International Environmental Law in the Context of Communities, Conflict, Conservation and Peace

CCRN Webinar #7


Nature conservation and protected areas have had a complex history with violence, conflict and peace. The advent of fortress model conservation created a legacy of disenfranchisement, coercion and human rights abuses, while wildlife wars are creating a new trend towards armament in the call to save endangered species. International environmental law has sought to support sustainable development and international cooperation through protected areas and conservation and may also have an important role in cultivating peace in war-torn States. However, the impact of applying international environmental law on the lives and livelihoods of local communities is not always straightforward. In fact, it can lead to militarization of protected areas involving strategies that drive local communities out. Thus, conservation activities may even destabilise peacebuilding processes.

Britta Sjöstedt’s presentation will focus on the World Heritage Convention and its application to World Heritage Sites during and after armed conflicts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Elaine Hsiao further explores this and other issues around conservation and conflict focusing on transboundary protected areas of the Greater Virunga Landscape between DRC, Rwanda and Uganda and the Kidepo Landscape between South Sudan and Uganda. Together, in this webinar by Britta Sjöstedt and Elaine Hsiao, we have an opportunity to look at the community dimensions of conflict and conservation in protected areas and to discuss opportunities for conflict transformation and ecological peacebuilding.