Peacebuilding that Ignores the Environment is Not Complete


"Over the past 50 years, policymakers, researchers, and practitioners have recognized that environmental degradation and contested natural resources are part of the reason why people fight and kill each other" - this is a short shockingly clear sentence from the introduction at the beginning of the whitepaper "The Future of environmental peacebuilding", a project of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the PeaceNexus Foundation, the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform (GPP), the Environmental Law Institute (ELI), and the Environmental Peacebuilding Association (EnPAx).

It is obvious that environmental issues are always directly related to conflicts, yet they are often not discussed enough. The whitepaper is therefore a collection of important contributions in this area. Because "once fighting stops, shared natural resources and common environmental interests can provide opportunities for, but also risks to, successful and sustainable peacebuilding."

GDL member Diego Osorio contributed to one of these articles and published it in the volume. The article "Adaptive Peacebuilding: Improving climate-related security risk managemnet through real-time data and analysis" is about the importance of data, as the authors write: "Despite a growing number of high-level statements from the UN Security Council and heads of state, international efforts to maintain international peace and security have not sufficiently taken the effects of climate change into account. One reason for this is the insufficient availability of empirical data and analysis to drive the systemic integration of climate security risks into adaptive peacebuilding decision-making."

So there is a need for tools "that help to generate robust, localized, and real-time data and analysis will generate the evidence-base needed to drive climate-sensitive adaptive peacebuilding". 

Using examples from Mali and the UN mission MINUSMA there, as well as Somalia UNSOM, the authors describe what climate-sensitive work can (not) look like and how rarely this is considered in the day-to-day work of international missions. But obviously the need for rapid action is recognized and international approaches such as the Climate Security Crisis Observatory (CSCO) have been created. "The CSCO aims to provide real-time, inter-disciplinary analysis to generate policy- relevant climate-related security information at the regional, national, and sub-national level".

However, the paper also makes it clear that making quick and constructive decisions in this context is not easy, as "social and ecological systems are inseparably linked and form complex adaptive systems active across multiple spatial and temporal scales. As their dynamics are non-linear and emergent, their future behaviour is inherently uncertain."

That means, "the best way to cope with this complexity is to experiment and continuously adapt to incorporate the feedback and knowledge generated from that experimentation." 

Which factors are important for the authors for adaptive peacebuilding, you could read in more detail in the paper itself

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Diego Osorio

Diego is a Senior Policy Advisor for Climate Security & COE at Global Affairs Canada, where he focuses on Security and Defence Relations Division of the Canadian Government as well as the NATO Climate and Security Centre of Excellence.

Previously he worked at the Centre for Rural Development of Canada’s Ministry of Infrastructure and also held the position of Senior Advisor on Climate Security at CGIAR Climate Security. He is a PhD candidate at Utrecht University and a former Canadian diplomat with many years of experience in public administration and international experience covering the UN, NATO, the World Bank, Canadian diplomacy, and private sector ventures.

Diego has worked globally on political and economic matters, climate change-conflict and adaptation policy, as well as institutional and social reconstruction, civil-military coordination, and humanitarian issues. He has deployed to Afghanistan, Colombia, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Indonesia (Banda Aceh), Iraq, Central African Republic, Jordan, Kosovo, Liberia, Pakistan, and Timor Leste, to name some of his multiple field missions. 

His previous positions included Senior Peacekeeping Officer and Senior Advisor on Mediation, Negotiation and Peace processes at Global Affairs Canada.

Diego is an Associate Fellow of both the Raoul-Dandurand Chair in Strategic and Diplomatic Studies at the Université de Quebec à Montréal (UQAM) and the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies. He has lectured on a variety of topics such as  humanitarian action, governance design, the humanitarian-development nexus, conflict and climate change, post-conflict recovery, at universities in Canada and abroad. Another field he works on is co-creation and human design methodologies. Last but not least he is an Adjunct Professor of Master of Public Policy at Adler University, Canada.


Read more about Diego in his latest article.

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