Many of the 23 great ape range states are plagued by civil unrest, armed conflicts, regional disputes and human-wildlife conflict. Most range states in Central and Western Africa are also rich in natural resources, such as oil, minerals, or timber. These sectors can be very volatile in inflicting local resentment and conflicts. This is particularly the case when land tenure is poorly managed, criminal networks become involved in business, or irresponsible companies and local authorities ignore environmental impacts or exclude affected communities from decision-making.
GRASP promotes conflict-sensitive solutions through environmental peace-building in great ape conservation. Like other wildlife, great apes can offer a viable and neutral entry point for cooperation and peace-building, thereby promoting stability and sustainable development in areas where armed conflicts affect great ape and human populations. GRASP is also heavily involved in finding inclusive and conservation-based solutions to conflicts fuelled by extractive and agricultural concessions or illegal small-scale activities. By involving all parties, GRASP works as a moderator to promote sustainable ecosystem management, improved transparency through monitoring and standardization and alternative employment and livelihoods as building blocks for peaceful development.