Skip to main content Skip to local navigation

Panel to examine peace-building and the environment in the Middle East

Panel to examine peace-building and the environment in the Middle East

Is peace-building through environmental cooperation possible in the Middle East? Panellists will discuss this next week at an Institute for Research & Innovation in Sustainability (IRIS) Speakers’ Series event.

The Environmental Cooperation and Israel-Palestinian Peace event will take place March 15 at 1pm at 280A York Lanes, Keele campus.

Environmental cooperation has been much-lauded as a force of peace in the Middle East and has been leveraged in support of Track I peacemaking processes between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. It has been pursued as a practice of peace-building, valued for its ability to foster partnership-building, cooperation, identity change and sustainability. Still, the Israel-Palestinian conflict persists, even manifesting through cooperative environmental relations.

Panellists Eric Abitbol (right), an international development, peace-building and dialogue researcher-practitioner, and Stuart Schoenfeld (left), chair of the Department of Sociology at York’s Glendon College, will present and discuss the issue. Drawing on their direct experience of working with practitioners, governments and stakeholders in the Middle East, they will critically examine assumptions and practices of environmental cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians. Abitbol and Schoenfeld co-chaired the AVOW initiative (Adaptive Visions of Water in the Middle East), hosted at IRIS from 2007-2009.

Abitbol specializes in hydropolitical issues, with a particular interest in Israeli-Palestinian relations. A Chevening Scholar and associate Fellow at IRIS, he is pursuing a PhD in peace studies at the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom, while teaching university courses at the nexus of environment and peace. As a consultant, he recently conducted the Conflict and Peace Effects Study of the Israel-Palestinian Authority-Jordan-World Bank "Red Sea Dead Sea Conveyance" initiative.

Schoenfeld's research on regional environmentalism in the Middle East began in the late 1990s. A network of Israelis, Palestinians and Jordanians began to work towards a common understanding of issues of water, energy, waste, transportation, consumption, biodiversity and sustainable development, and to fashion a way of turning that common understanding into one of the elements for peace and human security in the region.

The project continues to investigate this network and other regional frameworks. The project has produced publications on transboundary environmental networks, environmental peace building, approaches to regional environmental governance and the role of empathy in environmental peace-building.

For more information, visit the IRIS website.

Republished courtesy of YFile– York University’s daily e-bulletin.