Lydia Millar: “The Environment-Conflict Nexus: The Weaknesses of the Transitional Justice Regime and its Consequences for Conflict-Induced Environmental Harm”

In Students by General Account

The relationship between periods of conflict and environmental harm is multidimensional and pervasive, and can be broken down into four relational statements: the environment may be a cause of conflict; the environment is a means to perpetuate and sustain conflict; the environment may fall victim to collateral damage during the course of a conflict, or warring parties may intentionally destroy it to further their objectives; and finally, environmental harm is a barrier to lasting peace, hindering post-conflict recovery. Despite these links, the environment-conflict nexus has been under-explored and under-theorised within transitional justice (Clark, 2016; Klinsky and Brankovich, 2019).   This project aims to determine the extent to which transitional justice deals with environmental harm arising from armed conflict. To assess the impact of transitional justice in dealing with environmental harm from more than just a theoretical perspective, I plan to use Colombia as a case study. While the 2016 peace agreement between the government and the FARC stipulated that one of their goals was environmental protection and sustainability, the armed conflict and its complex socio-political and socio-ecological dimensions continue to reverberate into the present (Pereira et al., 2021).  While the project focuses on Colombia, it will have broader implications for countries facing the challenge of addressing environmental harm post-conflict. Additionally, given the embryonic nature of this field of scholarship and the case study nature of the project, there is significant potential for it to have “real world” impact through better understanding of how to remedy the environmental consequences of armed conflict.