Learning From Syria: Applying Environmental Modeling Toward Strategic Peacebuilding Interventions
Houghstow, Amber B.
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CitationHoughstow, Amber B. 2018. Learning From Syria: Applying Environmental Modeling Toward Strategic Peacebuilding Interventions. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
AbstractAs climate change intensifies droughts and other extreme weather processes, much of the world will face freshwater scarcity, causing major challenges for food production. Without international support, these disruptions will likely lead to increased violent conflict and political destabilization. However, targeted interventions using environmental peacebuilding have the potential to prevent political breakdown, lessen migration, and ultimately help poor regions to achieve sustainable development. This thesis analyzes links between Syria’s 2006-2010 drought crisis and subsequent instability and conflict at the subnational level as a case study to better identify precise locations in which drought and sociopolitical impacts are most intimately connected. To investigate this issue, a case study was conducted using GIS mapping of satellite data in combination with cluster analysis, multiple linear regression, and causal mediation analysis to identify locations within Syria in which the occurrence of drought significantly predicted subsequent migration and protest. These links proved the strongest in lush regions supporting intensive rainfed agricultural production and high population densities, suggesting that proactive, targeted environmental interventions to support agricultural productivity and water conservation in similar regions could prevent political violence and accompanying human suffering at significantly lower cost would post-conflict interventions. To lessen future conflict in the age of climate chaos, capable institutions should build on this research and, as soon as possible, act on it in identified key locations.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42004019