Weaponization of the Environment Conference 2023


Jeroen Warner

The Weaponisation of Water: From Hydroterrorism to Violent Infrastructure

Jeroen F. Warner (1966) teaches, trains and publishes on Crisis and Disaster Studies and is a senior Associate Professor at Wageningen University, where he took his PhD degree in 2008. A founder member of the London Water Research Group, Dr Jeroen also works on domestic and transboundary water conflict and cooperation, multi-stakeholder participation, resource management, and water governance. He won a CAPES scholarship as Special Visiting Professor at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and coordinated a European Horizon 2020 project on urban cultures and disasters: EDUCEN. Jeroen is Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Water Governance and coeditor of Regions and Cohesion and Natural Hazards. He has published seven books and well over 100 academic and professional articles.

Tim Boekhout van Solinge

Indigenous Forest Crime Prevention in the Brazilian Amazon

Tim Boekhout van Solinge studied human geography in Amsterdam (UvA), Paris (Sorbonne Paris IV), Birzeit University (Palestinian Westbank) and Kingston, Jamaica. For his MA thesis (1994) he did five months of fieldwork in gang-controlled neighbourhoods in Kingston. From 1995-2000 he worked at the University of Amsterdam, and between 2001-2016 he lectured in criminology at Utrecht University, where he obtained his PhD in 2004 (Dealing with Drugs in Europa). In Utrecht, he coordinated an NWO project on conflicts and natural resources in Brazil and Colombia (2010-2016).

Tim’s stays in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and later his fieldwork in Jamaican ghettos prepared his will for action research on the violent deforestation frontline in the Brazilian Amazon.

Since 2016 he works as an independent scientist and consultant, specializing in illegal drug markets, environmental and especially forest crimes, and indigenous forest crime prevention. He also leads Forest  Forces Foundation, is part of the Sinchi Foundation, and is affiliated (unpaid position) with Erasmus University (NL) and UFOPA (BR).

Since 2020, Tim occasionally works as a film fixer for filming in the Amazon and is a contact person for indigenous forest guardians. This is based on the idea (or hypothesis under study) that media and especially film may be more effective in reducing deforestation crimes and green conflicts than scientific research and publications.

Raki Ap

Should We Arm and Train Indigenous Peoples to Protect Our Vital Ecosystems?

Raki Ap is the international spokesperson for the Free West Papua Campaign, a civil servant at the Ministry of the Interior and a well-known face within the Dutch climate and anti-racism movements. During guest lectures and presentations Raki Ap also takes his audience on a journey to his homeland, West Papua the world’s largest tropical island. Raki lets people experience what it feels like to be West Papua and what climate change looks like from the point of view of (many) indigenous peoples. Raki therefore speaks from the natives
perspective, which shakes up established (green) institutions.

Tim Stork

Militarized Conservation in Post-Treaty Colombia

Tim Stork is a Lecturer at Tilburg University, where he teaches at the Public Law and Governance department. In the past eight years, he taught courses in political science, conflict studies, PPLE, public administration and qualitative research methods. In Fall 2023, he will start as a PhD Candidate at Tilburg University. His research project sets out to explore how environmental peacebuilding norms, actors and processes shape international and national conservation efforts in post-treaty Colombia.

Wim Zwijnenburg

How Open-Source Data  is Strengthening Protection of the Environment in Relation to Armed Conflicts

Wim Zwijnenburg is a Project Leader Humanitarian Disarmament and PAX and a contributor to the Bellingcat investigative journalism collective. He has been working over the last 12 years on the environmental dimensions of armed conflicts, and developed an open-source methodology for identification and monitoring of conflict-linked environmental damages. He authored various reports on conflict-linked environmental impacts in Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Libya, Yemen and South Sudan, while also doing advocacy work to promote protection of the environment in relation to armed conflict in the UN General Assembly, the UN Security Council and the UN Environment Assembly and building networks among civil society groups. For his work on environmental emergencies, he received the UNOCHA/UNEP Green Star Award in 2017. Wim holds a Master International Development Studies from the Radboud University.

Aditi Saraf

Hifazat – Law, Land, and Resistance in Kashmir

Aditi Saraf is an Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Utrecht University. Her research investigates the relationship between commerce, sovereignty, and ecology in the Kashmir region. More broadly, she is interested in questions relating to economic and political anthropology, frontiers and mobility, militarization and place-making practices. Her writing has been published in American  Ethnologist, Economy and Society and the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Anthropology among others. 

For this conference, she will present her ongoing research on the history of land rights in Kashmir, a politically contested and densely militarized highland zone. While the conflict in Kashmir is generally viewed as an effect of national and religious conflict between India and Pakistan, she shows how land rights, and their recent revocation by the Indian government, are an important dimension of the dispute. She highlights how vernacular concepts of environmental stewardship that were developed during – and in opposition to – colonial rule are mobilized to oppose ideas of ‘development’ and ‘enrichment’ promised in opening the land to capital investment and to protect the fragile Himalayan ecology from degradation.  

Irina Patrahau

Water, Peace, and Security in Iraq

Irina Patrahau is a Strategic Analyst at the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies specialized in climate security as well as the geopolitics and geo-economics of energy and raw materials. With a study background in Political Science (BSc) and Political Economy (MSc), she has co-authored several reports on issues of water security in Iraq, climate security, and geo-economics of energy. As such, her contribution to the panel on environmental security will provide a deeper insight into the interplays of climate, security, and weaponization of the environment.

Marie Schellens

Environment and Armed Conflict: From Environmental Impacts to Nature-Based Solutions

Marie Schellens is an environmental researcher at PAX for Peace, the largest Dutch civil society organisation working for peace, reconciliation and justice. Since March 2023, she supports their evidence-based advocacy on environment, peace and security through remote-sensing and geospatial analysis. Using earth observation, she identifies and monitors environmental damage impacting the lives and livelihoods of people in conflict zones and explores the wider linkage between environmental degradation, the climate crisis, and conflict.

Before joining PAX, she worked as an environmental security analyst at the UN Environment Programme. She coordinated the development of Strata, an easy-to-use web-based mapper that supports project managers, analysts, and policymakers to streamline climate security data in their daily work. From 2016 to 2020, she was a Marie Curie PhD fellow at Stockholm University and the University of Iceland, researching the role of natural resources in conflict risk. She holds a MSc in Geography jointly from KU Leuven and Free University Brussels (Belgium, 2015).

Tobias von Lossow

Preventing the Weaponisation of the Environment and Limits of Environmental Governance

Tobias von Lossow is a Research Fellow at the Clingendael Institute, Affiliate Researcher at IHE Delft and Lecturer at the Freie Universität Berlin. For three years he had the lead of the Planetary Security Initiative (PSI) and is a member of several expert groups on water & security. Previously, he worked at Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP)/German Institute for International and Security Affairs in the research division Middle East and Africa.

For almost fifteen years, Tobias von Lossow has been workingon water and security: water conflicts, hydro-politics, water diplomacy and the weaponisation and complex role of water in armed conflicts and fragile settings with a focus on the Middle East and Africa. His research addresses natural resources management against the security, political and socio-economic backgrounds in national and regional contexts. He gives diplomatic training courses, seminars and lectures at universities, briefs government officials and agencies and publishes in academic as well as policy-relevant journals, books and papers.