How can environmental cooperation be used to bolster regional peace? A large body of research suggests that environmental degradation may catalyze violent conflict. Environmental cooperation, in contrast, has gone almost unexplored as a means of peacemaking, even though it opens several effective channels: enhancing trust, establishing habits of cooperation, lengthening the time horizons of decisionmakers, forging cooperative trans-societal linkages, and creating shared regional norms and identities.
This volume examines the case for environmental peacemaking by comparing progress, prospects, and problems related to environmental peacemaking initiatives in six regions—South Asia, Central Asia, the Baltic, Southern Africa, the Caucasus, and the U.S.-Mexico border. The regions vary dramatically in terms of scale, interdependencies, history, and kinds of insecurity. But each is marked by a highly fluid, changing security order, creating a potential for environmental cooperation to have a catalytic effect on peacemaking.
Among the volume's key findings are these: that substantial potential for environmental peacemaking exists in most regions; that significant tensions from narrower efforts to improve the strategic climate among mistrustful governments can impair broader trans-societal efforts to build environmental peace; and that the effects of environmental peacemaking initiatives are highly sensitive to the ways they are institutionalized.
Contributors include: Doug W. Blum, Providence College; Ken Conca, University of Maryland; Geoffrey D. Dabelko, Woodrow Wilson Center; Pamela M. Doughman, University of Maryland; Ashok Swain, Uppsala University; Larry A. Swatuk, University of Botswana; Erika Weinthal, Tel Aviv University; Stacy D. VanDeveer, University of New Hampshire.