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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Peace and the environment at the crossroads: Elections in a conflict-troubled biodiversity hotspot

Salazar, Alejandro; Sanchez, Adriana; Dukes, Jeffrey S.; Salazar, Juan F.; Clerici, Nicola; Lasso, Eloisa; Sanchez-Pacheco, Santiago J.; Rendon, Angela M.; Villegas, Juan C.; Sierra, Carlos A.; Poveda, German; Quesada, Benjamin; Uribe, Maria R.; Rodriguez-Buritica, Susana; Ungar, Paula; Pulido-Santacruz, Paola; Ruiz-Morato, Natalia; Arias, Paola A.


In democracies around the world, societies have demonstrated that elections can have major consequences for the environment. In Colombia, the 2022 presidential elections will take place at a time when progress towards peace has stalled and socioeconomic, security, and environmental conditions have deteriorated. The recent declines in these conditions largely coincide with the change of government after the 2018 elections, and the associated rise to power of a party that boycotted the peace negotiations from the beginning. These indicators suggest that 2018 marked the end of a decade of improvements in safety, wealth, and equality-societal factors that can interact with the environment in multiple ways. A spike in assassinations of land and environmental defenders in 2019 and 2020 made Colombia one of the most dangerous places in the world for environmentalists. With the 2022 presidential election, Colombians will once again decide who will govern the country and what new social, economic, and environmental policies will be implemented. In preparation for elections like this, we believe that it is important for scientists with relevant backgrounds to highlight relationships between political events and the environment, to enrich the political debate, help prioritize public resources, and inform policymaking. Here, we provide a multidisciplinary analysis of different socioeconomic and environmental trends that can help inform the public and decision-makers. We intend for this analysis to be useful not only in Colombia, but also to other societies under similar situations, managing biodiversity-rich ecosystems in sociopolitical environments of increasing violence, poverty, and inequality.


Colombia; Peace; Poverty; Inequality; Elections; Climate change

Published in

Environmental Science and Policy
2022, Volume: 135, pages: 77-85

    SLU Authors

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG15 Life on land
    SDG1 No poverty
    SDG16 Peace, justice and strong institutions

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
    Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
    Environmental Sciences

    Publication Identifiers


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