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United Nations Environment Programme

(UNEP)

Study Guide

Table of Contents
Welcome Letters .......................................................................................................................................... 1
Introduction to UNEP ................................................................................................................................. 2
Topic A: Natural resource management and environmental governance for conflict
prevention and peacebuilding ................................................................................................................ 3
History of the Topic ................................................................................................................................................ 3
Current Situation .................................................................................................................................................... 7
Measures already taken to tackle the problem ............................................................................................ 8
Case Study .............................................................................................................................................................. 12
Executive summaries of past resolutions .................................................................................................... 13
Bibliography .......................................................................................................................................................... 14
Reference List ....................................................................................................................................................... 16
Topic B: Measures to manage the rapid deterioration of the Arctic ....................................... 18
History of the Topic ............................................................................................................................................. 18
Current Situation ................................................................................................................................................. 21
Measures already taken to tackle the problem ......................................................................................... 22
Case Study .............................................................................................................................................................. 23
Bibliography .......................................................................................................................................................... 25
Reference List ....................................................................................................................................................... 26

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Welcome Letters
Tahmid Chowdhury: Head Chair
My name is Tahmid Chowdhury and I am greatly excited to be your
Head Chair for UNEP at LIMUN 2015. I am currently a Fourth Year
French and History student at the University of Sheffield having just
returned from my year abroad at Sciences Po Paris. I have attended
over twenty conferences as delegate, chair and organizer.
Having attended LIMUN 2013 and 2014, I am greatly looking forward to
debating with you all in the capital of the UK in February.
Dion Loke: Co-Chair
Hi delegates of UNEP, I am Dion Loke, your Assistant Director for UNEP
for LIMUN this year.
I am Singaporean and currently a first year at Sciences Po Paris,
Campus de Reims. Throughout high school, I participated in many MUN
conferences as delegates and chairs. However, this is my first college-
level MUN conferences. MUN have been a great growing experience
for me, both in terms of knowledge and many key skills. I look forward
to a fruitful and engaging debate in London in February. I hope that this conference would be
equally enriching for you, my fellow chairs, and myself.
Zunayeed N Alam: Co-Chair
I am a student of School of Business of North South University,
majoring in both Human Resources Management and Marketing. I am
one of the pioneer MUNers of Bangladesh. I have attended 13 MUN
conferences, in both home and abroad.
Apart from the MUN I am a very socially active guy here in
Bangladesh. I have been an organizer for the International Council
Cricket World Cup and the World Marketing Summit both held in
Dhaka. I am currently working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Bangladesh Government,
as a part time Aide de Camp or as we call it ADC to visiting VVIPs in Bangladesh.

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Introduction to UNEP

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) was established in 1972 in order to facilitate a
voice for the environment within the United Nations. Its main aims are to work as a catalyst,
advocate, educator and facilitator to promote the wise use and sustainable development of the
global environment.

The headquarters is based in Nairobi, Kenya along with extra regional and liaison offices. The UNEP
is further divided under different criteria:

Early Warning and Assessment (DEWA)

Environmental Policy Implementation (DEPI)

Technology, Industry and Economics (DTIE)

Regional Cooperation (DRC)

Environmental Law and Conventions (DELC)

Communications and Public Information (DCPI)

Global Environment Facility Coordination (DGEF)


UNEP has come into particular prominence in recent years due to the challenges of Climate Change,
the issue of ever modernizing weaponry used in warfare ,which can damage the environment, as
well as dwindling resources increasing the importance of resource efficiency.

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Topic A: Natural resource management and environmental governance


for conflict prevention and peacebuilding

History of the Topic



Over the past two decades, there has been a growing recognition that natural resources
whether land, renewable resources such as timber and water, or non-renewable resources
such as hydrocarbons, gemstones and minerals play an important and complex role in
international peace and security.
Such discussions have led to the appearance of terms such as blood diamonds, conflict
minerals and the resource curse in our lexicon. Natural resources particularly when they
are controlled by criminal gangs, siphoned off by corrupt officials or dominated by certain
social or ethnic groups have helped to perpetuate civil wars and trigger cross-border
disputes.

Natural resources can be a source of grievance, which may be related to the inequitable
distribution of benefits from natural resources, the lack of opportunities for marginalized
groups, or environmental and social harm caused by the unsustainable extraction of resources.
While such grievances may not be the sole causes of violence, they can underlie and reinforce
other conflicts that may be labelled as ideological, ethnic or sectarian.

Natural resources and conflict

Conflict arises when two or more groups believe their interests are incompatible. Conflict is
not in itself a negative phenomenon. Non-violent conflict can be an essential component of
social change and development, and is a necessary component of human interaction. Non-
violent resolution of conflict is possible when individuals and groups have trust in their
governing structures, society and institutions to manage incompatible interests. Conflict
becomes problematic when societal mechanisms and institutions for managing and resolving
conflict break down, giving way to violence.
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Societies with weak institutions, fragile political systems and divisive social relations can be
drawn into cycles of conflict and violence. Preventing this negative spiral and ensuring the
peaceful resolution of disputes is a core interest of the international community. The challenge
for UN, EU and other international actors is to promote positive social transformation, while
mitigating the risks and potential impacts of violent and damaging conflict.

Environmental factors are rarely, if ever, the sole cause of violent conflict. However, the
exploitation of natural resources and related environmental stresses can be implicated in all
phases of the conflict cycle, from contributing to the outbreak and perpetuation of violence to
undermining prospects for peace.
This Guidance accordingly focuses on the role of natural resources in triggering, escalating or
sustaining violent conflict. Its aim is to provide practical guidance on the role that the UN and
EU can play in early warning and assessment, structural conflict prevention (long-term
measures) and direct conflict prevention (short-term measures).

Good governance for conflict prevention

In any society, but particularly in a fragile or conflict-affected state, a system that effectively
and inclusively shares Natural Resource Management (NRM) functions between government
and civil society can help convince powerful stakeholders to buy in to the governance system
and address resource conflicts peacefully.

This requires the government to not only fulfil technical functions such as monitoring water
quality, but also to develop negotiation, mediation, and dialogue skills, a culture of
accountability, responsiveness to the public, tools for effective communication, and a
willingness to share power with other stakeholders.
In conflict-affected contexts, the capacity-building challenge is to integrate these and other
peace-building capacities into the design and the practices of government agencies and civil
society organizations for which peace-building is secondary to a primary mandate such as
water delivery, resource extraction, or environmental protection. Capacity-building must be a

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gradual, sustained, and country-owned process. Institutions and infrastructures cannot be
imposed or imported, and strengthening or reforming existing ones takes time.

Capacity-building and conflict prevention

Conflict-sensitive NRM systems are an important tool for preventing violence. A NRM system is
conflict-sensitive if the power to make decisions about vital resources can be contested by
different stakeholders without violence. This, in turn, requires a government that is capable,
accountable, transparent and responsive to the wishes and needs of its population. In this way,
natural resources have the potential to be turned from triggers for violence into a tangible
commitment on the part of the government to peace and development. It also requires a civil
society that is ready and able to engage with the government to manage resources in a
sustainable, profitable and non-violent manner.

External actors, such as the UN and the EU can help build the capacity of conflict-affected and
fragile societies to understand, manage, mediate and respond to natural resource conflicts
without violence, but the process must be led from within.

Environmental Peace-building

Environmental Peace-building examines and advocates environmental protection and
cooperation as a factor in peaceful relations. Peace-building is both the theory and practice of
identifying the conditions that can lead to a sustainable peace between those who have
previously been adversaries, and assisting adversaries to move towards a sustainable peace. In
the Middle East, common environmental challenges have been identified as a basis for regional
cooperation and Peace-building. A small Middle Eastern civil society network reaches across
adversarial boundaries to promote and practice environmental cooperation.

The study of Peace-building (a term coined by Galtung, 1975)1 develops from interest in
identifying the conditions that lead beyond a temporary cessation of violence to sustainable
processes of conflict management and mutual cooperation between those who have previously
been adversaries. Lederach2 is most commonly cited, and his work has influenced national aid

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and development agencies, international agencies, and the network of NGOs that have placed
Peace-building on their agendas.

Beginning with Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali promoting An Agenda for Peace in
1992, the United Nations adopted the language of Peace-building and developed programs
based on it. Initiatives promoting human security and human rights share a similar concern
with developing an international system that promotes the underlying conditions for the
movement towards a peaceful world.

Within the field of Peace-building studies and practice, there is a sub-literature on
environmental Peace-building that examines the role of environmental factors in moving
towards a sustainable peace. At the most basic level, warfare devastates ecosystems and the
livelihoods of those who depend on natural resources, and the anarchy of conflict situations
leads to the uncontrolled, destructive exploitation of natural resources. Preventing these
impacts allows for an easier movement to a sustainable peace. From a more positive
perspective, environmental cooperation can be one of the places where hostile parties can
sustain a dialogue, and sustainable development is a prerequisite for a sustainable peace.3, 4


Conca and Wallace5 note the relationship between environmental Peace-building projects and
studies of environment and conflict. They observe that environmental challenges may be
opportunities for Peace-building, but they may also harden differences and reinforce conflict.
Environmental challenges are also usually complexly interconnected to economic and
governance challenges. Environmental issues are now routinely acknowledged as aspects of
conflicts, and are necessarily part of the movement towards conflict management and the
transformation of conflictual relations into peaceful ones.

The United Nations Environment Program has placed environmental conflict and cooperation
on its agenda,6 conducted environmental assessments of conflict zones and has recommended7
a stronger integration of environmental issues into the work of the UN Peace-building
Commission. "Land and Environment" is one of the ten themes of the United Nations Peace-
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building Portal. The University for Peace, sponsored by the United Nations, includes
Environmental Security and Peace as one of its eight graduate programs.

Governmental and civil society organizations have also explored the role of environmental
issues in Peace-building. The EU sponsored Initiative for Peace-building has produced a series
of papers on environmental Peace-building. The International Crisis Group includes Climate
Change and Conflict as one of its key areas. In conflict settings, civil society groups have
promoted environmental Peace-building.8

Current Situation
The management of land and natural resources is one of the most critical challenges facing
developing countries today. The exploitation of high-value natural resources, including oil, gas,
minerals and timber has often been cited as a key factor in triggering, escalating or sustaining
violent conflicts around the globe. Furthermore, increasing competition over diminishing
renewable resources, such as land and water, are on the rise. This is being further aggravated
by environmental degradation, population growth and climate change.

The mismanagement of land and natural resources is contributing to new conflicts and
obstructing the peaceful resolution of existing ones. To improve capacity for land and natural
resource management (NRM) and conflict prevention, the EU partnered with the UN
Framework Team in late 2008. The aim of this partnership was to develop and implement a
strategic multi-agency project focused on building the capacity of national stakeholders, the UN
system, and the EU to prevent land and natural resources from contributing to violent conflict.

Six UN agencies, programs or departments have been involved, including UNDESA, UNDP,
UNEP, UN-HABITAT, DPA and PBSO. The partnership is also designed to enhance policy
development and program coordination between key actors at the level of country offices.

Meanwhile the exploitation, looting and sale of high value resources such as diamonds and
timber have paid for weapons and soldiers, helped to prolong conflicts, and altered the
strategic interests of different fighting forces. Since 1990, at least 18 conflicts have been
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directly financed by natural resources.9 In fact, the United Nations has estimated that since
1950, 40 per cent of all civil wars have had a link to natural resources, and where such links
were present, conflict was more likely to recur within the first five years after a peace deal.10

The issue has received high-level political attention, most recently at a UN Security Council
debate on extractive industries and conflict, held on 20 June 2013 and organized by the United
Kingdom. But while it is well accepted that natural resources can play a role in warmongering,
the role of the environment and natural resource management in peace-building has been
much less discussed.


Measures already taken to tackle the problem

While competing interests over natural resources can be a source of conflict, they can equally
be a shared opportunity for cooperation, confidence-building and sustainable development.
Understanding how to transform conflicts over natural resources into mutually beneficial
outcomes that deepen trust and inter-dependence between parties is a key aim of effective
conflict prevention and conflict management strategies. Such efforts should focus on building
consensus and mutual trust around the co-management of natural resources and the
environment, determining equitable sharing of benefits and resolving disputes in non-violent
ways.

The UN System Staff College (UNSSC) launched an on-line training programme focused on
Land, Natural Resources and Conflict. Based on materials developed by the EU-UN Partnership
on Land and Natural Resource Conflicts, the on-line programme begins with a global overview
to enhance understanding of the link between natural resources and conflict, and their overall
effect on development and the UN-EU interventions in managing them. The following 3
modules then relate to specific natural resources concerns: land, extractive industries and
renewable resources. Throughout the course, the learner will follow three Peace and
Development Practitioners during their missions to three countries facing critical situations
exacerbated by natural resources. The learner will understand how natural resources can

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create or aggravate conflict and will learn to assess the situation and look for opportunities for
interventions that can prevent or reduce conflict.

Various international initiatives have sprung up to address specific natural resource issues
faced by developing countries, often with a particular focus on the challenges faced by fragile
states. First, there has been a push for payment transparency through publicprivate schemes
including the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), campaigning groups such as
Publish What You Pay (PWYP), and domestic legislation such as the 2012 Dodd-Frank Act in
the United States (which requires all companies listed on US stock exchanges to disclose their
overseas payments).

Second, a series of initiatives has attempted to remove conflict or illegal resources from
international trade, such as the various sanctions regimes placed on Liberia and other
countries, the Kimberley Process on the export of rough diamonds, and EU and US legislation
on the traceability of conflict minerals.

Third, there is a raft of new principles and guidelines aimed at encouraging market actors to
behave more responsibly. Examples include the Equator Principles (a set of voluntary
principles for the finance sector), the Principles on Responsible Agricultural Investment (PRAI)
and the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, which are aimed at extractive
companies working in fragile states.11

These initiatives have proved individually influential. For example, in Liberia sanctions on
diamond exports were followed by sanctions on the timber trade and helped to bring down
Charles Taylors murderous regime; the Kimberley Process has helped to clean up the diamond
industry; and the EITI has provided countries with a roadmap for better disclosure from both
the public and the private sectors.

However, in many fragile and post-conflict situations natural resource issues are ignored
among multiple competing priorities: humanitarian action, getting a peacekeeping force on the

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ground, holding new elections and so on. Meanwhile, the overall donor approach to natural
resource governance in the developing world has often been disjointed and selective.

The overall approach merits some debate on three counts. First, these initiatives tend to
conflate the means with the ends. Transparency, for example, is not an end in itself but rather a
means to better, more accountable government. Guidelines themselves achieve little unless
they are followed on the ground and change corporate culture. Too often it seems that
international donors (to make a sweeping generalization) are satisfied with pursuing, and
occasionally achieving, the inputs to a process (transparency, guidelines, policies) but forget
about what the ultimate outcomes of that process should be (accountability, equity, reduced
violence etc.).

Such approaches seem to have blinded decision-makers to the broader picture of how systems
for managing land, mineral, forestry and water resources are actually working. Too often they
fail to grasp whether the rules, institutions, norms and traditions that govern how resources
are managed are fair, accountable, transparent and able to resolve disputes.

Second, donors prefer projects that they can support cheaply and quickly. The tendency is to
fund high-profile quick wins: short-term, visible initiatives such as one-off conferences and
training courses, or external consultants who can parachute in with their best-practice policies.
This generates rapid results to report back to headquarters but is rarely followed through and
often leads to duplication and waste. Sierra Leone, for example, has a clutch of overlapping and
unimplemented mining and land policies, many of which were written by foreign consultants.
Afghanistan, meanwhile, has some of the worlds most progressive, innovative laws and
regulations on forestry, water and wildlife management, but these policies are having little
tangible impact because the provinces have little capacity to implement them on the ground.

Third, by focusing on a few, disjointed aspects of natural resource management, the donors
have been gambling that a couple of key initiatives will catalyse better overall governance. But
natural resource systems are complex, overlapping webs of customary practice and modern
law, with multiple stakeholders and interests in play. New timber regulations, however
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sophisticated, are meaningless without forest monitoring, a police force that can catch illegal
loggers, and a court system able to impose penalties and so on.

As the international community has begun to recognize some of these challenges, important
steps have been taken towards developing a more coherent approach to peace-building in
fragile states. One of these initiatives is the International Dialogue on Peace-building and State-
building, which was initiated in 2008 and came out of the 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid
Effectiveness. This serves as a forum to bring together conflict-affected and fragile countries
(the so-called G7+ group of 19 countries) with international donors and civil society. The
forum has been developing a new non-binding international agreement for improved
approaches to peace-building that both the international community and fragile states
themselves can follow.

Known as the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States, the agreement was presented and
endorsed at the 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, Korea in 2011.14 It
commits countries to develop joint plans that have been informed by fragility assessments and
aligned with quantifiable measures of progress (known as peace-building and state-building
indicators). The New Deal is now being is now being rolled out in the G7+ countries, where it is
starting to influence the planning processes of both governments and the donors that are
supporting them.

Moving from technical performance to peace-building.

International actors often focus on building technical capacities, including the most
appropriate methods and techniques, trained personnel, and hardware for the performance of
sector-specific functions such as geological surveying, land demarcation and titling, water
quality testing, valuing timber or ecosystem services, or administrative/managerial functions
such as budgeting and recruiting.

Although infrastructure, equipment and staff are important, engaging with stakeholders12
constitutes another vital capacity. In conflict-affected situations, stakeholder engagement is so
critical that it must be fully integrated into all government actions. Indeed, the term should be
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unpacked to reveal the many different peace-building capacities that go into engaging
stakeholders.

Peace-building capacities are what make stakeholder engagements possible. They are highly
developed processes, institutions, and skills both traditional and modern for mediating
tensions over access to resources, managing recurring conflicts before they lead to violence,
ensuring widespread and equitable access to justice, and building consensus around critical
national priorities. 13 They include: facilitating open consultation and dialogue; mediation;
negotiation; active listening; building consensus; and, developing and using collaborative
models of change. These capacities allow states to exist as self-mediated entities that represent
an inclusive balance of relations between the key groups and sectors in a society.

Case Study

Timor-Leste: Developing law and policy in a post-conflict setting14
After 24 years of occupation by the Indonesian army, a 1999 popular vote by the people of
Timor-Leste led to independence. The result sparked major violence by pro-Indonesian
militias, which resulted in massive property destruction, the burning of land records and
people fleeing their homes.

In 2002, the United Nations created a transitional administration (UNTAET) to administer the
country until Timorese Government could be formed. Meanwhile, an interim UN Land and
Property Unit (LPU), with limited authority, was established to address land and property
issues. The UN and the newly formed Timorese Government agreed that land and property
disputes could not be properly resolved until new laws were passed by Parliament. In the
meantime the LPU experimented with mediation, based on the countrys tradition of informal
mediation, to address some of the numerous disputes.

In the immediate aftermath of the violent events of late 1999, UNTAET faced three major land
policy issues:

Ad hoc housing occupation and conflict caused by population displacement and


property destruction;

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Allocation of public and abandoned properties for humanitarian, security and


commercial purposes; and,

Re-establishing a form of land administration, particularly so as to minimize the risks of


a developing informal market in private land.


The new Government then created an agencythe National Directorate for Land and Property
(DNTP in Portuguese) with staff from the former LPU. The DNTP began to draft new laws,
develop internal rules and regulations and, with the support of CIDA, to develop new
institutionalized dispute resolution mechanisms.

These three issues are often present in post-conflict settings; the management of such
dilemmas can have a key influence on broader objectives of reconstruction and development.

A 2004 evaluation of commonly used methods of resolving land disputes revealed a strong
preference for settling disputes at the local level, often through mediation or arbitration by
elders. Since the design and implementation of the new system, it was estimated that DNTP
staff have assisted in the voluntary settlement of a significant number of land and property
cases, especially in urban areas where ownership is often highly contested. In addition, the
DNTP has trained over 500 new agency personnel and local leaders to make referrals or
engage in local dispute resolution initiatives.

Executive summaries of past resolutions


Resolutions:

A/RES/56/4

In a bid to raise awareness among the member states the world leader declared 6 November
each year as the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War
and Armed Conflict. The resolution also requested the member states to observe the day in a
befitting manner.

UNEP/GC.23/INF/21

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This resolution is mostly aimed at the security of the environment. The environment is one of
the greatest victims of conflict, the effect of which has severe impacts on the subsistence and
livelihoods of human and animal populations already ravaged by hardships, brutality and loss.
The UNEP estimates that at least 40 percent of all internal conflicts have been linked to the
exploitation of natural resources over the past 60 years.


Finally we see natural resources such as conflict diamonds and illegal timber are known to
trigger and prolong armed violence. What is less discussed is the contribution that effective
and accountable environmental and natural resource management (NRM) can make to peace-
building. Countries emerging from conflict face a range of complex environmental and natural
resource-related problems, including contentious land management, poorly negotiated mining
and logging deals, and unsustainable patterns of resource use.

However, these problems are often downplayed or ignored by the international community,
which tends to take a partial and disjointed approach to natural resource issues in fragile
states. Improved NRM is a form of peace-building in that it encourages the development of
clear, fair systems of ownership; creates mechanisms to resolve disputes; and promotes the
equitable sharing of benefits from natural resource exploitation. As such, it can help build trust
and predictability where previously there was mistrust and competition.

By taking a more holistic approach to the management of natural resources such as timber,
land, oil and minerals, the international community those providing humanitarian assistance,
diplomats helping to mediate the conflict, peacekeeping forces monitoring a ceasefire, and aid
workers starting development programs can replace conflict, competition and mistrust with
transparent rules, predictability and trust. Seen in this way, supporting NRM is a form of peace-
building in itself.

Bibliography

Bledsoe, David and Brown, Michael, Land and Conflict: A toolkit for Intervention, USAID, Washington,
2004

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Carius, A. (2006). Environmental Peacebuilding: Cooperation as an Instrument of Crisis Prevention and


Peacebuilding: Conditions for Success and Constraints. The German Federal Ministry for Economic
Cooperation and Development.
Conca, K., & Wallace, J. (2009). Environment and Peacebuilding in War-torn Societies: Lessons from the
UN Environment Programme's Experience with Postconflict Assessment. Global Governance, 15, 4, pp.
185-105.
Galtung, J. 1975. "Three approaches to peace: peacekeeping, peacemaking and peacebuilding." In Peace,
War and Defence - Essays in Peace Research Vol. 2, 282-304. Copenhagen: Christian Ejlers.
Halle, S. (Editor). (2009). From Conflict to Peacebuilding: The Role of Natural Resources and
Environment. United Nations Environment Programme. Nairobi: Kenya
Obi, Cyril I. 2005. Environmental Movements in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Political Ecology of Power and
Conflict. UNRISD Programme on Civil Society and Social Movements, Paper Number 15, January
Lederach, John Paul. Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies (Washington, DC:
United States Institute of Peace Press) 1997,
UNDP BCPR, Transitions to a Lasting Recovery: A UNDP Viewpoint,
UNDP,

Capacity

Development:

UNDP

Primer,

UNDP,

2009,

available

at:

http://www.undp.org/capacity
UNDP, Salmon, Jago and Piza-Lopez, Eugenia, Capacity is Development; Capacity Development in Post-
Conflict Countries, 2010, available at: http://www.capacityisdevelopment.org
UNEP. (2004). Understanding Environment, Conflict, and Cooperation. Nairobi: Kenya.



















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Reference List

Galtung, Johan. 1975. "Three approaches to peace: peacekeeping, peacemaking and peacebuilding." In

Peace, War and Defence - Essays in Peace Research Vol. 2, 282-304. Copenhagen: Christian Ejlers.
2

Lederach, John Paul. Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies (Washington, DC:

United States Institute of Peace Press) 1997.


3

Carius, A. (2006). Environmental Peacebuilding: Cooperation as an Instrument of Crisis Prevention and

Peacebuilding: Conditions for Success and Constraints. The German Federal Ministry for Economic
Cooperation and Development.
4

Carius, A. (2006). Environmental Peacebuilding: Cooperation as an Instrument of Crisis Prevention and

Peacebuilding: Conditions for Success and Constraints. The German Federal Ministry for Economic
Cooperation and Development.
5

Conca, K., & Wallace, J. (2009). Environment and Peacebuilding in War-torn Societies: Lessons from the UN

Environment Programme's Experience with Postconflict Assessment. Global Governance, 15, 4, pp. 185-105.
6

UNEP. (2004). Understanding Environment, Conflict, and Cooperation. Nairobi: Kenya.

Halle, S. (Editor). (2009). From Conflict to Peacebuilding: The Role of Natural Resources and Environment.

United Nations Environment Programme. Nairobi: Kenya.


8

Obi, Cyril I. 2005. Environmental Movements in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Political Ecology of Power and

Conflict. UNRISD Programme on Civil Society and Social Movements, Paper Number 15, January.
9

Ibid.

10

See From Conflict to Peacebuilding: The Role of Natural Resources and the Environment (UNEP, 2009).

11

See their websites at respectively http://www.equator-principles.com,

http://unctad.org/en/Pages/DIAE/G-20/PRAI.aspx and http://www.icmm.com/library/voluntary-principles-


on-security-and-human-rights.
12

UNDP, Capacity Development: A UNDP Primer, UNDP, 2009, available at: http://www.undp.org/capacity;

UNDP, Salmon, Jago and Piza-Lopez, Eugenia, Capacity is Development; Capacity Development in Post-
Conflict Countries, 2010, available at: http://www.capacityisdevelopment.org
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13

Adapted from UNDP BCPR, Transitions to a Lasting Recovery: A UNDP Viewpoint, UNDP BCPR, 2009.

14

Bledsoe, David and Brown, Michael, Land and Conflict: A toolkit for Intervention, USAID, Washington,

2004.

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Topic B: Measures to manage the rapid deterioration of the Arctic


History of the Topic

Located at the northernmost part of the Earth, the Arctic region is a geographic area that is

covered by varying levels of ice throughout the year. The Arctic Circle refers specifically to an
imaginary line located at 66, 30N latitude. On the other hand, the Arctic region is generally
recognized as the area bounded by eight Arctic states Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland,
Norway, Russia, Sweden, and USA.
In recent decades, climate change has led to profound changes to the landscape of the
Arctic region. Issues such as climate change, mining, shipping, oil and gas development and
overfishing continue to plague the Arctic region.1 According to the Yearbook 2013 published by
UNEP, the extent of the sea ice was at a record low in September 2012.2 Specifically, the minimum
sea ice cover was 18 per cent below the minimum in 2007 and an astonishing 50 per cent below the
1980s to 1990s average. This rapid reduction of sea ice outpaces previous model predictions
conducted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The IPCC had previously estimated
that the Arctic could be ice-free around 2100, yet current trends point to a nearer date of 2035.3
Due to the geographic location of the Arctic, ocean currents have brought more heat to the Arctic
region, causing the Arctic to warm at a rate twice the global average. While melting sea ice will not
raise sea levels around the world, the melting ice cover of Greenland could potentially increase sea
levels around the world significantly by up to 7 meters, although this process would in fact take
centuries.4 Yearly updates provided by US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
termed Arctic Report Card are in agreement with the worrying trend of decreasing sea ice and
snow cover.5
One group of near term threat to the warming climate of the Arctic region is short-term
climate pollutants. Experts, including those from the UNEP and the Arctic Council, have called
attention to these pollutants as even though they remain in the atmosphere for merely days or
weeks, they are much more powerful greenhouse effect enhancers than carbon dioxide.6
Such a rapid change in the Arctic conditions is also threatening the biodiversity of the Arctic,
as well as the indigenous population that live in the Arctic region. The Arctic provides a unique
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habitat for flora and fauna, especially the migratory species which come to Arctic to breed.
Changing Arctic conditions potentially lead to less food at critical periods. The decreasing sea ice
coverage also has a direct impact on the Arctic species. For example, as polar bears utilize sea ice as
a base for hunting, decreased sea ice cover would mean less hunting grounds and less space for
polar bears. According to the Arctic Report Card, polar bears numbers are decreasing in connection
with a decrease in sea ice.7 Another threat to Arctic species is the prevalence of non-Arctic species
encroaching on the Arctic region. For example, the red fox, due to warmer temperatures, has been
able to expand their habitat northward, resulting in increased competition for food and space,
threatening to displace the smaller Arctic fox.8 The general worry is that the climate is changing at a
pace faster that most species are able to adapt to the change. Warmer temperatures have also led
to the thawing of permafrost, soil below the freezing temperature of water. As Arctic permafrost
contain greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, the thawing of permafrost has led
to increased levels of greenhouse gases in the Arctic which exacerbates the climate condition in the
Arctic.9 Essentially, it creates a vicious cycle that threatens to accelerate global warming and faster
melting in the Arctic.
Warmer temperatures are also affecting the four million people who live in the Arctic
region, and whose communities and economies have been shaped over centuries to suit those
conditions. According to the Polar Region Chapter of the IPCCs Fifth Assessment Report,
Indigenous peoples and local Arctic communities are expected to face a harder time maintaining
their way of life, as these communities are heavily reliant on the environment for food and
culture.10 Extreme weather events, such as large storm surges, brought about by climate change
are also impacting local communities in ways that they do know have the neither available
technological know-how nor infrastructure to cope with. However, the report does identify ways in
which Arctic communities have been able to adapt to the change in climate condition in the Arctic.
Nonetheless, due to the historical lack of political and economic marginalization of such
communities, more work is needed to aid them in face of changing climate conditions in the Arctic.
That being said, the warming of the Arctic has produced alternative sustenance methods for local
communities one such way being agriculture. In Greenland, with warmer temperatures lasting for
longer periods of time and reduced ice coverage, agriculture is now viable in more parts of
Greenland than was previously available.
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While the melting sea ice brings about largely detrimental impacts on the environment, it
has incidentally created new economic benefits. Previously, while the Arctic region was largely a
block of sea ice, less sea ice has open new trade routes and exposes the Arctic region to exploration
and exploitation of oil, gas and mineral deposits.11 In particular, two trade routes are currently
being used are the Northern Sea Route and the Northwest Passage. According to the UNEP
Yearbook 2013, the Northern Sea Route saw more than 30 ships pass through it in the 5 months
that it remained open. This passage offers significant savings in terms of distance for shipping
between Northern European ports and ports in East Asia. While the number of 30 ships pales in
comparison to the some 17 000 ships per year that utilize the Suez Canal, Russia has announced
plans to develop the Northern Sea Route into a significant trade route. Developments of large scale
will undoubtedly disturb the vulnerable and already-frail environment of the Arctic. According to
the European Environment Agency, increases in shipping could result to further warming. 12
Furthermore, increased shipping increases the pollution and the possibility of accidents that could
result in irreversible environmental damage. Apart from new trade routes, receding sea ice allows
access to the largely untapped reserves in the Arctic. An estimate by the US Geological Survey
claims that Arctic has 30 per cent of the worlds natural gas and 15 percent of oil.13 Many countries
and companies are awaiting opportunities to tap these reserves previously inaccessible due to the
presence of sea ice. The infrastructure needed to access these reserves and the construction of
such infrastructure would again, undoubtedly, have a large environmental impact of the Arctic
region. UNEP thus warns countries should proceed to access Arctic resources with strong sense of
environmental awareness.
Complicating environmental and economic issues are the competing territorial claims by
the various Arctic States. Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),
costal states have the right to establish a 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) where
they have sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the continental shelf unless there is a need for
maritime delimitation with another coastal state.14 Currently, the various Arctic States claim EEZs
that overlap. Due to the potential of the abundance of oil and natural resources available, it is
unsurprising that the Arctic States are claiming as large an extent of territory as possible.15
In response to the threat of climate change, the government of Finland took the initiative, in
September 1989, to gather officials from the eight Arctic States to work towards cooperative
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measures aimed at protecting the Arctic environment[1]16. This resulted in the Arctic Environmental
Protection Strategy (AEPS) produced in June 1991 which the eight Arctic State outlined their
commitments to protect the changing Arctic landscape in terms of environmental impacts,
scientific research, monitoring programs, and protection of marine environment. In 1996, the
governments of the Arctic States decided to institutionalize the AEPS into the Arctic Council. This
decision was spelt out in the Ottawa Declaration.17 Since then, the Arctic Council has been the main
intergovernmental forum dealing with issues regarding Arctic conservations. In addition to the
eight Arctic States, organizations representing six indigenous populations, termed Permanent
Participants of the Arctic Council, are also represented within the Arctic Council.18 Several other
countries, intergovernmental Organizations and Non-governmental organizations have also been
given observer status in the Arctic Council.
Structurally, the Arctic Council is chaired by an Arctic State for a two-year period which
would direct the work of the Arctic Council. Specifically, it is supported by six Working Groups,
composed of experts from the various governments, and Task Forces.19 Task Forces have specific
mandates and are only active until they have accomplished their stated goals. The work of the
Working Groups range from Arctic monitoring and assessment to Emergency Prevention,
Preparedness and Response. To this end, one of the Arctic Councils most notable achievement has
been the conclusion of the Arctic Search and Rescue Agreement of 2011 which defines an area of
responsibility for each nation in organizing search and rescue incidents.

Current Situation

The climate change situation at the Arctic cannot simply be addressed by the Arctic states
themselves. A broader framework regarding global climate change needs to be taken into account
to effectively address regional climate change issues. For example, in 2012, the Arctic Council has
organized side even at the COP18 climate change negotiations to allow various parties to take note
of developments within the Arctic Region.
Nonetheless, much of the work regarding the Arctic is undertaken either by the eight Arctic
States or through the Arctic Council. As mentioned, the Arctic Council has six Working Groups
namely, Arctic Contaminants Action Program (ACAP), Arctic Monitoring and Assessment
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Programme (AMAP), Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF), Emergency Prevention,
Preparedness and Response (EPPR), Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME), and
Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG).20 For example, the AMAP actively works to
measure levels of pollutants and report on the condition of the Arctic environment to provide
various stakeholders with timely information to make decisions to needed for the preservation of
the Arctic condition. Task Forces are also currently in place to execute specific action plans
mandated to them. One such Task Force under the Arctic Council is the Task Force on Black Carbon
and Methane (TFBCM) which is tasked with developing arrangements on actions to achieve
reductions in black carbon and methane emissions in the Arctic.
The UNEP as a whole run a Regional Seas Programme that aims to address the accelerating
degradation of the worlds oceans and coastal areas through the sustainable management and use
of the marine and coastal environment, by engaging neighbouring countries in comprehensive and
specific actions to protect their shared marine environment.21 The current programme covers 18
different regions of the world, although they are divided into UNEP Administered, Non-UNEP
Administered and Independent Programmes. While the Arctic region falls under independent
programmes, it continues to participate actively in global meetings of the Regional Seas (RS) and
contribute its experiences and best practices to the various participants.
Despite many aims at addressing the climate change of theArctic, specific actions must be
undertaken to help local communities cope with the change in Arctic conditions. Key areas which
need to be addressed include environmental protection, resource development, shopping routes,
management of local communities and sovereignty of the Arctic region.

Measures already taken to tackle the problem


Most efforts to address the rapid deterioration of the Arctic are undertaken by the eight

Arctic States through the Arctic Council. On top of the ongoing process of Working Groups and Task
Forces, an Action Plan called the Adaptation Actions for a Changing Arctic is one of the Councils
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flagship programme to address changes in the Arctic condition.22 Led by the AMAP Working Group,
it aims to put together a variety of expertise from various fields to help produce better frameworks
in understanding the changing landscape.
In addition, changes in the Arctic have global implications, environmentally and
economically. Thus, it is important for all stakeholders to work together to manage the changing
conditions of the Arctic. To this end, UNEP remains actively involved in the work of the Arctic
Council as an observer to the Council. In both 2003 and 2008, the Governing Council of UNEP
requested the Executive Director increase UNEPs engagement with the Arctic Council to better
enhance information sharing and cooperation in the implementation of programmes.23 Most of
UNEPs work with the Arctic Council involves the contribution to the Councils scientific and
technical working groups. The UNEP is also a founding member of The Climate and Clean Air
Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC), established in 2012 to address such
pollutants like black carbon and methane.24 On a bilateral basis, the UNEP cooperates with the
Russian government on the Arctic Agenda 2020 Programme, which aims to facilitate sustainable
environmental programmes within the Russian Arctic Zone.25

Case Study

Executive Summaries of Past Relevant Resolutions/Key Documents
Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy (AEPS)26
Produced in June 1991, the AEPS was a non-binding agreement on environmental protection by the
eight Arctic nations. Some, but not all, of the indigenous peoples were presented in the drafting of
this strategy. This strategy included commitments to cooperation in scientific research, assessment
of environmental impacts, implementation of measures to control pollutants, monitoring of levels
of pollutants, and the protection of the marine environment.
Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA)27 and Arctic Climate Issues 2011: Changes in Arctic Snow,
Water, Ice and Permafrost (SWIPA 2011)28
Produced in 2004, the ACIA was commissioned by the Ministers of the Arctic Council. It was the first
comprehensive assessment of the impacts of Arctic climate change, which included socio-
economical and health aspects of climate change on top of environmental impacts. The 2011
SWIPA Report was a follow-up to the ACIA report and updates information previously presented.
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Ottawa Declaration of 199629

The Ottawa Declaration formally established the Arctic Council as a high level forum to promote
cooperation, coordination and interaction among the Arctic States, oversee and manage
programmes under the AEPS, and encourage information sharing among Arctic States.
Agreement on Cooperation on Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue in the Arctic30
The first legally binding instrument produced by the Arctic Council in 2011 spells out the specific
areas of responsibility of the Arctic for search and rescue purposes. It also specifically notes that
such delimitation of search and rescue boundaries are not in any way representative of the
sovereignty or jurisdiction of the responsible Arctic state.
IPCCs Fifth Assessment Report (AR5)31
The Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) was produced in 2013 2014 by the IPCC. As a follow up to the
Fourth Assessment Report, AR5 was commissioned at the IPCC 28th Session to address the various
impacts and effects on climate change. In particular, Chapter 28: Polar Regions of Part B: Regional
Aspects of the Contribution of Working group II to AR5 pertains to the Arctic and Antarctica
regions. It is a scientific report which lays out the observed changes and vulnerability of the region,
as well as projected impacts and vulnerabilities.
Arctic Report Card32
Produced by the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration yearly since
2006, the Arctic Report Card provides environmental information on the Arctic condition. They
include annual updates on environmental statistics and indicators such as air temperature,
Greenland Ice Sheet Sea Ice, and essays on emerging issues relating to scientific observations. This
annual Report Card is also peer-reviewed by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme of
the Arctic Council.


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