In the late 1990s, a zero-sum, conflict-oriented narrative about environmental security began dominating the international agenda, prompting scholars to start focusing on the peacebuilding benefits of increased cooperation over the environment and natural resources. In recent peacebuilding efforts, natural resource management has been used to kick-start employment, improve livelihoods, and increase government revenues for the provision of basic services. However, this has often overlooked the broader political economy of the country and the inherent characteristics of its natural resources.
This project examines how natural resource management could support peacebuilding efforts in post-IS Iraq, with a particular focus on water resource management. Linkages between natural resources, the environment, peace and conflict will be analysed by examining the impact of various internal dynamics, such as weak governance structures, IDP return movements, and the political and ethno-religious marginalisation of Sunni Arabs at the local level. In order to understand how such linkages are located within the wider societal context of Iraq, the project takes an interdisciplinary approach, combining the perspectives of natural resource management from Development and Environmental Studies with insights on peacebuilding from Peace and Conflict Studies, as well as understandings of livelihoods and resilience-building from Migration Studies.
The project aims to shed light on how cooperative natural resource management can offer positive opportunities to end conflict, strengthen recovery, and build peace in Iraq.
Kyra Luchtenberg | Principal Investigator
Kyra Luchtenberg is Research Assistant at the LSE Middle East Centre.