Conflict and Cooperation: Making the Case for Environmental Pathways to Peacebuilding in the Great Lakes Region
Authoritarian regimes, genocides, and civil wars have plagued countries in the Great Lakes Region in recent years. The region’s nations rely heavily on natural resources—water, minerals, land—for their economic development, as well as for the livelihoods of their people, and many of the region’s conflicts are connected to these resources or other environmental factors. Water (as in the Zambezi and Nile River Basins), minerals (as in the Democratic Republic of Congo), fertile land (as in Zambia), or illegal hunting (as inthe Virunga National Park) are pressured by degradation and demand, which can spur conflict. Many people in rural Africa still live off the land and depend on what nature offers for their survival. Unfortunately, many of the continent’s gravest conflicts occur in these same areas.