Itay Fischhendler (HebrewUniversity of Jerusalem)
Water, ambiguity, natural resources, regulate, management, environmental regimes, destructive, conflict
Ambiguity has a clear role in facilitating closure in negotiations to regulate natural resources. However, there are no empirical studies that examine whether such “constructive ambiguity” can in fact become destructive. The aim of the present study is thus to determine when ambiguity becomes destructive during the management phase of environmental regimes. The implementation of the Israeli-Jordanian water agreement is used as a case study. It was found that when political and hydrological conditions are unstable, the parties see the process of clarifying the ambiguities in a water agreement as broader than simply a question of bilateral relations over resource allocation. As a result, the cost of clarifying ambiguity at the implementation phase dramatically increases. The anatomy of resolving ambiguous agreements teaches us that there are early signs that indicate when ambiguity becomes destructive. Tracing these signals is crucial, since the cost of ambiguity is not linear. Rather, when a disagreement around ambiguity passes a threshold, it can escalate into a conflict in a very short time.
(2008) Global Environmental Politics 111-136
When Ambiguity in Treaty Design Becomes Destructive: A Study of Transboundary Water
Jean Pascal Zanders
CBW, unnecessary suffering, international norms, security
Chemical and biological weapons (CBW) bear a moral opprobrium as they are widely viewed as indiscriminate agents of unnecessary suffering. This immorality is often presented as an article of faith. However, the belief system cannot be the sole legal, political and social reality, as otherwise CBW should logically have been banished a long time ago. While there is a long history of legal and social constraints against these weapons, such constraints are never absolute. Three aspects that have affected the application of the norm are: the lack of perceived equality between warring parties, competing legal doctrines, and the impact of technological innovation on norms. Since the social context in which the norms are developed and applied changes continually, it becomes clear that these norms must be continuously redefined in order to remain relevant. The historical analysis also shows that existing international norms have never placed the professional scientists engaging in CBW-related activities in either a moral or an ethical vacuum. Indeed, activities permitted to states under international law and custom have provided ample justification for scientists to work on CBW in support of national security. Until today, national security considerations place a great strain on the global disarmament treaties governing the development, possession and use of CBW.
(2003) 8 Journal of Conflict & Security Law 391
International Norms Against Chemical and Biological Warfare: An Ambiguous Legacy
Simon Milligan (Styrbordsgatan, Stockholm)
Tony Binns (University of Otago, New Zealand)
Nigeria, conflict, crisis narrative, environment, policy, pastoralist, farmer
This article explores the emergence and persistence of crisis narratives in the policy environment of twentieth century Nigeria. It finds that environmental crisis narratives have a well-established and traceable historical lineage, initially, as continuity between colonial and post-colonial policy discourse, but more recently with donor agencies gaining increasing importance in influencing and shaping debate. Counter-narratives are identified, but these lack historical ‘legitimacy’, and often sit uncomfortably alongside donor-funded initiatives. In light of weak governance systems that impede the development and maintenance of robust data-sets, the article argues that flawed ‘conventional wisdom’ regarding environmental processes and people–environment linkages will combine to produce a policy environment that could actually constrain rather than enable the improvement of rural livelihoods.
(2007) 173 Geographical Journal 143-156
Crisis in policy, policy in crisis: understanding environmental discourse and resource-use conflict in northern Nigeria