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When protecting nature helps build peace

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Over the past 60 years, more than 40 percent of civil wars or armed conflicts have been linked to competition over resources. And that’s expected to grow as climate change and environmental degradation exacerbate existing clashes, experts say.

Meanwhile conflict begets further environmental damage in a self-perpetuating cycle that disproportionately hurts the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities.

For more than a decade, Conservation International has worked to integrate environmental peacebuilding and conflict sensitivity into its conservation programs — from identifying what drives disputes among northern Kenya’s pastoralist communities to developing support systems for survivors of sexual violence in one of Peru’s protected forests.

“We’re increasingly seeing a greater recognition of the complex ties between climate change, environmental degradation and conflict — and the need to link peace and conservation,” says Nora Moraga-Lewy, who manages Conservation International’s conflict resolution and peace program. “It’s one of the best ways to ensure…

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