A Sustainable Development Perspective
Chapter 3: Failing sustainable development? Early warning, early action, and preventing environmental security threats
War is inimical to sustainable development and can lay the seeds for future violence… If it is now generally recognised that war causes environmental harm, it is also increasingly accepted that environmental degradation has the potential to produce internal and inter-state conflict by undermining stability and producing mass migrations.1 There are numerous laws which are considered in this study which are in place to protect the environment during and in the immediate aftermath of an armed conflict.2 Yet, despite the plethora of laws and research conducted by scholars on the environment-conflict nexus over the last three decades,3 the critical issues of understanding and addressing the environmental causes of conflict have only lately surfaced as worthy of serious attention within the realm of international relations.4 The concern in the analysis below is with the nature of the challenge of preventing armed or violent conflict5 as a result of environmental pressures, that is, by preventing, managing or mitigating environmental issues that may be a threat to international peace and security. This is a challenge rooted in the preventive approach as well as protecting the environment for present and future generations. In order to explore this challenge to the international community, three case-studies are examined: Somalia; Darfur, Sudan; and Sierra Leone. The environment- conflict link in each case is considered first, followed by a review of the international response to that link in relation to conflict prevention in each situation. This chapter explores these preventive issues from a sustainable development perspective
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