War and biodiversity

This event will explore how the protection of biodiversity can support postwar recovery and development in Africa.

Members event, Panel
22 March 2022 — 6:00PM TO 7:00PM
Chatham House and Online

War and biodiversity have a strong shared geography, with research showing that 80% of conflicts between 1945-2000 took place in biodiversity hotspots.  Environmental concerns now top the global agenda, the effects of Climate Change recognised for its security implications.  A complex dynamic within this occurs at the confluence of biodiversity protection amidst war. 

There is ongoing work by the International Law Commission to create a set of principles for the Protection of the Environment in Relation to Armed Conflict; and the UK Government’s Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy positioned climate change and biodiversity loss as a security priority.  Operationalising this will be complex.  The inclusion of biodiversity in negotiations during war and for the peace brings fresh considerations for diplomatic efforts.

With its exceptional biodiversity, Africa offers many examples from some of the world’s most diverse and intricate wildlife landscapes that have also been affected by war.  Lessons from Africa may help guide the development and implementation of  policy.  Three case studies will illustrate the efforts being made to protect biodiversity, amidst the challenges presented by armed conflicts.  Areas where human populations continue to depend on the natural environment for their livelihoods.  Insight from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and South Sudan will shed details and insight into this important work, through a temporal framework of before, during and after war and armed conflict.

The panel discusses questions including:

  • What can be done during war and armed conflict to maintain efforts in biodiversity protection?  What key principles of conservation practice might be upheld?

  • After war, what enduring effects of conflict continue to influence work to protect biodiversity?  Could these have been addressed better during negotiations to end the conflict?

  • What might be realistic indicators of conservation success during armed conflict, and how can they be measured?

  • How might conservation efforts in the post-conflict help to build stability?  Could they prevent a return to war?

This event forms part of Chatham House’s work on Realizing sustainability.

As with all Chatham House member events, questions from members drive the conversation.

Become an individual member

Individual membership provides you with the complete Chatham House experience, connecting you with a unique global policy community.

Find out more Auto insert on member events