The nature of conflict and peace: The links between environment, security and peace and their importance for the United Nations

 Kyrgyzstan, mountains, valley, nature, landscape

Environmental crises and insecurity often reinforce each other, leading to a vicious circle that makes stability and peace harder to achieve and maintain. At the same time, it deepens the environmental crisis humanity is facing, in particular biodiversity loss and climate change. Together, environmental crises and insecurity threaten the very basis of human civilization: its wellbeing, livelihoods and peace. These interactions form the nature-security nexus. To break this self-enforcing circle, we need the engagement of all security, environment and development actors as part of a broad environmental security agenda.

Commissioned by and in cooperation with WWF Germany and WWF International, adelphi has prepared a report on environmental security addressing four key pathways through which environmental degradation and biodiversity loss interact with conflict, insecurity and peace. These are:

  1. Ecosystem and biodiversity loss, livelihood insecurity and instability
  2. The environment, conflict financing and organised crime
  3. Competition and conflicts around natural resources
  4. The impacts of war and conflict on the environment

The four pathways illustrate that environmental crises and insecurity often reinforce each other. The authors of the report therefore propose a comprehensive environmental security agenda. Joint action should focus on addressing the root causes of environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, insecurity and conflict. In this regard, the four identified pathways of the nature-security nexus can serve as multidimensional starting points for future action and possible next steps for shaping a comprehensive environmental security agenda, complementing existing activities and initiatives on climate-related security risks. The report contains constructive proposals for various UN organs, programmes, specialised agencies and bodies.

Download the publication "The Nature of Conflict and Peace" here.

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