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Amazon Dams Keep the Lights On But Could Hurt Fish, Forests

A surge in hydroelectric power could displace the iconic region’s indigenous peoples and resources. When Asháninka Indian leader Ruth Buendía realized that a hydroelectric dam on the Amazon's Ene River would displace thousands of her people, she vowed to fight it. The project, she argued, would bring more hardship to families—including her own—already uprooted by political violence...
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Quote of the Month

"The impact of climate change is posing a growing challenge to peace and stability. That is why we need a new culture of international cooperation: affected states need to be involved at an early stage, and state resilience needs to become a leitmotif of foreign policy." - Frank‑Walter Steinmeier, German Foreign Minister, Presentation of the Report “A New Climate for Peace – Taking Action on Climate and Fragility
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What’s in a Name? States of Fragility and Adjusting Aid to Conflict Zones

Depending on how closely you pay attention to the OECD, you may have picked up on a subtle but meaningful change in this year’s States of Fragility report. Whereas previous reports were titled Fragile States, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has shifted its framing to focus less on states and more on conditions,...
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ECC Newsletter Edition 1/2015

We have published the first edition of the Environment, Conflict, and Cooperation Newsletter in 2015. Read how foreign policy makers can use opportunities for green job creation to promote ambitious climate action, about linkages between climate change and fragility in Africa, or how climate change exacerbates conflicts between mining and herding in Mongolia.
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Water Intro

water hands 297x198The availability of freshwater resources in sufficient quantity and quality is essential for the preservation of human health and sound ecosystems. The use of water resources is also vital, however, for economic development: whether for agriculture, industrial production, or for electricity generation. The world's freshwater resources are distributed very unevenly in terms of geography and the seasons. In addition, water shortage is becoming more prevalent in several regions due to population growth, economic development, urbanization, and increasing environmental pollution. Thus, water resources can hold potential for conflicts between parties who have different interests and needs.

Conflicts surrounding the distribution, access and quality of water resources often arise between upstream and downstream riparians on waterways, since water usages upstream can affect the quantity and quality of the resource downstream. Bodies of water frequently flow across borders and can, therefore, also become the subject of international disputes.

Furthermore, conflicts can also develop between water users and the authorities responsible for water management. Water-related disputes take on different forms, such as civil disobedience, acts of sabotage or violent conflicts. However, the latter are more likely to be seen at the local and intrastate level than at the interstate level.

Even though it remains to be seen whether wars over water will actually develop, interstate water conflicts have nonetheless already contributed to tensions that, in several cases, significantly constrain the economic development of the region. In addition, interstate water conflicts can, in their own right, encumber the stability of the country and have negative consequences for international relations.

At the same time, various examples also demonstrate that precisely this need for joint management of water resources gathers conflicting parties around one table and encourages cooperative negotiating. Even if a tedious negotiation process often precedes cooperation in water management, water cooperation has in the past provided a fertile starting point for peace promotion, and has led to the development of stable institutions.