DDD Conference

Prof. Bernard Amadei

A Systems Approach to the Peace-Sustainability-Climate Nexus

University of Colorado, USA

There is enough evidence that humanity will continue to face significant challenges way into the rest of the 21st century. In that context, a question arises as to whether it is possible to envision a world where all humans have fulfilling lives, meet their basic needs, and live with dignity and peacefully, without degrading the ecosystems and services upon which they depend. Meeting that overarching goal of human development will not be easy.

Promoting peace and sustainability in human development and security while accounting for the risks associated with climate change has become more imperative than ever. It is hard to envision (i) a sustainable world that is not peaceful and climate secured; (ii) a peaceful world that has not endorsed sustainable practices and does not support climate adaption and mitigation practices; and (iii) a climate secured world that has not endorsed sustainable practices and is geopolitically unstable.

This paper makes a case for using an integrated and coherent approach to addressing human development and security issues and explores, more specifically, the underlying dynamic of the peace-sustainability-climate security (PSC) nexus at the community scale. Peace, sustainability, and climate security are considered as three interconnected states (or cultures) that emerge from the interactions of multiple shared systems in a community landscape (environment) subject to various constraints (political, social, cultural, economic, environmental) and adverse events. These states influence and depend on each other.

The approach used in this paper acknowledges that there are no one-size-fits-all unified and optimized static states of peace, sustainability, and climate security as they are context and scale-specific. What works in one community landscape may not work somewhere else. As a result, it is easier to define all three states by what they are not rather than what they are. In doing so, multiple “good enough” states can be explored. Therefore, peace, sustainability, and climate security have “to be read as a plural.”

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