NEWS | Environmental Peacebuilding Conference

BIOSEC fellows Teresa Lappe-Osthege & Elaine (Lan Yin) Hsiao take part in the 1st International Conference on Environmental Peacebuilding

Later this month, BIOSEC fellows Teresa Lappe-Osthege and Elaine (Lan Yin) Hsiao travel to the University of California, Irvine to take part in the 1st International Conference on Environmental Peacebuilding.

Elaine and Teresa will be involved in a number of activities:

22nd October: Elaine is involved in a 1-day pre-conference workshop for the migration task force to prepare a report for the World Conservation Congress in Marseilles in June 2020. The report will be entitled “People and Nature on the Move: Human and Wildlife Migrations at the Intersection of Environmental Change and Conflict.”

24th October: Elaine will be part of the plenary panel on ‘Early Linkages in Environment, Conflict, and Peace‘ to speak about the migration task force. In addition, in a follow-up to her PhD work, Elaine will present at the panel ‘Protecting the Environment in Relation to Armed Conflicts: Legal Dimensions (I)’ with ‘Transforming Laws to Transform Conflict: Mapping Socio-legal Frameworks for International, Social and Ecological Peace’:

This paper proposes a framework for analyzing laws and legal agreements for three categories of peace – international peace (between States), social peace (between peoples) and ecological peace (between humans and the rest of nature). The framework maps written law (lex scripta), living law or law as it is (lex lata) and law as it should be or ideal law (lex ferenda) across and between the three categories and stages of conflict/peace (i.e., conflict escalation, peacekeeping, peacebuilding). It suggests that these are not adequately addressed in existing laws and agreements and for this reason, law has not been transformative for environmental peace and security. The findings of a review of transboundary protected area (TBPA) agreements demonstrate these gaps in legal design. Application of the framework is illustrated through two case studies – (1) the Greater Virunga Landscape between DRC, Rwanda and Uganda and (2) the Kidepo Landscape between South Sudan and Uganda – emphasizing also the importance of “legislative” approaches (e.g., bottom-up vs. top-down) and modalities (e.g., treaties vs. MoUs). Some discussion of how the framework can be adapted or expanded in other areas of research concludes the presentation.

Teresa will be on the ‘Environmental Peacebuilding in a Changing Climate‘ panel with ‘Future Sustainability Built on Present Injustice? A Critical Engagement with the Concept of Environmental Peacebuilding’:

Against the background of the increasing securitisation of climate change, environmental peacebuilding has emerged as a ‘green’ alternative to traditional post-conflict peacebuilding approaches. However, few studies have questioned the initial appeal of the concept itself and thereby the type of peace that it promotes. This paper argues that rather than providing a blueprint for sustainable peace policy-making, environmental peacebuilding can in fact feed into existing conflict dynamics by reinforcing the injustices of the neoliberal peace. Instead, the analysis suggests that its merits are to be found when using it as a conceptual lens through which we can examine deeply flawed mechanisms of unsustainability inherent to many post-conflict peacebuilding processes themselves. Using EU peacebuilding policies in Kosovo as an illustrative example, the paper discusses how a more critical engagement with environmental peacebuilding can inform policies addressing existing socio-ecological injustices, and thereby aid in building a more equitable peace.

25th October: Elaine will moderate a panel on ‘Environmental Change, Migration and Conflict‘.