Why should conservation matter to peacemakers?

In a world where climate change is intensifying conflict over scarce water, land and other resources, HD’s new research report Linking Conservation and Peacemaking highlights why mediation and dialogue efforts cannot ignore environmental protection.

Environment-related risks to people’s security and the depletion of natural resources will only worsen in the years ahead, making it crucial for mediators to explore ways of connecting biodiversity conservation and peacemaking to ensure lasting peace.

The report presents various options to address conservation in the context of peace negotiations and agreements, focusing on natural resource governance and management.

The recommendations include forging partnerships with organisations working on land restoration at the local level to complement existing mediation efforts around natural resources, address the future impacts of climate change and provide livelihoods for communities.

The report also suggests exploring possibilities for facilitating transboundary management arrangements, such as agreements around water use and access, and using cooperation around conservation as a confidence-building measure.

Mediators do not need to become conservation experts but they risk limiting the sustainability of their peacemaking efforts without building new partnerships and a deeper understanding of the conservation field.

By more systematically engaging with conservation issues and actors, peacemakers can promote outcomes that benefit nature and foster peace at the same time.