The Conflict Dimension of Environmental Degradation and the Case of Lesotho
Henry M. Sibanda
This article highlights the consequences of conflicts on the environment and its management. Environmental conflicts fall under public disputes, which have been observed to be a result of human needs. This observation is based on the fact that environmental degradation is more a result of social conflicts than of bio-physical conditions, and hence eludes attempts to control it. Numerous international examples of conflicts that have resulted in environmental degradation are highlighted to reinforce this theory. The case for Lesotho’s environmental degradation is traced from a historic perspective to present day problems and their manifestations. It concludes by examining the experiences of the National Environmental Youth Corps (NEYC) project and the recognition for the first time of the conflict dimension to the environmental degradation. It reviews the mitigation measures put in place by this project and the first positive signs towards the solution of the environmental degradation that has ravaged this country for years. It closes by advocating the equipping of natural resource and land-use planners with conflict analysis skills if the environment is to be conserved effectively.