate land uses, strengthening the community’s exclusionary powers, and clarifying specific claims to village resources. Based on research within agropastoral areas in Mali and Niger, this article argues that rigid adherence to such development templates runs the risk of increasing local ecological and economic vulnerabilities. Multiscaled, comanagement approaches that better utilize informal networks and political institutions to mediate resource access are proposed as alternatives.


Unruh, J. 2008. Toward sustainable livelihoods after war: Reconstituting rural land tenure systems. Natural Resources Forum 32 (2): 103-115.

Land tenure plays a primary role in sustainable development efforts. However armed conflict and its repercussions reconfigure the network of social relations upon which all land tenure systems depend. In post-conflict settings new laws have the opportunity to address tenure issues in the context of what people are already doing ‘on the ground’, with a view to moving from the fluidity of post-conflict situations to a more solidified and peaceful social and legal environment. However there exists a lack of tools to analyze postwar land tenure and the prospects for reconstituting tenure systems to support recovery and development. This paper uses the Sustainable Livelihoods framework to examine postwar land tenure issues in order to draw out latent opportunities within emergent informal smallholder tenure constructs which may have utility in the reconstitution of national tenure systems.


Vivekananda, J., J. Schilling, and D. Smith. 2014. Climate resilience in fragile and conflict- affected societies: concepts and approaches. Development in Practice 24 (4): 487-501.

To understand resilience to climate and environmental changes in fragile and conflict- affected societies is particularly important but equally challenging. In this paper, we first develop a conceptual framework to explore the climate-fragility-conflict and climate- resilience-peace nexus. Second, we discuss approaches to promote pathways from climatic changes to peace. We draw on the relevant literature and International Alert’s experience in fragile and conflict-affected societies to stress the key role of resilience. To build resilience, climate, development, peacebuilding, and government actors would have to overcome bureaucratic and institutional barriers and cooperate across thematic and regional silos.