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All conflicts occur where people are interacting with an environment. As people depend upon that environment, its state dictates the stability of any peacebuilding attempts. In this video, Robert Ricigliano argues that it is not possible to simply pull apart peacebuilding, human rights, development and environment, but, in order to sustain peace, one has to look at them all together.

The video was produced by Paul Müller-Hahl (Lichtbilder Filmproduktion) and directed by Stella Schaller (adelphi), with kind support by the Planetary Security Initiative and the German Federal Foreign Office.


"I think the question of whether to deal with climate change or environment in peacebuilding projects is really not a question of whether, it is a question of how. All peacebuilding activities, whether at the community level or the regional level or the national level, they are all happening where people are interacting with an environment all the time and they depend on that environment and the stability of that environment is going to affect the stability of any peacebuilding process, so or the stability of any peace that you build.

The nature of the environment creates stressors, so it can be that people would be able to meet their livelihoods, but due to some change in the environment, can no longer have a sustainable livelihood. That can trigger conflict when the control of resources is linked to ethnicity or religion, so you start to get in-group and out-group dynamics built around what really was an environmental driver of the conflict.

It is not just a question of whether the people want to live together. Can they live together? Are they in an environment that would allow them to have a peaceful and sustainable existence or not? Oftentimes, people can start to talk about: let’s step back and say what is the environment, what is the world that we want to live in? Don’t we all have a stake in actually making sustainable use of the environment that we have?

Climate is something that everyone has to deal with, it is not good or bad, it is not pro this side or that side. It is what it is. In that way, you are dealing with a fact that is a bit more objective that we have to deal with it and then how do we deal with it.

I think it is great that we are talking about peace and development together. For too long we have talked about them separately. I think when you start to look at how we cross sectoral lines and be more holistic, that is actually the real key to a peaceful solution. So it is peace, development, environment, human rights, you have got to look at them all together, you cannot pull them apart and expect we can deal with one and not the other."