ECC Platform Library

4470 Results

Center for Security Studies (CSS) at the ETH Zurich

19 December, 2005
The Center for Security Studies (CSS) has for many years undertaken research in the field of conflict analysis, in particular with regard to security studies, environmental issues, and the psychological aspects of violent conflict.

"Human Security Projekt" at the Institute for Development and Peace (INEF)

08 October, 2005

In 2005, the Institute for Development and Peace initiated the project Human Security: Theory and Practice.  The project benefits from the members’ previous work on state failure, global governance, smart sanctions and environmental security.

Since the mid 1990s, the human security approach has been promoted by various actors, most prominently by UNDP and the Japanese and Canadian government. Though this concept is relatively well established as a political leitmotif, in the academic world the approach and especially its definition is criticized for being too ambiguous.

The INEF project perceives human security as a challenge to more traditional security concepts within the theories of international relations. The project distinguishes six dimensions of human security which have the potential to existentially threaten the individual’s physical and mental well-being. One goal of the project is to establish an easy manageable way to measure human (in)security through specific thresholds for each dimension. On a national or regional level, these will be based on aggregated data of international organisations. The second goal is to establish a tool for a rapid “bottom-up” assessment of the human security situation at the local level, which can contribute to the formulation of policy strategies. The project is conducted by Tobias Debiel, Sascha Werthes and Annabelle Houdret.

Further information:


On Conflict and Collaboration in the Management of Natural Resources

06 October, 2005

The viability of collaborative socio-environmental conflict management depends to a large extent on the possibility of overcoming the large power asymmetries existing in Latin America and the Caribbean. This is one of the key results obtained from a programm launched by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC-Canada) and the University for Peace (UPEACE) in Costa Rica in 1999. This program aims to support research about conflict and collaboration (C&C) in natural resource management in Latin America and the Caribbean and has awarded a total of 30 grants to research projects. C&C is supported by an advisory Committee of renowned researchers who provide orientation and select the grantees from a wide array of proposals. UPEACE, IDRC, and UNDP have prepared a comprehensive analysis of the lessons learned in the research process. The projects contribute to a better understanding of the achievements - and limitations - of collaborative natural resource management.

Interestingly, the projects reveal different ways of dealing with conflict resolution. The differences reflect a latent tension in the region between what is collaborative and what is adversarial, as possible ways of resolving socio-environmental conflicts. State stakeholders tend to go with strategies that favor a more efficient, organized, and in some cases, more equitable environmental and territorial management. On the other hand, NGOs, and grassroots organizations, tend to go with strategies that seek greater respect for and attention to local perspectives (DT/UPeace).

Complete information about C&C and all supported projects can be found at:

The results have just been published as a book (both in Spanish and English versions), including case studies and research methodologies. Copies can be obtained from UPEACE (




Environment, Conflict, and Cooperation: The next steps

06 October, 2005

Following the launch of the information portal "Civilian Crisis Prevention - Environment and Resources" ( one year ago, this is the first newsletter on Environ ment, Conflict, and Cooperation published jointly by Adelphi Research and Germanwatch. The partnership is intended to broaden the range of issues covered, turn the spotlight on civilian approaches to preventing and transforming environmental conflicts and integrate this issue in the activities of German and international non-governmental organizations.

The newsletter will appear every two months starting with this edition and provide information on political initiatives, new publications and events. In addition, a series of dialogues and events involving NGOs, government and business representatives on "environment and resource conflicts" and "environmental cooperation and peace building" will be organized jointly with Germanwatch over the next three years in Germany.

The German edition of this newsletter has over 600 subscribers, and this speaks volumes of the level of interest regarding these issues in the country. Germany is not alone in according priority to this issue in its development assistance. Foreign and multilateral donor institutions and implementing organizations are also increasingly focusing on how to integrate approaches for conflict management in projects and programmes on environmental cooperation. In keeping with this trend, the Environment, Conflict, and Cooperation portal and the newsletter will henceforth appear in English as well as in German ( Partners in the environment and development cooperation sector can access information on relevant developments in Germany and the world at We plan to gradually expand the platform by adding regional portals, which will be created locally together with other partner organizations. Our objective is to strengthen networking among relevant stakeholders across the world.

We would urge you to inform your partners in other countries that the information at this portal is now also available in English. This information platform is being funded till March 2008 as part of the Federal Environmental Agency's and the Federal Environment Ministry's programme for the promotion of non-profit associations. This will facilitate the long term establishment of an international network.

We would like to thank our readers and members of the Advisory Board for their constructive suggestions which have helped us to develop this information portal over the last 12 months.

The editorial team



On tour: The "Environment, Conflict and Cooperation" Exhibition

06 October, 2005

Why do changes in our natural environment threaten human security? Does the exploitation of natural resources lead to violent conflict? How can sustainable development and environmental cooperation contribute to stability and peace? These are the key questions of the exhibition "Environment, Conflict and Cooperation". The exhibition visualizes the dramatic impacts of global environmental change. Using the subjects of water, climate, land, forests, and minerals, the exhibition shows the way in which environmental degradation and resource scarcity lead to conflicts and new security threats, but also how environmental cooperation and sustainable development can contribute to peace and stability.

The exhibition was conceived and realized by Adelphi Research, Adelphi Consult, and Weltformat.Design at the initiative of the German Foreign Ministry. Besides the initial opening at the Foreign Ministry in Berlin, the exhibition was shown in Dushanbe (Tajikistan), at the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in Berne, and (Slovakia) during the Advisory Board meeting of the EnvSec Initiative of UNDP, UNEP, OSCE, and NATO in Bratislava. Next stops include Mainz, Washington and The Hague (DT).

The complete tour dates, visual impressions, and information on booking the exhibition are available at 

On the opening of the exhibition in Berne, see




Forest Landscape Restoration for environmental security?

06 October, 2005

Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) can serve as a tool to resolve disputes over resources property rights. In many situations, unclear property rights and rights on natural resource use lead to local conflicts. In recognition of this problem, the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) promotes FLR as an innovative tool with potential for resolving disputes. FLR is an approach to managing the dynamic and complex interactions between the people, natural resources and competing land-uses that comprise a landscape. It makes use of collaborative approaches to harmonise the different land-use decisions of stakeholders with the aim of restoring ecological integrity and enhancing the development of local communities and national economies. In this, FLR might offer an added value for poverty reduction, local economic growth as well as environmental security.

The links between FLR and environmental security are quite obvious. As forest land is degraded and fragmented, the velocity and rate of site-level run-off increases, soil erosion accelerates, slope stability reduces, and water quality declines. The disasters that grab headlines are therefore not just a consequence of, for example, one particularly heavy rainfall but are symptomatic of a long-term erosion of ecological integrity. FLR can help reverse this trend by increasing not only landscape-level resilience to shocks, but also by enhancing landscape-level adaptability so that both government and local communities are in a better position to respond to such shocks. As the ITTO emphasizes in it latest newsletter, convincing policymakers of the value of FLR is important not only for the success of restoration initiatives, but also for continous support for forestry activities in general. The ITTO underlines the importance of convincing governments of the real value of forests and the need to restore degraded forest landscapes - otherwise the cut back of forest department budgets is likely to continue (DT).

For the ITTO newsletter "Tropical Forest Update", see 

Read more about forests and the problem of illegal logging at 

See also "Civil Society Mobilises against Illegal Forest Exploitation" in "The Post" (Bureau/Cameroon) as of September 29 at




Environmental income and human security

06 October, 2005

Environmental income is the key for human security and economic empowerment of the rural poor. This is one of the main results of the report “World Resources 2005: The Wealth of the Poor: Managing Ecosystems to Fight Poverty” recently published by the World Resources Institute (Washington, D.C). Harvests from forests, fisheries, and farm fields are a primary source of rural income, and a fall-back when other sources of employment falter. Hence, ecosystems are not only a survival mechanism but in particular also an asset to create wealth for the poor. Based on case studies, the report points out that the current debate about aid debt relief and trade reform is only one side of the coin. Additionally, to combat the roots of poverty an increased focus on local natural resources is needed. Poverty reduction programs often fail to recognize the link between environment and livelihoods. "The time has come to reverse the course of worsening diseases, depleted natural resources, political instability, inequality, and the social corrosion of angry generations that have no means to rise out of poverty," Klaus Toepfer, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), commented the publication of the report.

The report further underlines the importance of governance factors for sustainable ecosystem management. Good governance ensures adequate representation, access to information, and public participation. Moreover, the provision of tenure rights is another key aspect for increasing human security and regional stability. The poor often lack legal rights to ecosystems and are excluded from decisions about ecosystem management. Without addressing these failures through changes in governance, there is little chance of using the economic potential of ecosystems to reduce rural poverty. This report shows again the need to stop dealing with environment and development as separate policy areas. The promises of an integrated approach are illustrated by a huge number of concrete examples (DT).


The report is available at 


For more information about the work of the World Resources Institute, see 


To Dam or Not to Dam?

06 October, 2005

Water experts from around the world found themselves at a crossroads at the annual World Water Week in Stockholm in August. Eight of the workshops and one high-level panel discussion focused on hard versus soft solutions for the billions of people without adequate access to water and sanitation services – or, as the conference organizers put it, “to dam or not to dam”. The majority of speakers and participants chose the road marked “large-scale infrastructure,” leaving “soft solutions” to the world’s water crises mostly unexplored. Big money for big projects was announced, the social and environmental costs associated with dam building were hardly ever mentioned. As Jamal Saghir, the World Bank’s water and energy director, put it: “If Kenya wants our money for large-scale infrastructure, no problem.”

And yes, not only Kenya wanted the World Bank’s money for dams. Ministers from several African countries made a point to say it wasn't the Bank pushing them toward expensive dams, but that they had chosen this development path of their own free will. The strategies they announced were based on big infrastructure, to divert water from one region of the country to another, or to feed regional power grids that are yet to be developed. Sunita Narain from the Centre of Science and Development in New Delhi, India, and the winner of this year's Stockholm Water Prize, promoted a soft solution to water scarcity: rain-water harvesting. But she remained an exotic outlaw, an NGO poster child: She explained how more and more houses in Indian cities collect rainwater on their rooftops and how villages in Rajastan are blooming thanks to hand-made rainwater storages. And she stressed that small-scale, decentralised solutions are much cheaper and can be scaled up as finances allow.

Interestingly enough, even the financial argument did not seem to carry much weight with the institutions present in Stockholm, such as African governments, the World Bank and the World Water Council. Soft solutions were discussed as if they were a mere add-on, something civil society should deal with. It was therefore somehow appropriate that the World Water Week featured a poster exhibition for NGOs to showcase their small-scale success stories, whereas the World Bank’s approach was discussed in the main conference hall. Before the start of the conference, the organizers claimed: “Diversity will be on display at the 2005 World Water Week in Stockholm”. New and diverse strategies to solve water-related development issues and increase poor people’s access to water and sanitation were indeed on display. Anders Berntell, representing the organizers, called for a “people-centred approach to dam building”. He called for the application of the World Commission on Dams guidelines to ensure that the interests of the poor are at the centre of water development. Yet, his calls remained unanswered by representatives from governments and the development-aid industry. They appeared more interested in looking at posters of people (Ann Kathrin Schneider, International Rivers Network).


For more information on the world water week, see 

Further information on the International Rivers Network could be obtained at 


Water, War, but where are the Women?

06 October, 2005

On 8.- 10. September the Heinrich-Boell Foundation and the Center for Transdisciplinary Gender Studies at Berlin’s Humboldt University held the international congress ‚Femme Global’ to discuss gender perspectives in the 21st century. Under one of the major conference themes 'peace and security’, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) organized the workshop on 'WWW - Women, Water, War’. The first presentation by Roula Zoubiane, a Lebanese Lawyer focussed on the historical development of water politics in the Middle East, highlighting Israel’s control of water sources and arguing that water, not oil, bears the potential for major future wars in the region: while oil fields are mapped and their ownership settled, many water sources are still unidentified. The second speaker, Regina Birchem, Biologist and President of WILPF, highlighted women’s plight in developing countries as providers of water to their families. She pointed to the burden of having to carry water for miles, the health risks of polluted water and the negative impact of water privatization for the provision of affordable water in many developing countries.

Both presentations pointed to important topics: the role of water in the Middle East future war or peace developments and women’s (and their families’) health risks from insufficient and dirty water. While the presenters provided interesting facts on water and war on the one hand, and women and human security on the other, only when pushed by the audience did they make some indirect links between all three elements of the panel’s title: by emphasizing the lack of women in the political system regulating Middle East politics and in the corporate system of water privatization. The impression that water (or other natural resources), wars, and women are still not really thought together was reinforced by the discussion taking place in another, larger panel: the 'feminist critique of new security concepts’ recognized a broad security concept, however, the specific role of our natural environment did not feature. (MF)


Femme Global congress website: 


Link to WILPF’s environment programme: 


Link to the German discussion paper for a feminist perspective on new security concepts 


A Question of Access: Civil Societies and Conflict Prevention

06 October, 2005

A key advantage that NGOs have over governmental agencies in crisis prevention is their proximity to local communities. It allows them to win the confidence of groups in conflict regions to whom government organisations have little access. This was one of the findings of the conference on the role of civil society in crisis prevention that took place in Berlin in mid June. The conference was organized by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. The federal government's Action Plan for "Civilian Crisis Prevention" thus emphasises the need for enhanced cooperation between different policy sectors and stakeholders. To facilitate this process, the Action Plan now has an institutional framework, which includes an Interministerial Steering Group and an Advisory Board comprising researchers and civil society representatives.

The opportunities and limitations of such an institutional setup were one of the main themes of the conference. The conference took positive note of the fact that the Interministerial Steering Group includes ministries, such as for those for economic affairs or environment, which traditionally have not been directly involved in civilian conflict management. Their involvement considerably facilitates information dissemination and coordination; it also supports a more cohesive approach to crisis prevention. The Advisory Board provides expert inputs for the Interministerial Steering Committee and also plays an important role in ensuring multiplier effects. It was acknowledged, however, that the involvement of civil society cannot be restricted to this body alone. Decision makers must seek a much more broad-based dialogue with civil society. Apart from their proximity to local communities, civil society groups often have the added advantage that their activities are long term in nature and consequently tend to outlive governments. Leveraging this advantage in a systematic manner will continue to be critical to strengthening crisis prevention (DT).


For more information on the action plan "Civilian Crisis Prevention", see 


Friedrich Ebert Foundation: (in German).


"Less dependence on oil" - new consensus on old demand

06 October, 2005

"Climate change is not an illusion; it is happening before our eyes." With this statement (translation by the editors), Klaus Toepfer inaugurated the annual conference of the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE), evoking images of the catastrophic hurricanes and floods that struck the United States. Toepfer, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), demanded that environmental disasters such as this should propel decreased dependence on oil and a move towards low carbon energy supply. He also underlined the link between natural resource utilisation and global security. In light of the predictions of future 'water wars' he asked, "What disarmament instruments do we really possess for such wars?" According to Toepfer, the efficient use of and equitable access to natural resources are critical for global security. 

Toepfer was not the only one in calling for decreased dependence on oil. In his speech, Chancellor Schroeder demanded an energy policy that promotes regenerative resources and renewable energy. The Political Forum of the conference, comprising representatives from the parties in parliament, also dealt with the issue of a shift away from oil. Although party positions on environmental issues diverged considerably a couple of weeks before the elections for the Lower House of German Parliament, there was consensus on the goal of reducing oil dependency. Consequently, and given its relevance for energy supply in the future, consensus could also be achieved on the motto of the 5th annual conference of the Council for Sustainable Development: "From more to better" (EM).


For more information on the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE), see 



12 August, 2005
Artikel Register


01 January, 2005
Quick Access
Climate Change


Stern, Nicholas 2005

01 January, 2005
Quick Access
Climate Change


Sawin, Janet L. 2005

01 January, 2005

Climate Change poses greater security threat than terrorism. Global Security Brief No. 3. Washington, D.C.: Worldwatch Institute.

Quick Access
Climate Change



Adaptation & Resilience

All countries will need to adapt to some of the environmental, social and economic impacts of climate change that are already unavoidable. Food security, livelihoods, water resource availability and public health are some affected areas. People living in poverty are more vulnerable, having a lower capacity to adapt. Thus, it is essential to promote resilience building. The adaptation and resilience aspects need to be mainstreamed into planning by policy makers and the private sector as well as integrated into development strategies.

Biodiversity & Livelihoods

Nature protection is most sustainable if it essentially contributes to the long-term stability of human needs. Today many regions around the world are confronted with increasing destruction of the natural foundations of life. The consequences of wide-ranging resource destruction are no longer regionally limited, but rather represent a global threat. Those affected are mainly rural populations, who find the sources of their income and the foundations of their way of life swept away. The depletion and destruction of natural resources goes hand in hand with decreasing agricultural yields and increasing poverty, which in turn forces the affected populations to deplete the remaining resources.

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Capacity Building

On the one hand, conflicts are caused by structural factors, such as economic and social inequality or environmental destruction. On the other hand, conflicts are fuelled by a lack of democratic structures, deficient mechanisms of non-violent conflict settlement, inadequate rule of law, the destruction of social and cultural identity and the disregard of human rights. Against this backdrop, development policies have been dedicated to a broad concept of security, which comprises political, economic, ecological and social stability. As a consequence, development cooperation agencies and actors have developed a broad spectrum of approaches for conflict prevention and transformation as well as for sustainable use of natural resources.

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Civil Society

Civil society is the first victim of environmental pollution, under-development and conflicts. Economically disadvantaged and politically marginalized population groups are particularly affected by violent conflicts as well as increasing resource degradation. Simultaneously, civil society is a fundamental pillar for implementing sustainable development. It contributes in many ways to strengthening conflict prevention and plays a significant role in the peaceful and democratic development of states. It must be supported to strengthen civil rights, adherence to human rights in general and democratic participation.

Climate Change

Climate change resulting from the emission of greenhouse gases represents one of the vital challenges for international environmental policy. Flooding, droughts, shifting of climate zones and increasingly frequent and intense extreme weather events will have serious economic and social consequences for entire regions. The climate problem is also directly linked to the question of future energy generation.

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Climate Diplomacy

To address the challenges posed by climate change, a new profile of climate diplomacy is evolving. This utilises a full range of policies, including development cooperation, conflict prevention efforts, and humanitarian assistance, in addition to more traditional measures of climate change adaptation and mitigation. Moving from a risk analysis of climate-related threats to well-timed preventive action requires a greater commitment to integrating climate change concerns into development, foreign, and security policies. Examples include strengthening diplomatic networks, building new alliances with partners, and raising awareness – not only of potentially negative climate change impacts, but also of opportunities to embark on a sustainable transformation of our societies.

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Climate action entails an array of economic, social, political and environmental co-benefits. It provides an opportunity for economic growth and new jobs. Many investments can take into account climate considerations without becoming more costly. Further important co-benefits include: improved energy security, less local air and water pollution, health benefits as well as ecosystem and biodiversity protection.

Conflict Transformation

In order to overcome the structural causes of violent conflicts and thus bring about an improvement in the framework conditions for peaceful and fair development, it is essential to have long term and broadly planned peace development and peace advancement. Various governmental and non-governmental, national and international actors and groups are involved in these processes.

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Climate change and development are inextricably linked. Climate change endangers the development agenda and has the potential to reverse development goals. Furthermore, successful mitigation of climate change heavily depends on development choices around the world. Therefore, development strategies need to be climate-compatible to provide long-term success, and there are viable policy options that support this compatibility. Many mitigation and adaptation activities can present development opportunities to developing countries and avoid the lock-in to environmentally damaging technologies.

Early Warning & Risk Analysis

The reasons for the development and escalation of conflicts and the incidence of risks are multifaceted and complex. Simultaneously, the assessment of the specific causes in the form of risk and conflict analyses can contribute to a better understanding of these processes and make it possible to provide warning of negative developments, or ideally help prevent them. In the context of natural resource use, risks and conflicts have gained increasing attention in the past years. The debate on possible future water wars is merely one example.

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The well-being of individuals, communities and nations depends on the availability of energy resources. The gap between energy supply and demand appears to be growing, making the world vulnerable to serious economic shocks. At the same time, the burning of fossil fuels causing climate change is one of the vital challenges of international environmental policy. So far, only rudimentary approaches exist for shaping climate and energy security in a sustainable way. The components of a strategy that can contribute to reducing vulnerabilities related to climate change and energy policy include a greater role for renewable energies, the improvement of energy efficiency and a stronger decentralisation of energy supply.

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Environment & Migration

The economic, social and environmental consequences of climate change aggravate the breakdown of eco-system-dependent livelihoods and are likely to become dominant drivers of long-term migration. Natural disasters already cause massive shorter-term displacement and the number of temporarily displaced people is likely to further increase with climate change. For vulnerable populations in vulnerable regions, such as the Sahel zone or the Ganges delta, migration often becomes the sole survival strategy. In order to address climate-related displacement and migration successfully, knowledge of effective adaptation and an improved understanding of how environmental change affects human mobility is essential. 

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Climate finance, from all sources, plays a key role in supporting and enabling adaptation and mitigation action as well as climate and energy innovation. The Paris Agreement ensured that the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility are at the core of climate finance architecture as entities entrusted with the operation of the Financial Mechanism of the UNFCCC. Increasing climate finance from all relevant public and private sources is crucial. Furthermore, much needs to be done to redirect finance flows to sustainable paths, e.g. reducing fossil fuel subsidies, introducing maritime and air transportation taxes. The conditions for green investment in developing countries should also be improved.


Forests are disappearing at an alarming rate. Competition for forest resources triggers, exacerbates, or finances numerous crises and conflicts in tropical developing countries. Illegal logging and timber trade foster instability and sometimes violent conflict by strengthening illegal and armed groups, increasing corruption and exacerbating use and claim conflicts among local communities, the state and the business sector. Forests are a vital resource to poor people but they can also become areas of conflict. Sustainable management of forest resources is therefore key to preventing violent conflict over and within forests.

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Gender plays an important role as a category of conflict for many reasons. The interlinkages between gender, environment and conflicts are complex and much research is still needed. Existing insights suggest that conflicts may worsen gender inequalities that existed before the outbreak of violence. The unequal distribution of land property rights in many parts of the world serves as an example. Moreover, women (and children) are among those most affected by both violent conflict and natural disasters. At the same time, women carry much of the burden of trying to implement rehabilitation measures after crisis events.

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Land & Food

Increasing water scarcity, desertification and crop failures due to extreme weather events are becoming more and more of a threat to global food production. While the world’s population continues to grow rapidly, food production is unable to keep pace. Due to the global food crisis in 2008, the number of hungry people reached the symbolic one billion threshold for the first time – corresponding to about 16 percent of world population. Food insecurity may be a consequence or cause of conflicts. Violent conflicts often lead to the destruction of agricultural infrastructure and means of production, as well as to the displacement of local communities.

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Minerals & Mining

In the past, the discovery and tapping of valuable or strategic resources like valuable minerals, oil and natural gas, particularly in developing and emerging countries, has often led to large scale environmental contamination and negative development. The "resource curse" of some countries shows that the wealth from resource yields is frequently unfairly distributed; instead of serving development it advanced the formation of corrupt elites and in some cases even led to conflicts and civil wars. Measures in various sectors and at all levels are important in order to use the potential of these natural resources in a manner that is sustainable and prevents conflicts.

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Private Sector

The spread of violent conflict not only affects people but also companies located in such regions. Destruction of investments and infrastructure, collapse of markets and trade partnerships, flight and expulsion of employees are phenomena of conflicts and environment-induced crises that directly affect companies in unstable regions. Almost all branches of the economy thus have a clear interest in a stable and peaceful environment for their activities. Conversely, the business sector plays an important role in the interaction of economic growth, social development and a healthy environment, all of which can advance peace and sustainable development. 

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Environmental issues have a significant security dimension. Access to, and overuse of, natural resources often play a key role in civil wars or other forms of internal domestic conflict. This is compounded by climate change and environmental degradation. Climate change is now widely recognised as a non-traditional, risk-multiplying threat that will have increasing security impacts. Key risks with possible implications for human and national security include water scarcity, food crises, natural disasters, and displacement. More preventive diplomacy and advocacy is needed to address the strategic implications of climate and environmental change.

Sustainable Transformation

Sustainable Transformation allows societies to profit from a growing, environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive economy – especially in emerging and developing countries. This requires a higher up-front investment, but the benefits of a sustainable transformation in the medium and long term are significant. For instance, energy cost savings and reducing the impact of price volatility offer major incentives for deploying renewable energies and promoting energy efficiency. Such benefits exist in all key sectors of the economy.

Technology & Innovation

Innovations and technologies are already readily available and affordable but their global diffusion and uptake remains a challenge. Innovation and technology are crucial to achieving ambitious climate change mitigation and adaptation targets. However, research and development often do not receive appropriate public support. Developing countries can leapfrog high-carbon industrialisation phases by adopting, deploying and improving existing innovations and technologies. For this, it is essential to minimise financial, administrative and political barriers.


The availability of freshwater resources in sufficient quantity and quality is essential for the preservation of human health and sound ecosystems. The use of water resources is also vital, however, for economic development: whether for agriculture, industrial production or for electricity generation. The world's freshwater resources are distributed very unevenly in terms of geography and seasons. In addition, water shortage is becoming more prevalent in several regions due to population growth, economic development, urbanisation and increasing environmental pollution. Thus, water resources can hold potential for conflicts between parties who have different interests and needs.

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The environment in Asia is already under tremendous pressure as a result of the unsustainable use of land, forests, water and even air in many regions. Climate change will only exacerbate these challenges. Rising sea levels will likely endanger densely populated areas, changes in the monsoon patterns can strongly impact agriculture, melting glaciers will increase long-term water scarcity, and extreme weather events such as heavy rainfall and cyclones can pose further hazards.

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Central America & Caribbean

Natural disasters and water scarcity are key challenges for most of Central America and the Caribbean. These challenges will become even more pronounced as the climate changes. Weak resource and disaster risk management and land disputes pose additional security challenges for large parts of the region. Several countries of Central America and the Caribbean have limited adaptive capacities as they face political instability caused by high social inequality, crime, corruption, and intra-state conflicts.

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As one of the most developed and most densely populated regions in the world, Europe makes heavy use of its resources, resulting in difficult trade-offs and negative consequences for the environment and ecosystems. Land is used for settlements, agriculture and dense infrastructure, creating problems of soil degradation. Water resources are stressed due to unsustainable agricultural practices. Despite nature protection policies, Europe continues to lose biodiversity at an alarming pace. Some of these trends are exacerbated by climate change, which is expected, for instance, to lead to shifts in water availability.

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Global Issues

Resource scarcities, environmental pollution and climate change are not limited by national borders, but often have a transboundary or even global impact. These issues interact with political stability, governance structures and economic performance, and can trigger or worsen disputes and violent conflicts. Exacerbating some of these trends, climate change is likely to lead to the degradation of freshwater resources, declines in food production, increases in storm and flood disasters and environmentally induced migration. All these developments pose potential for conflict.

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Middle East & North Africa

The geopolitical position of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), its fossil fuel resources, high population growth and the political changes spurred by the Arab Spring all make the region one of the most dynamic in the world. Nevertheless, it is also one of the most arid and environmentally stressed. Dwindling water resources, limited arable and grazing land, high pollution from household and industrial waste, remnants of conflicts and increasing desertification are key environmental challenges.

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North America

Climate change has various impacts on the three North American countries of Canada, Mexico and the US. Canada and the US have well-developed adaptive capacities and foster the strengthening of capacities in other regions as well. With high per capita emissions, these two countries also bear a greater responsibility for a changing climate. Mexico has a sound national strategy for climate change adaptation, yet fewer capacities than Canada and the US. The poorer and rural populations of Mexico are especially vulnerable to climate change, due to an increased sensitivity and a lower adaptive capacity.

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Oceania & Pacific

In Oceania, population growth and economic development trends put a strain on oceanic and island ecosystems. Freshwater scarcity, overexploitation of fisheries, loss of land biodiversity, forests and trees, invasive species, soil degradation, increasing levels of settlement, poor management of solid and hazardous waste and disproportionate use of coastal areas are some of the problems. Climate change exacerbates most of these trends, while also raising questions about the future sovereignty of some island states.

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South America

South America has diverse and unique ecosystems and is very rich in biodiversity. Weak natural resource management, land disputes and extreme weather events bring about significant challenges for the region. While South America accounts for relatively few CO2 emissions, the changing climate will alter its ecosystems and greater climate variability will lead to more hurricanes, landslides, and droughts.

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Sub-Saharan Africa

In many African states, environmental security issues rank high on the political agenda. Throughout the continent, countries suffer from water scarcity, food insecurity and energy poverty. These chronic and worsening resource scarcities have severe livelihood implications and are exacerbated by political conflicts over access to and control over these resources. Climate change may seriously threaten political and economic stability in Africa. It may also put a severe strain on the capacities of states and societies to co-ordinate activities, to communicate and to organize.

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