2023 Geneva Peace Week - Addressing Politics in Environmental Peacebuilding

02.11.2023 Building Peace
Policy Briefing - Thematic Track: Addressing climate change through just transitions 15:00-16:30 (CEST) Conference Centre C1 (Pétale 5) and online Event page here

Main organiser




The centrality of politics in environmental peacebuilding is crucial to advancing substantive peace. This policy briefing event will challenge the notion that the environment can framed as an apolitical entry point; instead highlighting the shortcomings of non-politicized technical cooperation and showcasing different approaches to addressing politics in environmental peacebuilding.

Apolitical interventions, such as technical cooperation on shared natural resources in conflict settings, fall short of creating a conducive environment for sustainable peacebuilding. Instead, prioritizing non-politicized technical cooperation over shared natural resources perpetuates an imbalanced power dynamic and risks exacerbating socio-economic tensions. Shared environmental concerns between conflict parties remain acutely political issues. However, environmental peacebuilding initiatives driven solely by political motivations, without incorporating the required technical expertise and representation, risk undermining political and environmental confidence-building measures among conflicting parties.

The interplay and relationship between politics and technical issues is as relevant between states as at the local level or in interactions with non-state actors. Bringing practical insights from case studies from Western Africa, the Sahel, Western Asia and the South China Sea Dialogue, the policy briefing will emphasise the importance of facilitating multi-track engagement in addressing the politics in environmental peacebuilding.

On site moderator

Adam Day, Head of the Geneva Office, United Nations University Centre for Policy Research.

Online moderator

Esme Markham, Program Manager in the Development Cooperation department, MEDRC.


  • Natasha Carmi, Lead Water Specialist, Geneva Water Hub
  • Dané Smith, Program Manager in Development Cooperation Department, MEDRC
  • Olivia Macharis, Project Officer, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD Centre)

The 2023 Geneva Peace Week trailer video is available below.