Policy Brief No.68 - December, 2019
This Policy Brief presents a comprehensive review of the literature on environmental conflict and peacebuilding. It traces the development of the field from its beginnings in the 1980s until today, identifying several distinct stages which are characterised by specific research questions, approaches and findings. Based on this literature review the authors address major gaps and shortcomings as well as problematic implications of the research so far. A critical approach is developed which can inform Environmental Peace and Conflict Studies in the future, taking up incentives from the field of Anthropocene Studies and the concepts of ‘sustaining peace’ and ‘sustainable peace.’ The Policy Brief concludes with some recommendations that can give direction for a new wave of research which is currently emerging.
Policy Brief No.58 - November, 2019
Growing scientific evidence indicates that global impacts and flow on effects of climate change are threatening ecosystems and food security. Developing countries, especially coastal communities across the Pacific, are at risk of climate-related food insecurity. This is particularly the case in the context of unprecedented threats posed to the health of marine ecosystems and their capacity to provide protein, income and spiritual connections for Pacific communities. This policy brief advocates for adaptive co-management approaches that integrate traditional and Western knowledge, law, governance, science and technology in a bid to protect nature. Framed by national and global legal and governance systems, it highlights the importance of approaches which empower local communities. The policy brief concludes with five recommendations which focus on the importance of working with local communities, as the ‘front line’ guardians of nature.
Policy Brief No.56 - October, 2019
While there is overwhelming physical evidence and warning about climate change and conflict, it seems we have succumbed to the shadows of a one-sided story, a story that focuses entirely on the secular physical dimension with the spiritual lost beneath a one-dimensional umbra. Spirituality is critical to a new path for a new climate story.
Policy Brief No.49 - September, 2019
Rates of urbanisation vary considerably among the 22 Pacific Island countries and territories, some of which have among the highest population densities in the world despite these countries being relatively small. Growth in the number of urban residents has led to the emergence of informal settlements on sites which are often on marginal land that is highly exposed to the effects of extreme events. It is likely that climate change will cause greater numbers of people to migrate to urban areas as their home locations become increasingly less habitable. Many will find themselves again living in exposed locations. Additionally, having little land tenure security, high levels of unemployment or underemployment, crowding, lack of infrastructure, crime and lack of access to land for food are likely to render many of these migrants vulnerable to the effects of climate change. As climate change continues to unfold, urban areas in the Pacific Islands region may find themselves particularly at risk. Urban planning which takes the likelihood of climate change into account is critically important.
Policy Brief No.46 - September, 2019
The growth of urban populations in Pacific Island Countries is reflected in growing numbers of informal settlements with high levels of exposure and vulnerability to natural disasters. As urban populations grow and become increasingly dense, with large numbers living in informal settlements, the potential for major catastrophes is increasing. Despite this, most disaster risk management throughout the region still focuses on rural areas, reflecting historical practices and experience and some political preference for rural areas. There is a greater need in the region to develop measures that reduce people’s exposure to hazardous events in towns and cities, mostly by incorporating urban planning measures that discourage settlement in marginal and hazard-prone areas. This will be challenging given the complexity of land tenure arrangements throughout the region. It is also important that the root causes of people’s vulnerabilities are addressed, so that the processes by which they come to live in unsafe conditions can be understood and measures introduced to reduce people’s risks and losses. This policy brief focuses discussion on urban communities and concludes by outlining a number of activities which would contribute to reducing people’s exposure to hazardous events in Pacific Island towns and cities.