Civilian science: the potential of participatory environmental monitoring in areas affected by armed conflicts

Weir, Doug; McQuillan, Daniel and Francis, Robert A.. 2019. Civilian science: the potential of participatory environmental monitoring in areas affected by armed conflicts. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 191(618), ISSN 0167-6369 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Legal and policy initiatives to address the environmental dimensions of armed conflicts and their impact on people, ecosystems and sustainable development are highly dependent on the availability of environmental data from conflict-affected areas. Socio-political and security conditions in these areas often impede data collection, while traditional models of post-conflict environmental assessments are limited in scope. In response, an increasing range of actors is utilising remote sensing and open source data collection to identify and estimate health and ecological risks during and after conflicts. This paper considers the role of participatory citizen science methodologies in complementing both remote monitoring and post-conflict assessments. It examines existing models and mechanisms for environmental data collection and utilisation in conflict contexts, and the extent to which the core values and principles of citizen science are transferable. We find that ‘civilian science’ is feasible and could be well-suited to conflict conditions. In addition to addressing gaps in data collection, it may also empower communities affected by environmental degradation, enhance their environmental human rights, supplement the often limited monitoring capacity of governmental agencies and facilitate cooperation and peacebuilding. The paper concludes by proposing methodological approaches for three common forms of environmental degradation associated with armed conflicts.

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Citizen science, Warfare, Environment, Data Monitoring, Assessment, Armed conflict, Peacebuilding

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27 August 2019Accepted
6 September 2019Published

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Date Deposited:

23 Sep 2019 08:53

Last Modified:

09 Jun 2021 19:06

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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