Framing issues of environmental security in Angola & Mozambique - the nexus of land, conflicts and sustainable livelihoods in post-conflict situations

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dc.contributor.author Clover, Jeanette Lee
dc.date.accessioned 2009-05-19T08:33:19Z
dc.date.available 2009-05-19T08:33:19Z
dc.date.issued 2009-05-19T08:33:19Z
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10539/6953
dc.description.abstract ABSTRACT Violent and protracted conflicts, such as those that affected Mozambique and Angola (both countries with a Lusophone colonial heritage), have had severe consequences in terms of wartime dislocation and destruction, especially in rural areas. Land issues per se are not endogenously conflictive, but in post-conflict settings, the scramble for access to the assets necessary to (re-)establish livelihoods for large numbers of people, as well as the pursuit of land access by large-scale commercial interests who capitalise on a fluid land tenure situation to acquire resources, may occur. A nuanced and comparative study of Mozambique and Angola is undertaken that explores the relationship between violence, resources and the environment. It asks two questions: i) What accounts for the relationship between violence (evidenced in both brutal physical acts, threats and increasing vulnerabilities) and land as a resource? ii) Are there lessons to be learnt from these findings that are particular to countries emerging from protracted civil wars? The thesis explores the changing discourses around the concepts of human security and environmental security, and the pressing land issues confronting the African continent. It highlights the complexity of issues – political, social and economic – and the necessity for a theoretical shift away from the popular approaches towards alternative ways of understanding the connections between the environment, violence and resources. It examines the specific dynamics of a post-conflict environment, an area that has received little attention, despite its potential for playing a significant role in ensuring broad-based development and in peace-building. A modified livelihoods framework is also used to analyse land issues on the basis that land is an element of a wider livelihoods approach with a focus on poverty alleviation and wealth creation. Findings mirror those of other international researchers who have found that conflicts over land often have less to do with resource scarcity, but that “violence is more likely when resources are in great abundance or have great economic and strategic value” (Peluso and Watts, 2001: 5). Furthermore, findings support the calls for taking a more inclusive concept of violence and non-violence that recognises that the outward manifestation of disputes may not be violence in the form of civil war, but social disruptions (Liotta, 2005). The value of a post-structuralist political ecology for analysing these various connections is demonstrated in the research findings. It is one which does not search for ‘environmental triggers’ of violent conflicts, but looks at the reciprocal relationship between nature and humans. Both countries are confronting many of the land issues that are common to Africa and which suggest an important new phase in the politics of land. In Angola land tenure and shelter are now insecure for many in both rural and urban areas, while in both countries there is mounting competition and conflict over land and landed resources. There are increasing threats of exclusionary practices and land grabs, but also the more subtle, ‘non-traditional’ security threats of the destruction and damage to livelihoods, of deepening impoverishment, evident in "creeping vulnerabilities”. The findings of the research confirm that in dealing with both equity and efficiency issues, and environmental sustainability and political stability, land policies need to be well integrated into wider social, economic and environmental planning – at various levels, local to global – to strengthen sustainable security. vi Land conflicts are generally contained as local-level disputes, often camouflaged by government or suppressed. While conflict theory points to apparent triggers – differential impacts and political mobilisation – it must be acknowledged that these tensions are more often than not politically sustainable, as leaders justify overriding the interests of the poor in the interests of growth. Furthermore, peace is not the default mode of society: conflicts are at times an integral part of the transformation of land tenures systems and not necessarily destructive in themselves. Concerns need to focus, rather, on those cases where inequity and violence are politically sustainable, and what this means for human security. It is this issue that is recommended for further research. “In contrast to thinking about violent conflict, a human-centred conceptualisation of environmental security asserts the need for cooperation and inclusion to manage the environment for the equal benefit of all people and future generations” (Barnett, 2001: 128). en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject environmental security en
dc.subject land en
dc.subject livelihoods en
dc.subject conflict en
dc.subject Angola en
dc.subject Mozambique en
dc.title Framing issues of environmental security in Angola & Mozambique - the nexus of land, conflicts and sustainable livelihoods in post-conflict situations en
dc.type Thesis en


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