Report // The nature of conflict and peace: The links between environment, security and peace and their importance for the United Nations
By Rüttinger, Lukas; Raquel Munayer, Pia van Ackern, and Florian Titz. This new report by WWF and adelphi looks at how climate-security can be complemented by addressing environmental risks and security related to climate change. It outlines four pathways in which environmental degradation and biodiversity loss interact with conflict, insecurity and peace. It further provides recommendations to work towards a comprehensive environmental security agenda.
Through humanity’s wide-ranging impacts on nature, the safe operating space for the Earth’s natural systems to provide the basis for human wellbeing, prosperity and security has now been crossed. This is particularly true for two closely interlinked crises: biodiversity loss and climate change. Ecosystems, which both sustain and depend on a balanced climate and healthy biodiversity, are at the centre of this double crisis. At the same time, the world is experiencing increasing insecurity and conflict. Both intrastate and interstate conflict had been declining since the end of the Cold War, but in the last decade, the number of war deaths has risen significantly again compared to the preceding decade. Hand in hand with these developments, geopolitical tensions between regional and global powers have increased as well. Today in 2022, with the war in Ukraine, geopolitical tensions have reached levels reminiscent of the Cold War that will likely shape global politics and relationships for the years to come. Both the consequences of biodiversity loss and climate change, as well as conflict and insecurity, are far-reaching and touch all aspects of human society. However, we are not just seeing a confluence of environmental crisis and conflict; nature and conflict are increasingly interacting. Environmental degradation and biodiversity loss are important drivers of insecurity and conflict around the world and, as they intensify, they also increasingly impact global peace and security. Environmental degradation and biodiversity loss are part of a complex web of interactions among different social, economic, political and environmental risk drivers. Simultaneously, conflict and insecurity contribute to environmental destruction and degradation. Together, these interactions form the naturesecurity Nexus. The climate-security Nexus and the nature-security Nexus overlap and cannot be fully addressed independently of one another. In fact, environmental factors are often a critical link in the pathway from climate change impacts to security risks. However, the nature-security Nexus comprises additional interactions in which climate impacts play no or only smaller aggravating roles. Hence, the nature-security Nexus puts biodiversity and ecosystems rather than climate change at its centre. This perspective allows for assessing the whole breadth of interactions between environment, peace and security
Rüttinger, Lukas; Raquel Munayer, Pia van Ackern, and Florian Titze: The nature of conflict and peace. The links between environment, security and peace and their importance for the United Nations. Gland: WWF International; Berlin: adelphi consult GmbH, 2022.
The nature of conflict and peace: The links between environment, security and peace and their importance for the United Nations
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