Nobel Peace Prize 2004 was awarded to Wangari Maathai for her long-term consistent work with environmental conflicts. She believes that behind almost all conflicts, is a root cause which is a lack of natural resources. When conflict develops, it often takes expressions that are of entirely different character. It can be ethnic, political or religious, for example. By instead focusing on the root cause and jointly start managing natural resources, so can these stereotypical attitudes and conflict be broken up.
Environmental conflicts arises when the supply of a natural resources are diminished for a group that shares the resources with other groups.
Deteriorating living conditions and the possibility of failing supply of fundamental resources is often the cause of conflicts. Conversely, conflicts often leads to natural resources are used up even faster than they are re-created and that nature is harmed more than it can recover. For example, it increases the salinity of the Dead Sea is increasing as a direct result of lack of cooperation on water resources. When we become aware of this, and we are experiencing a deterioration in living conditions, a need to contribute to change can be awakened.
Most regions of the world have problems with their water. This may include pollution, water scarcity or unequal distribution.
Attention has been paid to discuss water as a source of conflict both between and within states. One reason that water is a source of conflict is that it flows across political boundaries that otherwise could be contested. In particular, groundwater is difficult to control. States that are hostile to each other can use water as a kind of pressure against another state. A major challenge is to try to get these states to cooperate on water.
The risk of wars over water have been painted as the next big source of conflict, after the battle for oil assets. Now the multi-depth insight conflict researchers show that the risk is exaggerated. That in on the other hand actually can give opportunities in various forms of cooperation that can contribute to a sustainable development. [Reference Joakim Öjendal March 2006]
Read more about sustainable development here…