Environment and Security

Environment and Security 6 /

About the Environment and Security initiative

Acknowledging the multifaceted character of environmental sources of human insecurity, four organizations with differ- ent mandates, expertise, and networks — the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Na- tions Development Programme (UNDP) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) — joined together to form the Environment and Security initiative (ENVSEC). Among the various forms of interaction between environ- ment and security, ENVSEC seeks to identify and map situations in which environmental problems threaten to gen- erate tensions (left-hand circle in the diagram) – between communities, countries or regions, where for example: Water or air pollution in one community is a source of insecurity in another; Allocation or use of land resources creates instability between neighbouring regions; • •

The environment and natural resources can be (per- ceived as) a means of control and persuasion exerted by one country or community over another (upstream- downstream relations) At the same time (right-hand circle in the diagram) ENVSEC looks at situations where environmental cooperation may help build a common understanding of other more general issues. For example, joint collection of data or manage- ment of a transboundary nature reserve will not immedi- ately reduce insecurity per se, but may help to build trust and strengthen cooperation. Ultimately, it is believed that transboundary environmental cooperation can contribute to peace building (Conca and Dabelko, 2003). By providing a framework for cooperation on local and trans- boundary environmental issues, ENVSEC seeks to promote mutual confidence and peace. It builds on the combined •

two facets of the environment and security

when the environment is a factor of instability

when the environment is a bridge to cooperation



environment society economy

culture politics

ENVSEC will assess and help eliminate the identified environmental threats

ENVSEC will strengthen environmental cooperation in conflict-prone situations and propagate its momentum to other domains

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