On 25 January 2023, environmental peacemaking and mediation practitioner Olivia Lazard joined us for the online keynote: “The rise of geo-strategy in energy transition – democracy and peace at stake?”. As the world races to extract more mineral resources needed for clean and digital techs, the reality is that geo-economic forces keen on upending the rules based order are at work. They come from various geographies, although a lot of them tend to arise from China and Russia. The extraction revolution at the heart of the industrial process to create the clean tech economy is often connected to highly corrupt and predatory behaviours that threaten the stability of countries at the heart of the scramble for resources, and by the same token, threaten the integrity and solidity of democratic societies.
Olivia Lazard is a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe. Her research focuses on the geopolitics of climate, the transition ushered by climate change, and the risks of conflict and fragility associated to climate change and environmental collapse. Lazard is an environmental peacemaking and mediation practitioner as well as a researcher. With an original specialization in the political economy of conflicts, she has worked for various NGOs, the UN, the EU, and donor states in the Middle East, Latin America, Sub-Saharan and North Africa, and parts of Asia. In her fieldwork, her focus was to understand how globalization and the international political economy shaped patterns of violence and vulnerability patterns as well as how they formed new types of conflict systems that our international governance architecture has difficulty tackling with agility. It is also through fieldwork that she came to observe the ways in which the plundering of ecosystems feeds conflict systems across the world and contributes to climate disruptions. Prior to joining Carnegie Europe, Lazard set up her own consultancy firm, Peace in Design Consulting, which remains exclusively active in conflict and fragile zones.