War has traditionally been conceived, and studied, as a uniquely human phenomenon since humans are seen as the agents of war: the principal cause of war, its main protagonists, practitioners, and victims.
The Marjan Centre for the Study of Conflict and Conservation examines one of the missing dimensions in the study of war and conflict, which is the relationship between war and conflict with the non-human sphere: these range from natural resources, the environment, ecosystems, to fauna and flora. Instead of looking at the non-human aspects of war as incidental to human activity these are central starting-points for the Marjan Centre’s investigation into the provision of security and resilience.
The critical loss of biodiversity for humans needing access to a wide range of natural resources was highlighted by a UN report which noted that eighteen out of thirty five conflicts recorded since 2000 involved natural resources as a driver. Additional ‘drivers’ of conflict are changes in climate and population, food security and destruction of ecosystems from which the effects can be felt for a long time.
To understand these threats helps to create a sustainable future and support the transition from conflict to post-conflict planning for which the Marjan Centre is developing a specific methodology called Ecological Development.
Since its formation in 2010 the Marjan Centre has developed an inter-disciplinary approach both within King’s College and with other academic institutions as well as outside organisations. The Marjan Centre has contributed a number of articles including for International Affairs and completed a major research project for the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) concerning wildlife trafficking in conflict zones.
Its research programme is split into two sections, general and the specific which is focused on a wide spectrum of projects: these range from human-ecology security in both the Manas National Park, Assam and the Kahuzi-Biega National Park in eastern DR Congo, to environmental confrontations, ecological development as a post-conflict methodology and EES (energy and environmental security.
Additionally the Marjan Centre welcomes proposals for PhD research.Additionally the Marjan Centre welcomes proposals for PhD research.
The Marjan Centre is named after a lion named ‘Marjan’ who lived in Kabul Zoo, because the survival of ‘Marjan’ at the heart of conflict symbolises the two elements central to the work of the Marjan Centre: conflict and the conservation of biodiversity.
– Jasper Humphreys, The Marjan Centre