Oct 24 2006
Environment and Security: An inventory of policies and practices
By Nick Mabey
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The Institute for Environmental Security has just launched a new publication, which features a foreward by E3G’s Nick Mabey.
Drawing on his previous experience as team leader of the UK Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit work on ‘Countries at Risk of Instability’, Nick sets out an overview of the challenge facing security analysts as they grapple with the increasing threats from environmental instability and resource scarcity. Nick’s foreward follows below and is also attached as a pdf download.
About the Report
Inventory of Environment and Security Policies and Practices (IESPP). An Overview of Strategies and Initiatives of Selected Governments, International Organisations and Inter-Governmental Organisations.
This report provides an easy to use comparative overview of existing governmental and inter-governmental positions and actions dealing with the relationship between environment, security and sustainable development. Focusing on selected OECD Member States, including several EU Member States, the report describes the environment and security policies and practices of 13 counties as well as 7 international / intergovernmental organisations. The IESPP report illustrates how the selected governments / IGOs have addressed their stated environmental security priorities through various policies, programmes and projects with respect to eight key themes.
Foreward, Nick Mabey, E3G
Conflict over natural resources, whether driven by need or greed, has always been a part of human society. There is also strong evidence that social tensions driven by past climatic change destroyed many advanced societies; such as the long-wave droughts which drove the collapse of early civilisations in Mesopotamia and Peru.
The coming decades will see rising resource scarcity, greater environmental degradation and increasingly disruptive climatic change. In fact, in an increasingly uncertain world these trends are disturbingly predictable. The question is whether increasing environmental and resource pressures will reduce security and stability, or will our political, governance and security systems be able to manage them peacefully?
The lack of focus on environmental security issues found by the research in this volume could suggest that security professionals in the major developed powers hold the more optimistic view. More disturbingly it could indicate that these new realities have yet to be integrated into security strategies and policy frameworks.
However, these issues are fast rising up the global political agenda. Geopolitical competition for fossil and mineral resources has become the main source of 19th centurystyle “great power” tensions in today’s interdependent world. By empowering autocratic rulers in Africa and Central Asia against their people, this competition is also setting the stage for violent internal crisis and the consequent disruption of energy supplies.