How can environmental co-operation be used to bolster regional peace? A large body of research suggests that environmental degradation may catalyze violent conflict. Environmental co-operation, in contrast, has gone almost unexplored as a means of peacemaking, even though it opens several effective channels: enhancing trust, establishing habits of co-operation, lengthening the time horizons of decisionmakers, forging co-operative trans-societal linkages, and creating shared regional rms and identities. This volume examines the case for environmental peacemaking by comparing progress, prospects, and problems related to environmental peacemaking initiatives in six regions - South Asia, Central Asia, the Baltic, Southern Africa, the Caucasus, and the US-Mexico border. The regions vary dramatically in terms of scale, interdependencies, history, and kinds of insecurity, but each is marked by a highly fluid, changing security order, creating a potential for environmental co-operation to have a catalytic effect on peacemaking. Among the volume's key findings are these: that substantial potential for environmental peacemaking exists in most regions; that significant tensions from narrower efforts to improve the strategic climate among mistrustful governments can impair broader trans-societal efforts to build environmental peace; and that the effects of environmental peacemaking initiatives are highly sensitive to the ways they are institutionalized.
Ken Conca is associate professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland and director of the Harrison Program on the Future Global Agenda. Geoffrey D. Dabelko is director of the Environmental Change and Security Project at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.