Environment and Security

Environment and Security 38 /

Conclusions and outlook The Ferghana valley environment and prospects for conflict

In only a few cases is the scarcity of renewable resources a factor in interstate conflicts. But by limiting the productivity of agriculture and the economy as a whole, encourag- ing migration and social segmentation, and sapping the power of the state, such scarcity can contribute to diffuse, persistent, subnational civil violence. Scarcity often plays an indirect role in violence, influencing the political and economic character of social systems. The following table summarizes these arguments:

If we use the perspectives suggested in the table above to look at post-independence Central Asia it is apparent that the region as a whole has been largely stable, with the exception of the civil conflict in Tajikistan. For the last 10 years forecasts have claimed that the Ferghana valley was on the verge of an explosion, yet it has not experienced any major conflicts (apart from the violent clashes involving theMeshketian Turks in Ferghana during the early Perestroika, the 1990 Osh and Uzgen clashes and the IMU incursions in 1999 and 2000).

Summary of links between environment and security


Trends/examples in the Ferghana area

Necessary conditions for

Scarcity of regulatory mechanisms and poor state performance

Ineffective interstate agreements on water-sharing due to lack of political will. Breakdown of communal serv- ices, limited state resources to repair infrastructure Downstream countries highly dependent on upstream ones for water supply. Water and land are strategic resources both for states (cotton as a source of hard currency) and subnational areas (increased importance of agriculture for survival) For reasons related to history and complex population patterns, dominant players can easily use or manipu- late the environment to serve specific group interests, making environmental questions an ethnic issue State control over the region has been strengthened over the years. This is both a source of stability (control of opposition) and instability (local actors mobilized by grievances) Only in certain regions, at sub-state level, is there a record of local (violent) disputes though often with potential for inter-ethnic and/or cross-boundary implications.

environmentally- induced conflicts

Dependency on scarce natural re- sources

Instrumentalising the environment

Opportunities to build organizations and find allies

Spillover from a historic conflict

Vulnerable locations

Syr-Darya basin Lowlands; irrigated areas in Uzbekistan

Transnational river basins Marginal vulnerable areas, at intrastate level Areas directly impacted by environment degradation (pollution, waterlogging) Densely populated areas where ac- cess to key resources becomes an issue of survival Arid plains, mountain areas with high- land-lowland interaction

Pollution and waste hotspots and areas, waterlogged areas, degradation of land and forests Low-land (especially Uzbek) part of the valley, enclaves and areas squeezed between borders, forest areas in Kyrgyzstan Uplands and hills (Kyrgyzstan), enclaves

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