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Peace Parks: Conservation and Conflict Resolution

Peace Parks: Conservation and Conflict Resolution

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Published by The Wilson Center
Rolain Borel reviews Peace Parks: Conservation and Conflict Resolution, in which 31 authors explore the multiple ways in which environmental conservation zones can facilitate the resolution of territorial conflicts.
Rolain Borel reviews Peace Parks: Conservation and Conflict Resolution, in which 31 authors explore the multiple ways in which environmental conservation zones can facilitate the resolution of territorial conflicts.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: The Wilson Center on Sep 05, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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ECSp rEport
iSSuE 13
to individuals without having conducted inter
views with them; notably, he did not speak toSherri Goodman and Gary Vest, whose insightsI believe would be central to understanding theopportunities or and impediments to greening the U.S. military.In
Peace Parks: Conservation and Conflict Resolution 
—brilliantly conceived and edited by 
ple ways in which environmental conservationzones can acilitate the resolution o territorial
mism” because the concept o internationalpeace parks (sometimes known as transbound
that ecological actors have the potential tobecome instrumental in peacebuilding; how 
ever, much o the evidence is not ully conclu
sive, and the role o peace parks in internationalaairs remains in the realm o the possible, noto the certain.
Peace Parks 
is both broad and deep: Part Iprovides a historical overview and methodolog 
ical and theoretical perspectives; Part II presentscases o bioregional management and economicdevelopment in existing peace parks; and PartIII oers several visions o uture peace parks. While most chapters are engaging, some contri
butions are too long and burdened by unneces
authors are rom the United States, and only seven are rom the Global South, the cases covera wide geographical range.
growing commitment to bioregionalism andthe need to increase the geographic scale o conservation areas beyond national borders.
that peace parks are being promoted as a ormo global environmental governance, reect
ing the wider shits in global politics romstate governance to networks o international
nance model is also related to the “extension o 
management”—i.e., revenues generated by eco
Several o the articles address territorial issues:
the subtext or violent conict” and that it is“ironic that territory is now being turned onits head as an instrument o peace” (p. 41). In
and Ke Chong Kim point out that interna 
tional peace parks can act as physical bu 
ers (e.g., the Sierra del Condor between Peruand Ecuador; the demilitarized zone betweenNorth and South Korea) or as sites o collabora 
tive exchange (e.g., “the inormal exchange o 
Peace Parks: Conservation and Conflict Resolution
Edited by Saleem H. Ali Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2007. 377 pages.
Reviewed by ROLAIN BOREL
Rolain Borel
ads  Dpamn of envionmn, Pac, and Sciy a univsiy fo Pac in Cosa rica, w ismain inss and acing dis li in fild of nvionmnal conflic solion.
EnvironmEntal ChangE and SECurity program
inormation on elephant poaching and security 
ritorial problems are unlikely to be “solved by piling up historical arguments based on inter
asserts that a “new approach needs to unsettlenationalist thinking, and deuse historical griev 
ances” as well as oer a “orm o political com
promise over the sovereignty issue” (p. 269).In act, it would be irrelevant which country isormally designated the “owner” o the islands,
the other’s cooperation.For international peace parks to be eec
measures pose, or example, a defnite threatto international peace parks straddling the bor
ders between the United States and Canada or Mexico, in spite o a long history o coop
eration between the countries. In less avorablesituations, such as the proposed peace park on
Fuller, the critical security situation poses analmost insurmountable obstacle.
ties, a lie o their own independent romthe policies o the respective countries. In
side are oten linked by kinship and mar
riage, as well as by local trade and culture.
ate vicinity o the border are usually very uid.
requently share common underdevelopment
tional peace parks must not impose externally designed processes on local stakeholders.
Peace Parks 
assessesexisting international peace parks by identiy 
ing their impacts and attempting to separate
peace parks is not automatic, because it implies a purpose and an impact that are not always pres
peace parks represent the “conuence o severalmutually reinorcing interests, namely thoseo biodiversity conservation, economic devel
opment, cultural integrity, and regional peaceand security,” integral assessment tools—such
Spenceley and Michael Schoon, illustrates thedifculty o assessing the eectiveness o suchcomplex initiatives in economic, environmen
tal, and equity terms.Chapter authors attribute many positiveimpacts to existing peace parks, including:
 Improving the eectiveness o biodiversity conservation in protected areas;
Symbolizing ongoing cooperation (which, I
on many other issues, such as transportation,mail, or the electric grid);
 Changing the symbolic meaning o a border
(seechapterbyRamutsindela);and•Reducingdiplomatictensionsthroughjointmonitoring,collaborativeresearchprojects,orjointfundingproposals(seechapterby YongyutTrisuratonIndochina).
Several o the authors also identiy negative
conservation eorts can create conicts, so caninternational peace parks. In addition to exacer
bating political inequalities between local com
munities and state actors, international peaceparks can emphasize disparities between coun
security threat posed by criminals who fnd the
their activities.

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