DURHAM, N.C – The peer-reviewed journal International Affairs’ new special issue on environmental peacebuilding, published Jan. 11, has strong ties to the Nicholas School.

Erika Weinthal, professor of environmental policy and public policy, served as a guest editor of the issue and co-authored two of its articles, including the introductory article, “The Past and Future(s) of Environmental Peacebuilding.” 

McKenzie Johnson, a 2017 PhD graduate of the Nicholas School, authored an article on the role environmental governance has played in resolving conflicts over mining and mineral rights in Sierra Leone.

Johnson is now assistant professor of natural resources and environmental sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As a doctoral student, she was advised by Weinthal.

Having strong representation in the new issue underscores the Nicholas School’s reputation as a global leader in the study of environmental peacebuilding, said Weinthal, who is widely cited for her work on the role environmental governance can play in post-conflict state- building, with an emphasis on water and energy resources.

The new special issue of International Affairs – which is one of the world’s top four scholarly journals for international policy – chronicles how the field of environmental peacebuilding has grown over the last few decades. It also identifies “new areas of research and practice, including bottom-up approaches, gender, conflict-sensitive programming, use of big data and frontier technology, monitoring and evaluation,” Weinthal said.

Articles selected for the issue explore a wide range of topics, from how greater emphasis on gender equity and women’s rights could help boost post-conflict peace in Colombia, to how increased production of acacia gum trees as an agricultural crop could ease social and economic unrest and boost climate mitigation and adaptation in Africa’s Sahel region.

“In our introductory article, we define environmental peacebuilding as comprising ‘the multiple approaches and pathways by which the management of environmental issues is integrated in, and can support, conflict prevention, mitigation, resolution and recovery.’ The geographic and thematic scope of the articles we’ve selected really illustrates how apt that definition is,” Weinthal said.