Environmental Peacebuilding: Moving beyond resolving Violence-Ridden conflicts to sustaining peace

Udi Sommer*, Francesca Fassbender

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The literature on environmental peacebuilding (EP) is focused on overcoming or preventing violent conflict using environmental collaboration (EC), typically on common environmental issues between two or more parties. When environmental peacebuilding focuses on international conflicts, parties involved are mostly neighboring states. In this article, we examine whether the concept of environmental peacebuilding can be used in contexts where violence is not a major issue, and for other purposes such as to sustain a peace agreement and reduce the existential threat of climate change. Another contribution to extant literature is the analysis of EP between states with no contiguous borders, which is critical around issues of climate change and international cooperation on it. We include the concept of ‘Climate Resilient Peace’ into our framework, highlighting the importance of climate resilience for nations and communities as a foundation for promoting lasting peace. EC between Israel and the United Arab Emirates serves as our empirical test. Through expert interviews and media analyses, we researched the multifaceted value of EC. Such EC, we believe, has the potential to lead to symbolic rapprochement between states, the reduction of climate risks, and can ultimately move to substantial integration. Substantial integration being the coordination and interdependence with tangible international institutional and trans-societal links. Acknowledging each other as mutually beneficial partners allows the seizing of environmental, political, and social spillovers from EC. Ultimately, it increases satisfaction with the peace agreement. The Israel-UAE case demonstrates how EC can enhance regional stability and facilitate cooperation. This could be applied to other climate change-affected and conflict-torn regions, in the Middle East, North Africa, and beyond.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106555
JournalWorld Development
StatePublished - Jun 2024


FundersFunder number
Tel Aviv University
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
City University of New York


    • Abraham Accords
    • Climate change
    • Environmental collaboration
    • Environmental peacebuilding
    • Israel
    • MENA
    • Middle East
    • United Arab Emirates


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