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Environmental Peacebuilding

Focal Topic - Environmental Peacebuilding is reflected in all areas of ACP activities

Conflicts can no longer be thought of in the same way in a world affected by the climate crisis. Because countries at war or where structures are destroyed need support to build a minimum of trust to deal with the threats of the climate crisis, which ultimately affect everyone. Mounting evidence points to the fact that depleting natural resources and climate impacts protract conflicts where they already exist and run the potential of creating new conflict hotspots around the world.

This dynamic is both an additional challenge for conflict countries but also an opportunity. On the one hand, conflict-affected countries and regions are the least equipped to deal with the disruptive effects of the climate crisis; on the other hand, this lack can be used to build trust between conflict parties, as the climate crisis affects everyone and responsibility for it cannot be easily assigned. If this dynamic is approached in a targeted manner using methods from environmental peacebuilding, this trust can become cooperation and this cooperation can subsequently contribute to broader conflict resolution. An increasing part of the ACP's work is defined by this approach.

The region of the Persian Gulf region is among the most water stressed areas in the world, and the situation is only expected to get worse with the impact of climate change. Water is a national security issue for all these individual states, and a shared threat to regional security impacting directly sectors such as agriculture and potable water consumption. Shared water resources in the region are much more than transnational rivers and surface water, but also extend to networks of ground water and “atmospheric rivers”. The interconnectedness of this water network demands an interconnected approach. The ACP supports knowledge generation and dialogue to address the shared hydrological cycle in an effort to better manage existing water resources.

In Libya, the work of the ACP focused on dialogue between stakeholders from southern water-rich areas and those from water-consuming cities in the north of the country. In this first phase between 2020 to 2022 it was discovered that Southern grievances included resentment over the water management around the Great Man-Made River. Further dialogue is to follow, the results of which will be shared with international actors engaged in advancing the development and sustainability agenda through financing, facilitating and / or implementing environmental regeneration projects. Such projects would aim ideally address fundamental drivers of conflict and tensions between the North and the South.

In some contexts, including in East and West Africa, it is worth noting that comprehensive environmental regeneration can address drivers of migration. In Eastern Africa, the ACP has been involved in conflict resolution activities around Sudan, South Sudan and Uganda. In Western Africa the ACP has been leading a comprehensive training programme on increasing the coherence of humanitarian capacities in the ECOWAS countries.

The ACP has also integrated Environmental Peacebuilding into its training curricula, including in the International Peacebuilding Training (IPT). Further more this approach will be addressd during the Austrian Forum for Peace