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Offer: From Conflict to Peacebuilding: The Role of Natural Resources and the Environment

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Please join the Environmental Change and Security Program for a report launch of

From Conflict to Peacebuilding: The Role of Natural Resources and the Environment

featuring

Achim Steiner, Executive Director, UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

Daniel A. Reifsnyder, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Environment, Bureau of Oceans, Environment, and Science, U.S. Department of State

Andrew Morton, Programme Manager, Disasters and Conflicts Programme, UNEP

Tuesday, March 24, 2009
6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. (reception at 6:00 p.m.)
6th Floor Flom Auditorium
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20004

Webcast live at www.wilsoncenter.org

Without a greater focus on the environment and natural resources during the peacebuilding process, intrastate conflicts are likely to escalate, say the authors of From Conflict to Peacebuilding: The Role of Natural Resources and the Environment, a new report from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). Conflicts with a link to natural resources are twice as likely to relapse within the first five years of peace. However, fewer than 25 percent of peace agreements for resource-related conflicts address these linkages, leaving many post-conflict countries vulnerable to relapse. A stronger role for the environment in post-conflict planning, along with greater capacity for early warning, are required to address environmental risks and capitalize on peacebuilding opportunities. Investing in environmental management and the governance of natural resources should be a priority in post-conflict countries and fragile states that rely on natural resources for economic development and livelihoods. For an overview of the report and its six primary recommendations plus related links, visit http://tinyurl.com/UNEPreport.

Presenting the report will be Achim Steiner, who has served as UNEP’s executive director since 2006. Before joining UNEP, he served as director-general of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) from 2001 to 2006. His career has included assignments with governmental, non-governmental, and international organizations in different parts of the world. In Washington, DC, where he was senior policy advisor for IUCN's Global Policy Unit, he led the development of new partnerships between the environmental community, the World Bank, and the UN system. In 1998 he was appointed secretary-general of the World Commission on Dams, based in South Africa, where he managed a global program of work to bring together the public sector, civil society, and the private sector in a global policy process on dams and development.

Commenting on the report will be Daniel Reifsnyder, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Environment in the Bureau of Oceans, Environment, and Science and the Department of State. Mr. Reifsnyder is responsible for a broad suite of issues related to environmental protection and conservation, including: trans boundary air quality, protection of the stratospheric ozone layer, international chemicals management, the trans boundary movement of hazardous wastes, persistent organic pollutants, environmental aspects of free trade agreements, international forestry conservation, biological diversity, desertification, wildlife conservation and the protection of wetlands and coral reefs. In these areas, he leads the U.S. delegation under multiple bilateral and multilateral treaties and agreements.

Andrew Morton, a programme manager for UNEP’s Conflicts and Disasters Programme, will also present the report’s findings. His recent experience includes extensive fieldwork in Sudan and now in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Haiti. This work has focused on assessing environmental issues in post-conflict and disaster-affected countries and designing programs to help ensure that recovery occurs in a sustainable manner. He also contributes to UNEP efforts on environment and peacebuilding, disaster risk reduction, and climate change-induced migration. Prior to joining UNEP, Morton worked for 16 years on environmental projects for the private sector in more than 10 countries.

If you are interested, but unable to attend the event, please tune into the live or archived webcast at www.wilsoncenter.org. The webcast will begin approximately 10 minutes after the posted meeting time. You will need Windows Media Player to watch the webcast. To download the free player, visit: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/download.

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