Participatory approaches to environmental conflict resolution in Cyprus

Published date01 March 2012
AuthorNicolas Stephane Jarraud,Alexandros Lordos
DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1002/crq.21040
Date01 March 2012
Participatory Approaches to Environmental Conflict
Resolution in Cyprus
Nicolas Stephane Jarraud
Alexandros Lordos
There are four conceptual relationships between the environment and
conflict: the environment as a tool for conflict resolution, or as a source
of conflict, environmental damage as a result of conflict, and the cre-
ation of de-facto ecological havens in demilitarized zones. The focus of
this article is on Cyprus, which has been divided since 1974, and where
since the late 1990s the United Nations Development Programme
(UNDP) has been involved in testing different methodologies for lever-
aging environmental issues as entry points for conflict resolution. This
has involved a growing realization that environment is at its most pow-
erful as a peace-building tool when it is combined with a focus on cit-
izen participation.
Conflict and the Environment
There are four possible conceptual relationships between the environ-
ment and conflict (Jarraud, 2008):
1. Resolving environmental issues together can serve as a bridge for
building cooperation and trust in post-conflict situations. This rela-
tionship is referred to by the UN Environment and Security Initiative
(ENVSEC) as “improving security through environmental coopera-
tion,” (pp. 8 and 35) focusing on “cases in which environmental
cooperation might alleviate existing tensions and foster stability and
mutual trust” (Cherp and others, 2007, p. 8).
CONFLICT RESOLUTION QUARTERLY, vol. 29, no. 3, Spring 2012 261
© Wiley Periodicals, Inc. and the Association for Conflict Resolution
Published online in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com) • DOI: 10.1002/crq.21040
2. It can itself be a source of conflict: the ENVSEC initiative refers to
this situation as “Security implications of environmental problems,”
or “situations in which scarcity and degradation of natural resources or
environmental hazards increase the risk of tensions and exacerbate
external and internal security challenges” (Cherp and others, 2007,
p. 8). This was exemplified in Sudan (UNEP, 2007a), where four
natural resources in particular were found to be contributing causes
to conflict: oil and gas reserves, Nile waters, hardwood timber, and
rain-fed agricultural lands. Closer to home, in Cyprus, the recent
discovery of natural gas resources south of the island has exacerbated
tensions with Turkey (BBC, 2011).
3. Environmental damage can arise as a result of deliberate targeting of
natural resources, as in Sudan (UNEP, 2007b); as a direct collateral
of using certain types of weaponry, as in the case of Kosovo (UNEP,
1999), where sanitary infrastructure suffered and hazardous substances
were released into the environment as a direct result of the conflict; and
because of increased poverty and large population displacements,
which can result in extensive deforestation, water pollution, and unsus-
tainable water extraction, as in Sudan (UNEP, 2007b).
4. Conversely, ecosystems and the biodiversity contained therein can
sometimes be unintentionally preserved as a result of prolonged
reductions in socioeconomic activities in “no-man’s lands.” This is
exemplified in the Korean Demilitarized Zone (Kim, 1997) and the
Cyprus Buffer Zone (Jarraud, 2008), where, because of reduced
human presence and activity in these areas, flora and fauna have been
benefited by these havens in which they thrive.
In Cyprus, all four possibilities are present to different extents, but the
focus of this article is on the first relationship, the leveraging of common
environmental issues as an entry point for cooperation, and therefore con-
flict resolution. It is vital from the start of this article to clarify that the
methodologies detailed in the following do not refer to “environmental
conflict resolution” in the classic sense (i.e., the identification and resolu-
tion of environmental issues that might have contributed to conflict), but
rather to identifying environmental issues that both sides agree on and
where they feel common action is required. Following Kramer (2008),
[T]here are several pathways along which environmental cooperation
could contribute to peace. Working together on solving common
262 jarraud, lordos
CONFLICT RESOLUTION QUARTERLY• DOI: 10.1002/crq

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