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Expert Advisory Group on Conflict and Peacebuilding

With a view to offering independent expertise and advice to the UN Peacebuilding Commission, and the wider peacebuilding community, UNEP established the Expert Group on Conflict and Peacebuilding in February 2008 (formerly known as the Expert Advisory Group on Environment, Conflict, and Peacebuilding). Consisting of leading academics, think tanks and non-governmental organizations with combined experience from over thirty conflict-affected countries, the Group provides policy inputs, develops tools, and identifies best practice for using natural resources and the environment in ways that contribute to peacebuilding and prevent conflict.

The Expert Group on Conflict and Peacebuilding supports UNEP to assess and address the role of natural resources and the environment in peacebuilding by:

• Providing strategic and independent expert advice;
• Identifying best practices and recommended policies;
• Developing and applying analytical tools;
• Participating in field missions, trainings and evaluations.


Past contributions by the Expert Group include:

• Flagship policy paper: From conflict to peacebuilding: The role of natural resources and the environment (published February 2009).
• Conflict Analysis Framework (CAF) on natural resources and the environment (draft July 2010)
• UN-EC Guidance Notes on Natural Resources and Conflict Prevention (October 2010)
• Expert presentation on the role of natural resources and environment in conflict and peacebuilding to the UN Peacebuilding Commission’s Working Group on Lessons Learned (May 2008)
• Fieldwork on behalf of UNEP in post-conflict countries, such as Rwanda, DR Congo, Afghanistan, Liberia, the Central African Republic and Sierra Leone
• Expert panel events on climate change and conflict (March 2011) as well as natural resources and peacebuilding (February 2009)


Current projects underway:
• Policy report on Opportunities for Environmental Diplomacy in Conflict Prevention, Mediation and Peacebuilding;
• Policy report on Greening the Blue: Natural resources, the environment, and UN Peacekeeping;
• Policy report on Climate Change and Peacebuilding;
• Research programme and series of edited volumes on natural resource management and peacebuilding;
• Field missions to the Central African Republic and Guinea Conakry.


The Expert Group was established by UNEP, in cooperation with the Environment and Security programme of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). Through its Post-Conflict and Disaster Management Branch, UNEP has operated in more than 25 countries and published 20 assessment reports since 1999. Based on this expertise, UNEP is providing technical assistance to the UN Peacebuilding Commission and Support Office to prevent natural resources and environmental stress from undermining the peacebuilding process, while at the same time capitalizing on natural resources for livelihoods, job creation, economic development and reconciliation. Since 1999, IISD has been examining how better environmental management can contribute to human security, including sustainable livelihoods, resilience to disasters, disease prevention, conflict avoidance, peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction. Facilitated through partnerships with governments, NGOs and multilateral institutions, this work seeks to offer practical tools for addressing the links between environment and security.

For more information on the Expert Group on Conflict and Peacebuilding, please contact:
David Jensen, UNEP, ECP Programme Manager, at: 
Alec Crawford, IISD, Project Manager, at:


The ten senior members of the Expert Group represent a diverse range of professional and geographic backgrounds. Each provides an authoritative perspective on a broad scope of issues related to natural resources and conflict, as well as the support of an extensive professional network, influential institutions, and respected specialists.

Alexander Carius
Founder and Director
Adelphi, Germany
Alexander is a leading expert on environment, conflict and cooperation. His team at Adelphi has been a driving force behind many political initiatives on climate change and energy, and environment and security, advising domestic government agencies, international organizations and the European Union.

Ken Conca
Professor, School of International Service
American University, Washington DC, USA
Ken’s research has focused on environment, conflict and cooperation, with particular emphasis on the mechanisms of environmental peacemaking, stakeholder models of conflict management and conflict transformation, and watershed-scale resources conflicts. He has written extensively on topics related to environment, peace, security, conflict and global governance.

Geoff Dabelko
Director, the Environmental Change and Security Program (ECSP)
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington DC, USA
Geoff has facilitated dialogue among policymakers, practitioners and scholars grappling with complex links between environment, population, conflict and security for more than 15 years. His research focuses on environmental pathways to confidence-building and peacemaking, with an emphasis on managing transboundary freshwater resources.

Mike Davis
Team Leader, Conflict Resources
Global Witness, London, UK
Mike heads the Global Witness Conflict Resources Team, which works to break the links between conflict and extraction of natural resources. His work with Global Witness has encompassed field investigations, managing information-gathering networks, international lobbying and working with the media.

Juan Dumas
Independent conflict resolution and mediation expert
Juan is a practitioner in conflict resolution methodologies for natural resources in Latin America, Europe and the United States. He joined Partners for Democratic Change-Argentina in 1999, from where he conducted various public conflict resolution and policy dialogue interventions. In 2003, Juan joined Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano as Director General.

Mark Halle
Executive Director, IISD-Europe
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), Switzerland
Mark’s expertise spans across environment and security, climate change and international trade of natural resources. His distinguished career has included positions with UNEP, WWF and fourteen years with IUCN, including as the head of Global Policy and Partnerships. He is the European Representative and Global Director for Trade and Investment at IISD.

Patricia Kameri-Mbote
Programme Director for Africa
International Environmental Law Research Centre (IELRC), Kenya
Patricia is an Associate Professor of Law at the School of Law, University of Nairobi. An internationally renowned scholar and a Senior Advocate of the High Court of Kenya, she holds a Doctorate from Stanford University. Her areas of specialization include environment and natural resources law and policy, human rights, property rights, and women’s rights.

Richard Matthew
Associate Professor of Environmental Politics
Director, Center for Unconventional Security Affairs
University of California Irvine, USA
Richard’s research focuses on the environmental dimensions of conflict and security in the developing world, especially South Asia and East Africa, where he has collaborated with IISD to study environmental change in relation to violent conflict, human security and post-conflict reconstruction in several countries including Nepal, Pakistan, Rwanda and Sierra Leone.

Silas Kpanan’Ayoung Siakor
Sustainable Development Initiative, Liberia
Silas exposed then-President of Liberia Charles Taylor for using the profits of unchecked logging to cover the costs of a brutal fourteen-year civil war. His work led the UN Security Council to ban the export of Liberian timber in 2003. He has since been working with Liberia’s new leadership to create sustainable timber practices. Silas was awarded the 2006 Goldman Environmental Prize for Africa.

Erika Weinthal
Associate Professor of Environmental Policy
Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University, USA
Erika’s research focuses on environmental and natural resources policy, regional water cooperation, and the politics of the “resource curse”. She has carried out field work in Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Russian Federation, and the Middle East. She is the author of “State Making and Environmental Cooperation: Linking Domestic and International Politics in Central Asia”.