Theme on Environment, Conflict and Security
TECS Consultations | The Theme on Environment, Conflict and Security focuses on the intersection between environmental governance, environmental change and conflict and how this impacts on multiple dimensions of security.
A key understanding is that building more effective environmental governance and policy can reduce conflict and ensure security from local to global levels. At the same time, reducing conflict and conflict potential and strengthening security underpins environmental sustainability. From this perspective, addressing conflict and security are essential to realizing IUCN’s vision of “A just world that values and conserves nature”. Policies that promote and build cooperation, secure livelihoods, protect human rights, and encourage fair, equitable and effective governance of natural resources can be decisive in reducing conflict in both contexts of scarcity and abundance.
TECS seeks to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to minimize the potential for conflict. With this in mind co-chairs, Arzu Deuba and Jennifer Mohamed-Katerere (who has recently been appointed) will, in May 2011, initiate a discussion with TECS members to agree to priority activities until the World Conservation Congress in 2011.
While there are many different possibilities, the co-chairs are keen to identify options that can be delivered on in partnership with IUCN members and/or the secretariat. The following areas have been identified as having significant potential as key focuses for a new programme of work:
Adaptation to climate and other environmental change is a priority for many developing nations as well as for vulnerable people in developed nations. TECS can contribute to understanding adaptation-conflict intersections and potential impacts on human security and socio-ecological resilience and harness its knowledge to support the development of more effective adaptation strategies.
The loss of local rights as a result of mitigation initiatives (such REDD+) and from other natural resource management choices can increase conflict potential and reduce human security. TECS can through evaluating and reviewing the efficacy of existing approaches to the loss of resource rights, including for example Free Prior Informed Consent, support the development of governance regimes that reduce rather than exacerbate conflict and insecurity.
- There is a longstanding tension between bi-lateral/multilateral management frameworks and local user rights that contributes to conflict and insecurity at multiple levels. Building on the experience of IUCN members, commissioners and staff, TCES could support the development of tools for building more consensual and inclusive governance regimes that take account of these complex, multi-level interests.
- Conflict affects the sustainability of protected areas and other valued ecosystems in post-conflict and conflict-ridden nations. TCES can contribute to improved understanding of these contexts and also support the development of appropriate management regimes for these situations.
- Natural hazards (earthquakes, floods etc.) can quickly become natural disaster given policies and practices that expose people to and make them vulnerable to these occurrences. Understanding governance, vulnerability, and conflict dimensions in post-disaster contexts is critical for restoring human security and avoid rapid social and environmental decline. With TECS’ policy expertise it can contribute to strengthening this component in post-disaster and disaster-risk assessment.
Jennifer and Arzu look forward to fruitful discussions with members on these ideas and to finalizing the programme.