Conflicts over natural resources and the environment are among the greatest challenges in 21st-century geopolitics. These conflicts present serious threats to human security at both the national and local levels. Natural resources and the environment can nonetheless serve as a vehicle for peace if managed in a sustainable and equitable manner.
Environmental peacebuilding has emerged as a new frontier in interdisciplinary studies. It offers a conceptual and operational framework to understand the positive peacebuilding potential of natural resources across the conflict lifecycle while mitigating potential risks.
This 8-week course on Environmental Security and Sustaining Peace provides an in-depth introduction to the multiple roles that natural resources and the environment play in the onset, escalation, and resolution of, and recovery from, violent conflicts. Many of the considerations and approaches in this course are also relevant to understanding and addressing social conflicts around natural resources and the environment.
This course is for:
Peace and security specialists that want to understand more about natural resources.
Natural resource experts that want to design more conflict-sensitive programs.
Sustainable development practitioners – as well as private-sector actors – who need to understand how natural resources can be developed in fragile contexts with weak governance.
Advanced undergraduates and graduate students interested in the key concepts and practices of this growing field.
Module 1: Course Overview (Week 1)
Welcome and Introduction
Evolution of Environment, Peace, and Conflict Linkages
Conceptual Framework for Environmental Peacebuilding
Case Study: Environmental Peacebuilding in Colombia
Case Study: Extractives and Peacebuilding in Aynak, Afghanistan
Module 2: Natural Resources and Conflict Causes (Weeks 2 and 3)
Introduction to Module 2
Drivers of Violent Conflict Emergence
Case Study: Diamonds and Conflict in Sierra Leone
Climate Stress, Conflict, and Peacebuilding
Case Study: Climate Change Dimensions of the Arab Spring
Governance and Resilience
Transparency and Access to Information
Mediating Natural Resource Conflicts
Case Study: Land as a Conflict Driver in Sierra Leone
Wrap-up of Module 2
Module 3: Natural Resources and the Environment during Armed Conflict (Weeks 4 and 5)
Introduction to Module 3
The Importance of Natural Resources during Conflict
Environmental Impacts of Armed Conflict
Breakdown of Environmental Governance and Social Relationships
Conflict Resources and Pillage
Case Study: Blood Chocolate - Cacao and Conflict in Côte d'Ivoire
National Tools for Addressing Conflict Resources
International Law Protecting the Environment during Armed Conflict
Implementing International Law during Armed Conflict
UN Security Council Tools for Addressing Resource Conflicts
Case Study: Diamonds, Timber and Conflict in Liberia
Natural Resources in Peace Agreements
Wrap-up of Module 3
Module 4: Post-Conflict Environmental Peacebuilding (Weeks 6 and 7)
Introduction to Module 4
Environment and Natural Resources in Post-Conflict Assessments
Renewable and Nonrenewable Resources for Recovery
Natural Resources in Security and Stabilization
Restoring Livelihoods and Building Resilience
Resources as Entry Points for Dialogue and Cooperation
Case Study: Cooperation around Shared Water in the Jordan River
Rebuilding Environmental Governance
Empowering Women in Natural Resource Management and Peacebuilding
Spatial Planning and Recovery
Mitigating Environmental Impacts of Reconstruction
Coordination in Peacebuilding
Case Study: Environmental Peacebuilding through Water Management in Wadi El Ku, Sudan
Wrap-up of Module 4
Module 5: Course Wrap-up and Final Assignment (Week 8)