Present to Future on Environment and Peace


We thank all our guests for their insights and their courage to work on such important topics. We seem to be in a moment in time where there is broader public awareness of how much we have damaged nature and we are starting to see how this is in turn damaging our health, our politics and the very fabric of our societies. But we’ve also heard from our guests about some of the concrete paths where our efforts as conservationists, environmentalists and peacebuilders could reinforce each other – from the very local level up to global policies. We hope that we’ve inspired you to make these links from within your own area of work.The partners who participated in producing this podcast series are: Conservation International (, the

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) (, the PeaceNexus Foundation ( and the World Wide Fund for Nature - Germany ( We also encourage you to have a look at the website of the Environmental Peacebuilding Association on The website hosts a wide range of publications and provides information about upcoming events, opportunities for collaboration and the activities of the Association. Host: Hesta Groenewald, Associate Consultant, PeaceNexus Foundation. Hesta has 20 years’ experience in conflict, peacebuilding and gender work. She has particular expertise on implementing conflict-sensitive approaches and on incorporating gender into conflict analysis and peacebuilding. She previously worked for the international peacebuilding NGO, Saferworld, in a variety of roles, including Conflict Adviser, Regional Head of Programmes and as global Head of Research and Programme Support. Currently, she is an independent consultant and Associate Consultant with the PeaceNexus Foundation, with a particular focus on conflict sensitivity, conservation and environment. Guest: Ulrika Åkesson, Lead Policy Specialist on Environment and Climate Change at the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA). With over 25 years of experience in development cooperation from Africa, Asia and Latin America, her work has focused on integrating the cross-cutting environmental and climate change issues into development cooperation. She also serves as the Chair of the OECD DAC´s Network on Environment and Development Cooperation (ENVIRONET). Guest:Anna Åkerlund, Lead Policy Specialist on Peace and Security at the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA). She has over 20 years of experience in international development cooperation and international affairs with a focus on peacebuilding, conflict sensitivity and strengthening human rights and democracy.Her experience spans the NGO and government sectors, and includes advisory roles on peace and security issues in Myanmar, Sri Lanka and at global policy level.

Guest: Hassan Mowlid Yasin, co-founder and vice-chairperson of the youth- led Somali Green Peace Association and Somali focal point for the African Youth Initiative on Climate Change. As a climate change teacher and environmental activist, he is passionate about leading Somali youth to address the challenges presented by climate change, environmental depletion, food security and conflict. He is active in multiple international and local environmental protection organizations, including the United Nations Environment Programme for Children and Youth (UNEP MGCY), Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN), African Youth Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC) and One Young World Ambassador.

In making this episode we really wanted to hear stories of peace and conservation from people around the world. But time zones and internet connections were, as always, a challenge. We hope therefore that you’ll forgive us if you sometimes hear us switch from one speaker recording to another. The graphics for this podcast were provided by Camden Edmond and Skyler Beatty - Ancient River Design

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