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Ivory Brings Together Climate Change, Security and Peacekeeping

A traditional conservation approach to climate change (e.g., habitat restoration, species protection) has been a primary tenet of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) agenda for decades. But this fall at the quadrennial World Conservation Congress in Hawai’i there were new discussions about tackling climate change in the context of national security and environmental peacebuilding.

There has been discussion about environmental security and peacebuilding themes within IUCN for some time. In 1999, IUCN published a report examining the link between environment and security, in an attempt to “lay the foundation for a full and informed debate.” Climate change and international security resurfaced at a panel discussion at the 2008 IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona, while recommendations about transboundary protected area were introduced at the 2012 Congress in Jeju, South Korea.

“It is still a pretty small community that’s using [the phrase],” observed Todd Walters, the founder and executive director of International Peace Park Expeditions, at the Congress this past September. But “the concepts of environmental peacebuilding are embedded in a lot of the work – it’s just not being explicitly called ‘environmental peacebuilding,’ even though it conceptually is.”


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