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Launch of New MECW Project "ECO-Syria"

Lina Eklund, Pinar Dinc, Maria Andrea Nardi, Hakim Abdi and Mo Hamza sitting around a table in front of a screen showing a powerpoint presentation.
Lina Eklund, Pinar Dinc, Maria Andrea Nardi, Hakim Abdi and Mo Hamza presenting their project at CMES. Photo: Karin Aggestam

On 31 August, the new MECW project "ECO-Syria: Exploring Conflict-Environment Interactions for Sustainable Development and Conservation" was launched at CMES.

The new research project will run from 2023 to 2026 within the Strategic Research Area "The Middle East in the Contemporary World" (MECW) at CMES.

Over a decade has passed since the onset of the Syrian conflict, which continues to have dire humanitarian consequences in the region. Syria, with a population of approximately 17 million, ranks among low-income countries, with a gross national income per capita below $1,000. Despite existing discussions on the connections between climate change, conflict, and migration in the Syrian context, insufficient attention has been given to the distinct effects of the conflict-environment nexus on various groups within Syria, particularly the Kurds in the north and east. These regions, collectively known as Rojava, have been implementing an ecological model under the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES).

The project aims to maintain a dual focus on both academic/scientific inquiry and policy relevance. In line with our purpose, this interdisciplinary research project aims to answer two key questions:

  1. How do internal conflict and cross-border hostilities impact Rojava differently from other parts of Syria in terms of conflict and environment nexus?
  2. What role could regional and national actors in post-conflict Syria play in fostering sustainable development and environmental democracy?

Over the course of three years, our interdisciplinary team at Lund University will employ a variety of methods, including satellite imagery analysis, archival fieldwork, and elite interviews, to generate scientific knowledge and policy recommendations for sustainable development and environmental democracy in Rojava, and potential relevance and application to Syria at large. This timely project emphasizes both political and environmental dimensions in a region where a new peace process may soon emerge after more than a decade of war.

Read more about the project here