EDC News

About EDC News:

EDC News is dedicated to disseminate and discuss research and case studies on environment & development challenges, covering news and reports on population dynamics, access to natural resources and livelihoods, and their impact on poverty alleviation, economic growth, and health.

Particular attention is paid to human rights and gendered aspects of these issues, and the policy challenges posed by risks of conflict and humanitarian disasters.

EDC News consists of a resource base of material continually added to on this web site; an electronic newsletter which summarizes this material six times a year; and a corresponding e-mail newsletter (free) with short prompters pointing subscribers to the lates issue of EDC News on the web.

Each item there will lead readers to full reviews of reports and cases. Whenever possible, these contain links to downloading full-text versions of the original documents or reports. In addition, both news items and reviews are linked to research issues, concepts and cases , as well as research sources on this site.

These background sections are continually added to. Each issue of the newsletter contains a note on material and resources added to the site since the last issue of EDC News.

People behind EDC News:

EDC News is commissioned by the Environmental Policy Division at Sida (the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency), and edited by Leif Ohlsson, at the department of peace and development research, Göteborg University, Sweden.

From 2003 EDC News is produced in cooperation with SODECO (Social Development Consultants), Lund, Sweden, with main contributions from Mikael Hammarskjöld,Ditte Mårtensson, Bertil Egerö, and Anna Collins-Falk.

EDC News offers opportunities for volunteer work, contributing material. Contact Leif Ohlsson.

History of EDC News:

EDC News - Environment & Development Challenges has been published under its present name since the beginning of 2003.

It is a continuation of the electronic newsletters EDC News - Environment, Development & Conflict (of which it is a seamless continuation), and the printed newsletter Update on People and the Environment, both commissioned by the Environmental Policy Division at Sida, the Swedish International Development Agency.

For English readers, abstracts of the contents and links to reviews will be found in the Archive, which also contains previous issues of the present electronic version for reading on your screen, as well as the option to download them as pdf-files for printing.

(Swedish readers have the additional opportunity to download the earlier printed issues in Swedish as pdf-files from the Archive. Earlier issues of Update on People and the Environment are available from Sida.)

Features of EDC News: EDC News is consciously built up as a web in its own right, featuring several levels of deeper review and analysis and the option to check a lot of internal cross-references. Whenever in the text you find one of these little arrows, it will lead you to the next level of analysis in another document on this site, or another section of the document you are reading.

(The system is not completely coherent - in order to conform to conventions some internal links may still be underlined, e.g. in the navigational part of the sidebar to the left.)

All external links are underlined, and will open in separate windows, as does downloaded documents from this site, such as pdf-files. This is in order for you to be able to continue browsing this site while loading external sources or downloading files. Finally, couloured text is not linked; the coulouring is just used for high-lighting the content.

Six important points:

State of the World report: Our common future depends on China and India

The choices that China and India make in the next several years will have a huge impact on the quality of life throughout the world. Those choices will be influcenced, in turn, by what the headway leading industrialized countries will make towards sustainability. Developing countries around the world look for signals, and will be persuaded more by what industrialized countries do than what they say. This is the gist of the prestigious State of the World 2006 report from Worldwatch Institute. There is ample evidence that China and India so far are following the western model, in particular in their use of fossil fuels.

The United States, Europe, Japan, India, and China together claim 75 percent of the Earths biocapacity, effectively leaving 25 percent for the rest of the world.

Lester Brown's "Plan B": Poverty reduction and environmental reconstruction

Although it is obvious that no society can survive the decline of its environmental support systems, many people are not yet convinced of the need for economic restructuring. But this is changing now that China has eclipsed the United States in the consumption of most basic resources, notes Lester Brown in an updated version of his book "Plan B 2.0: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble". Integral part of this "Plan B" are poverty eradication and environmental reconstruction. Creating an economy which will sustain economic progress requires hope and a functioning natural resource base. Both needs to be recreated and reconstructed, and they go toghether.

If we fail, says Brown, it will not be because of lack of fiscal resources. Even if the US would take on the costs alone, and deduct the whole cost from its present military budget, it would still leave enough room for military spending surpassing all NATO countires, plus Russia and China, combined.

Environmental peacemaking in practice - the Balkans

Environmental peacemaking has been proposed as a concept and a practice carrying the hope of being one of a set of "tools" for managing a diversity of conflicts, between and within countries around the world. Franziska Heidenreich has critically studied one such process of environmental peacemaking, namely the Balkans. Her story starts at the symbolic-laden Old Bridge in Mostar, linking Moslem Bosniaks and Catholic Croats.

It is a truly critical study - the hopes of bringing peace between the two communities through joint management of the transnational Neretva River waterway has so far floundered. Mostar is still very much a divided city.

The story is continued by a close examination of the peace negotiations, and a background page on the post-conflict situation in the Balkans.

Hopes for reconciliation in the still conflict-prone Balkan region today is tied mostly to the EU perspective.


Research Concepts, Issues & Cases: (See also special page "Research sources" )

Some sources used in EDC News:

(For a list of subjects, see special page here . Sources below in alphabetical order. Full presentations follow below . The list is added to over time as sources are referred to in EDC News. Contributions and suggestions for new research sources are welcomed.) ACCORD (African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes)m ACORD (Agency for Cooperation and Research in Development) ACTS (The African Centre for Technology Studies) Adelphi Papers (IISS) Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), Delhi Conflict, Development and Peace Network (CODEP) Ecological Conflicts List Environment and Conflicts Project (ENCOP) Environmental Change & Security Project (ECSP)Report (Woodrow Wilson Center) Environmental News Service (ENS) Feinstein International Famine Center (Tufts University) Forest Trees and People Programme (FTPP) Gleick, Peter Harvard "Economics and Conflict" web portal Homer-Dixon, Thomas Human Rights Watch (HRW) ID21 Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN) International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) International Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) Ohlsson, Leif Oxfam (policy papers) Pacific Institute for studies in development, environment, and security PRIO (International Peace Research Institute Oslo) Toronto group (Homer-Dixon) Transboundary Freshwater Dispute Database Tufts University - Feinstein International Famine Center
UNEP - United Nations Environmental Programme UNWire Vietnam Environmental Conference Wolf, Aaron T.
Woodrow Wilson Center - Environmental Change & Security Project (ECSP) Report World Bank research on "The Economics of Civil War, Crime, and Violence" "World's Water" (at the Pacific Institute)

Issues reviewed on this site include Gendered aspects of conflict management, and Women in Conflict.

Reviewed on this site: Ecological Sources of African Conflicts.

Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), Delhi The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), Delhi, India, is a prime source for information on environmental effects on the subcontinent, as well as the global NGO environmental movement. Founded by Anil Agarwal (who often writes opinion pieces in the fortnightly electronic newsletter "What's new at CSE", subscriptions free), the centre has in many cases taken a lead in global environmental discussions. A particular strong feature is their focus on ecological poverty; caused by loss of livelihoodsas a result of environmental scarcities.


The organization publishes a most useful newsletter. To subscribe on the email version, write to Kathleen Armstrong at kathleena@codep.org.uk.


The future of the "Ecological Conflicts" list is under review, but it still continues, and has provided a continuous flow of news clippings and reports much in line with EDC News, but at a sometimes daily rate. Information and subscription here.

The project is no longer active, but it produced a large number of useful occasional papers, and a final report in two volumes.

Of particular value to an international audience is the yearly publication of the Environmental Change and Security Project Report, for downloading in pdf format. (Note: Use the link provided here, and not the one provided on the ECSP site, which unfortunately is not updated.)

The article on Agriculture and Conflict by de Soysa & Gleditsh (reviewed in EDC News 2001-01) is contained in a section of Report No 5, which can be downloaded here (pdf-file).

Feinstein International Famine Center (Tufts University) The Feinstein International Famine Center at Tufts University, Boston, was established in 1996 to improve emergency, relief and refugee efforts in times of famine, war and complex emergencies. The Center works primarily in Africa to prevent and mitigate famine, resolve local conflicts and develop emergency responses that contribute to durable survival strategies for people coping with crisis. Directed by Sue Lautze, the Livelihoods Initiative focuses on microeconomics, considering the ways in which people survive in crisis situations over time. (On this site: Fundamentals of a Livelihoods Strategy.)

Forests, Trees and People Programme: Forests, Trees and People Programme (FTPP) is a centre for networking activities which are jointly run by SLU Kontakt at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), the Community Forestry Unit (CFU) based at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Italy, and regional programme facilitators in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin and North America.

The network is designed to share information about improving community forestry activities and about initiatives of interest to its members. Inquiries may be directed to the FTP regional center or network focal point nearest you. For more information, contact:

FTPP Network SLU Kontakt Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) Box 7034, SE-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden Tel. +46-18-672001, Fax: +46-18-671980 FTPP.Network@kontakt.slu.se m

The portal has been developed by the Conflict Prevention Initiative (CPI) at the Harvard Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research (HPCR).

The two main projects were: The Project on Environment, Population, andSecurity, and The Project on Environmental Scarcities, State Capacity, and Civil Violence. The two websites can be reached from each other, as well as the database and publications on the web.

Full reviews (on this site) of projects, main articles & case studies: The research projects of the Toronto group (main page).m

ID21 ID21 - A development research reporting service featuring "a selection of the latest and best UK-based development research". Free email newsletter, "ID21 News", announcing additions to the site. Reports always summarized with sources of original research and contact addresses to authors.

Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN) A superb source for day-to-day news and updates on events relevant to humanitarian efforts, development, conflict, livelihoods and environment in Africa and Central Asia. Website, with the option to subscribe (free) to a selection of email newsletters (daily or weekly) on Central & Eastern Africa, West Africa, Central Africa, Southern Africa, and Central Asia.

IRIN is run by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which also maintains the even more comprehensive service Reliefweb.

(Referred to in EDC News 1999-01 )

International Institute for Strategic Studies (Adelphi Papers): The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), founded in 1958, is an independent centre for research, information and debate on the problems of conflict. Its work is grounded in an appreciation of the various political, economic and social problems that can lead to instability as well as factors that can lead to international cooperation.

The IISS publishes the authoritative annual The Military Balance, an inventory of the world’s armed forces; Strategic Survey, an annual retrospective view of the year’s political and military trends; the Adelphi Paper monograph series, in-depth analyses of general strategic issues and regional security; a quarterly journal, Survival, a leading international journal of strategic issues; and Strategic Comments, containing short briefings on breaking strategic issues, which is also syndicated in the international press.

International Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) The International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO) was founded in 1959 as one of the first centres of peace research in the world. PRIO is Norway's only peace research centre.

Publications include the two prestigious journals Security Dialogue and Journal of Peace Research. A recent book is Environmental Conflict by Paul F. Diehl and Nils Petter Gleditsh (order from Amazon.UK here). Annual reports 1998& 1999 available i pdf-format. A full-text version of Dan Smith & Willy Østreng (eds): Research on Environment, Poverty and Conflict is provided at the website.

Research programmes include "Agriculture & Conflict" and "Environmental Change, Good Governance, Development and Human Security (GECHS)". m

Ohlsson, Leif (Personal research website, Göteborg University): Personal research website (at the dept. of Peace and Development Research, Göteborg University) of the editor of this site & newsletter. Most published articles available on-line (summaries & pdf-files of manuscript versions). The book Environment, Scarcity, and Conflict - a study of Malthusian concerns is available in full-text version (summaries + pdf-files of separate chapters).

At that site, the Pacific Institute has announced the posting of an on-line chronology of water-related conflicts from 1500 AD to the present. Initially developed for the biennial water report, updated information on the subject is now made regularly available. The chronology may be studied online, or downloaded as a pdf-file.

UNEP - United Nations Environmental Programme UNEP, the UN Environmental Programme, maintains a number of web-sites, one in Geneva (mainly for international environmental negotiations documents), and one in Nairobi (main site). The main UNEP outreach site is "UNEP.Net". A specialized sub-site is the UNEP Balkans Unit, specialising in environmental assessments of conflict in the Balkans (including depleted uranium, DU). m

Current issue
of UN Wire UN Wire UN Wire is an independent reporting service focusing on activities of UN organizations, human rights, environmental and other non-governmental organizations. In addition, it covers major newspapers (not only industrialized western countries). A very good source, with the option to subscribe to daily email headlines.

Produced by the National Journal Group, Washington, and sponsored by the United Nations Foundation (Ted Turner). Not to be mixed up with the official UN information service, UN Wire is nevertheless often more accessible and covers a wider area of subjects.

World Bank: