Environmental Peacebuilding in the Pacific
Environmental peacebuilding may provide a useful approach to focusing this effort where it may be most effective—in supporting the equitable resolution of conflicts less than war that are caused or exacerbated by environmental degradation, scarcity, overexploitation of natural resources, or the effects of climate change. Over the past two decades, the expectation that environmental cooperation will foster regional peace and stability has led to increased allocation of international funding to such initiatives, and recognition among academics and practitioners of the rising importance of environmental peacebuilding.[viii]
What is environmental peacebuilding? For the academic, it is a discursive construct in which the biophysical environment is conceived in terms of scientific definitions and human needs, rather than in terms of state security.[ix] For the practitioner, it is an analytical lens through which good environmental governance emerges as a framework for creating, validating or changing institutions in order to prevent, mitigate or resolve conflicts over natural resources.[x]
Understanding that the potential for conflict in our region is caused or exacerbated by environmental factors may help the ADF understand the potential for peace. This monograph applies the environmental peacebuilding lens to nascent conflicts and collective action problems facing the countries and territories of the south-west Pacific region, namely the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, PNG, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. It explores security challenges in the region arising from the governance of natural resources and the environment, and opportunities for environmental peacebuilding.
[i] Conroy, Pat. ‘Climate change is a national security issue’. The Interpreter, 7 August 2019.
[ii] Bergin, Anthony. ‘Defence must regard climate change as a serious security issue’. Australian Strategic Policy Institute, 2 December 2016.
[iii] Bergin, 2016.
[iv] Department of Defence. 2016 Defence White Paper. Commonwealth of Australia, 2016. p. 54
[v] Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper. Commonwealth of Australia, 2017. pp. 37–38
[vi] 2016 Defence White Paper, pp. 55–56
[vii] 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper, pp. 37–38
[viii] Dresse, Anaïs, Itay Fischhendler, Jonas Østergaard Nielsen, and Dimitrios Zikos. ‘Environmental peacebuilding: Towards a theoretical framework’. Cooperation and Conflict 54, no. 1 (2019): p. 113
[ix] Dresse et al., 2019. pp. 112–113
[x] Dresse et al., 2019. p. 103
ISSN (Online) 2653-0406
ISSN (Print) 2653-0414