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Global warming raises tensions in Boko Haram region

Climate change makes Lake Chad fertile territory for extremism, experts say after Boko Haram massacre of up to 2,000 people. As more evidence of destruction wrought by Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria emerged on Thursday, experts highlighted the role of climate change in fomenting extremism. Satellite images obtained by Amnesty International showed 3,700 buildings had been destroyed...
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Farmers, Drought and Gas Development in Australia

The impact on farmers of drought exacerbated by climate change can be mitigated by aspects of certain forms of resource extraction. However, the Australian experience suggests that such measures involve trade-offs. These trade-offs illustrate how our energy choices are becoming increasingly complex...
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ECC Newsletter Edition 3/2014

We have published the third Edition of the Environment, Conflict, and Cooperation Newsletter in 2014. It features e.g. an article by Tony de Brum, Foreign Minister of the Marshall Islands, about how his country approaches climate diplomacy on the way towards ambitious climate action. We also take a closer look at local governance and climate resilience with perspectives from Latin America and from Southeast Asia...
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Quote of the Month

“In today’s world, we see how the lack of access to water can fuel conflict and even threaten peace and stability. That is why in the coming year I would like to see more attention on what I call hydro-diplomacy.” - Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, in an article for the international science journal ‘Nature’, 1 January 2015.
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Articles

Oil Consortium Behind War Crimes - Aid Agencies

Source: IPS

By Frank Mulder

9 June 2010, Utrecht, Netherlands - The entry of a Swedish-led oil consortium into southern Sudan in 1997 triggered civil war and crimes against humanity, claims a European coalition of aid agencies.

The European Coalition on Oil in Sudan (ECOS) has called on the Swedish, Austrian and Malaysian governments to investigate into the possible complicity of the consortium in war crimes and crimes against humanity.

When the Swedish company Lundin Oil formed a consortium with Petronas Carigali Overseas from Malaysia, OMV (Sudan) Exploration from Austria and Sudapet from Sudan in 1997, they signed a contract with Khartoum to drill for oil in Block 5A in Unity State, southern Sudan.

At this time, however, the area was not fully under government control. This set off a spiral of violence, according to a new report by ECOS, called ‘Unpaid Debt’, that covers the period until 2003.

Although the actual perpetrators were government forces and armed groups allied to government forces or their opponents, their purpose was to clear the ground for the oil companies.

"The oil exploration played a crucial role in the atrocities," Egbert Wesselink, coordinator of ECOS, told IPS.

Based on comprehensive evidence, Wesselink’s report estimates that 12,000 people were killed or died from hunger or war-related diseases. Many were raped and tortured, half a million cattle was lost and almost 200,000 people were violently displaced.

"The companies should have been aware of the abuses, but they continued to work with the government and its army,’’ Wesselink said.

Wesselink now calls on the respective governments to investigate whether the companies were complicit in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity by others.

"We specifically bring this case to the Swedish and Austrian governments, as these have acknowledged their commitment to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Sudan," said Wesselink. This agreement created the right to compensation for injustices resulting from oil exploitation. "This promise remains unfulfilled to date."

"First they started with an aerial bombardment, which lasted several days," recalled Rev. James Koung Ninrew, general secretary of the peace council in the region. The inhabitants of his town, Koch, in Unity State, died or fled. "Secondly, ground troops came to check the situation, killing the remaining population and setting the villages on fire. Finally they declared the area safe and the oil companies came in."

The consortium was not directly involved in the atrocities, Ninrew explained to IPS.

"But it was the consortium that demanded a safe area for its operations,'' Ninrew said. ''Moreover, without the contracts the government wouldn't have had money to buy gunships and ammunition. As soon as the troops secured the area, they moved to the next, systematically, and the companies followed, until the whole area of Block 5A was brought under control. The companies could see the villages still burning."

For the complete article, please see IPS.