Environmental Peacebuilding: Prospects for the Asia-Pacific Region

More Information

Nathan Bond

nathan.bond@unimelb.edu.au

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Invitation and overview

The confluence of drastic environmental change, fragility and conflict in the Asia-Pacific region demands a rethinking of existing approaches to development, security, and peacebuilding. The region is home to the conflicts in Afghanistan and Myanmar, ongoing tension between India and Pakistan, and rising tensions between China and its neighbours. Eleven countries in the Asia-Pacific are classified as Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations, eight of which are low-lying island states. Climate change-induced sea-level rise, increased intensity and frequency of disasters, and ocean warming present profound challenges for this region. In combination with mining, water scarcity and soil erosion, they can exacerbate fragility and potentially feed into violent conflict. Furthermore, fragility limits adaptive capacities, that is, the abilities of communities to prepare for and cope with environmental stress and disasters.

Climate change and environmental stress are increasingly being described as a ‘threat-multiplier’, causing under-development, violent conflict and migration. Climate-fragility-conflict linkages will also have pervasive effects on inequality. Women, and especially marginalised women, who are already discriminated against in terms of resource ownership and are rendered most vulnerable by conflict, are predicted to be further marginalised as resource competition grows. Climate action, mostly conducted without considerations for conflict dynamics, already contributes to local-level conflict in the Asia-Pacific. This demonstrates the urgent need to incorporate environmental and climate considerations into peacebuilding efforts, and to design climate action measures in a conflict-sensitive way.

Environmental peacebuilding recognises these insights and simultaneously provides a more positive and forward-looking alternative to environmental-conflict narratives. Environmental peacebuilding points towards positive feedback effects between sustainable environmental management, the realisation of mutual benefits, increased trust and understanding, better livelihoods, and enhanced capacity to manage conflicts for a more peaceful society. As such, environmental peacebuilding offers a framework for systemic and constructive approaches to facilitating peace and sustainability in the Asia-Pacific. Facing fragility and tremendous environmental challenges, but also building on longstanding and rich experiences of conflict transformation, reconciliation and environmental management, the Asia-Pacific has much to contribute and gain from this discussion.

Timing:

  • Day 1: Wednesday 17 November 2021, 2pm - 6pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time
  • Day 2: Thursday 18 November 2021, 10am - 4pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time (including Special Panel Event session)

Registration and background reading

The call for abstracts is now closed.

Registration for attendees is essential and free of charge by following the 'Book now' link to the left.

Registered participants are eligible for a discount on their first year of membership with the Environmental Peacebuilding Association (five months free, for new members only). To take advantage of this offer, please write to the Association's memberships email address.

Recommended background reading for participants is as follows:

About the organisers

The Initiative for Peacebuilding at The University of Melbourne - in collaboration with key actors in environmental peacebuilding CDA Collaborative Learning Projects, the Environmental Peacebuilding Association and Murdoch University - is convening a diverse set of scholars, practitioners, civil society and government actors to discuss the potential for environmental peacebuilding for the Asia-Pacific region. The Initiative for Peacebuilding conference organisers include Dr Tobias Ide, Dr Siad Darwish, Dr Tania Miletic, Professor John Langmore and Dr Nathan Bond.

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