Environmental Change and Armed Conflict

Authored by: Halvard Buhaug , Hanne Seter

Routledge Handbook of Civil Wars

Print publication date:  February  2014
Online publication date:  February  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415622585
eBook ISBN: 9780203105962
Adobe ISBN: 9781136255786


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In response to the collapse of the Cold War system’s apocalyptic nuclear rivalry, the late 1980s and early 1990s saw a gradually increasing acceptance within policy as well as academia for a broad interpretation of the term “security.” The release of the 1987 UN-commissioned report Our Common Future, better known as the Brundtland Report, was arguably the first significant step toward including environmental concerns in the widened security concept. This report emphasized the need for sustainable development and a more equitable distribution of the world’s wealth and resources. A further landmark was the 1994 Human Development Report, which outlined a facet of threats – not only to states but also to social groups and individuals – that jointly defined the term human security. These reports and the accompanying security discourse have laid the foundation for two decades of scientific research on environmental change and armed conflict.

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