In October 2020, the Network for Education and Research on Peace and Sustainability (NERPS), one my affiliations at Hiroshima University, agreed to fund my project, Sustainable Peace and Peaceful Sustainability in Conflict-Affected Societies, until March 2022.
This project will advance the integration of positive peace and environmental sustainability in order to maximize the impact of their policies and initiatives in societies vulnerable to conflict and environmental risks. Global environmental changes are transforming the security landscape in which both conflicts and peacebuilding processes take place. While existing research underscores the importance of climate-sensitive approaches to peacebuilding, the focus has been on violent conflict and environmental degradation. The relationship between the positive dimension of peace and more local manifestations of environmental sustainability, however, remain grossly under-examined. This project, therefore, will identify the relationship between positive peace and sustainability by analyzing a panel data of existing national-level indicators drawn from the Institute for Economics & Peace’s Positive Peace Index and Yale University’s Environmental Performance Index. After examining the associations of the indices’ ranking and the relationship between their indicators, an integrated index that covers both positive peace and environmental sustainability will be created and linked to an annually updated database of existing relevant statistics.
To complement the national data with local perspectives, this project will also undertake case studies of Nepal and Afghanistan, two countries that have ranked low in both indices in recent years. In these countries, a lack of environmental sustainability is observable in increased water scarcity and floods, which exacerbate social, economic, and political issues, contributing to community-level conflict and regional tensions. Integrating the components of positive peace and environmental sustainability using a mixed-methods, interdisciplinary research design enables a holistic approach to peace and sustainability.