"Nature knows no boundaries": a critical reading of UNDP environmental peacemaking in Cyprus
journal contributionposted on 23.10.2014, 08:49 by Emel Akcali, Marco AntonsichMarco Antonsich
In 2005, the UNDP set up in Cyprus a peace building project called Action for Cooperation and Trust (ACT). This project has aimed to create opportunities for bi-communal partnerships on environmental protection as a way to promote inter-communal tolerance. The present article aims to critically discuss the efficacy of this project in order to contribute to the debate on the significance of environmental cooperation in transforming ethno-territorial conflicts. Our empirical basis relies on both survey data and the qualified opinions of Cypriot environmental stakeholders. Our analysis shows that, in the case of Cyprus, successful environmental peacemaking strategies are dependent on widespread environmental awareness, trust in the ‘third party’ (UNDP), and civil society’s empowerment, which, however, should complement and not substitute intervention at a state level. There is also evidence to suggest that the UNDP discourse about ‘nature knows no boundaries’ is most effective when it succeeds to generate solutions which are perceived to be beneficial to all the parties involved, rather than when it uses the environment to discursively construct a common ‘patriotism’ beyond ethnic identities.
- Social Sciences
- Geography and Environment