Environmental Peacebuilding and the Expansion of EcoPeace Middle East’s Strategy
Environmental peacebuilding is a theory of conflict management used by EcoPeace Middle East in the Jordan River Valley. The theory posits that despite a seemingly intractable conflict, communities that come together for the protection of the natural resources can simultaneously build a foundation for peace while also helping the environment. The purpose of this study is to identify the factors that could enable or constrain EcoPeace Middle East’s ability to transfer their model of environmental peacebuilding to the Hindu Kush Himalayas by helping the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) apply the model. To identify the relevant factors, in-person interviews were conducted with nine interviewees in Kathamandu, Nepal at the ICIMOD headquarters. A semi-structured interview guide was used to better understand staff perceptions of organizational, contextual, and strategic factors that influence the work being done. Additionally, publicly available information was collected to understand how those three categories of factors influence the work being done at EcoPeace Middle East. The findings of the analysis of the collected data suggest that environmental peacebuilding would not work for ICIMOD in the same way it does for EcoPeace due to limiting factors like the genesis of the organizations, the geography and scope of the conflict being operated within, the existing international policies, and the broader strategies pursued. That being said, there are enabling factors that could serve as points of entry for EcoPeace to begin sharing lessons with ICIMOD to implement particular aspects of their model – EcoPeace’s “bottom-up” approach, for example.
Andrew Light, MS (EPP)