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Environment and Security Discussion Series

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From managing mounting pressures on the world’s natural resources to protecting the global commons and mitigating the impacts of climate change, environmental and security challenges increasingly intertwine. In celebration of our 2013 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, Stimson has launched a discussion series bringing together leading analysts and practitioners from government, academia, civil society, industry, and the media. The series provides a forum for dialogue and debate around the deepening links between environmental and security concerns, promoting an open exchange of ideas and views on the growing relevance of the environment-security nexus to national and international policy.  

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Small-Islands, High Seas: Sustainable Development In A Changing Climate

June 18, 2014

Speakers: Dr. Milan J.N. Meetarbhan, Alice Thomas

Moderator: David Michel

The fifth installment of Stimson’s Environment and Security Discussion Series featured the Ambassador of Mauritius, Dr. Milan J. N. Meetarbhan, in conversation with Alice Thomas, Head of the Climate Displacement program at Refugees International, about the geopolitical and environmental challenges confronting small-island states in a warming world. The event explored key risks and opportunities for sustainable development and national security, including threats from rising sea-levels and stronger potential storms, and the connections between maritime resources and island economies. Ambassador Meetarbhan discussed the development of an “Ocean Economy” in Mauritius and on-going initiatives to build climate resilience. Alice Thomas discussed the legal complexities surrounding potential forced displacements or planned migrations in the face of climate impacts and current efforts to identify legal frameworks for possible climate refugee populations. The discussion closed with an informal Q&A session between the speakers and audience participants.

View the event below:

 

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 Climate and Security: Views from the Global North and South

October 21, 2013

 

Speakers: Dr. Dino Patti Djalal, Sheila Riordon

Moderator: David Michel

The fourth installment of Stimson’s 2013 Environment and Security Discussion Series featured Dr. Dino Patti Djalal, Ambassador of Indonesia to the United States, and Sheila Riordon, Minister of Political Affairs for the Embassy of Canada. David Michel, Director of the Stimson Environmental Security Program, served as moderator. The two speakers discussed the impacts of climate change on their respective countries and highlighted various initiatives Canada and Indonesia are now implementing to address emerging environmental challenges. Both Amb. Djalal and Ms. Riordon emphasized the need to establish a balance between economic development and environmental preservation, and called for greater regional and international cooperation in the realms of disaster relief and sustainable natural resource management. The two speakers also agreed the support and involvement of local communities will be a key factor in whether current and future climate change adaptation and mitigation policies prove successful.

Here’s a clip from the event:

 

To watch the full event, click here.

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Environmental Stress and Middle East Instability

August 26, 2013

Speakers: Joe Hewitt, Erika Weinthal

Moderator: Ellen Laipson

The third installment of Stimson’s 2013 Environment and Security Discussion Series featured Joe Hewitt, Technical Leadership Team Leader at USAID’s Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation, and Erika Weinthal, Associate Professor of Environmental Policy at Duke University. Stimson President and CEO Ellen Laipson served as moderator. The discussion explored perspectives from U.S. development and research communities on the roles that climate change and rising pressures on natural resources can potentially play in contributing to political unrest and economic instability across the Middle East. Hewitt provided insights into how USAID’s Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation evaluates and addresses state fragility, while Weinthal discussed how climate change can contribute to social, economic, and environmental instability. Both speakers examined the interplay between state fragility and environmental issues in Syria and Yemen as case studies.

Here’s a clip from the event:

 

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 Natural Resources and International Conflicts

June 11, 2013

 

Speakers: Jeffrey Colgan, David Michel

Moderator: Ellen Laipson

Stimson’s second installment of its 2013 Environment and Security Discussion Series featured Jeff Colgan, assistant professor at American University’s School of International Service. The event’s discussion centered on how states’ development of natural resources impacts their foreign policy, human security, and political and social stability. David Michel, director of Stimson’s Environmental Security program, joined Colgan in the conversation on current resource development trends, international security, and environmental sustainability. Stimson President and CEO Ellen Laipson served as moderator. Colgan opened the discussion by highlighting some of the central findings of his recently published book, “Petro-Aggression: When Oil Causes War” (Cambridge University Press, 2013), arguing that petro-states with revolutionary governments – such as Iran and Venezuela – are far more likely than non-revolutionary petro-states to engage in aggressive behavior when it comes to their foreign policy agenda. Colgan and Michel went on to discuss prospects for the world’s continued reliance on fossil fuels, and debated how the rise of the renewable fuels industry may impact the geopolitical standing of the international community’s current oil heavyweights. The speakers also discussed other contemporary natural resource development trends, with a particular focus on the security implications of mounting water scarcity across the developing world.

Here’s a clip from the event:

 

To watch the full event, click here.

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The Environmental and Security Communities: How Do Their Evolving Concerns Overlap?

April 22, 2013

Speakers: Sherri Goodman, Richard Cronin

Moderator: Ellen Laipson

The April 22 kick-off event for Stimson’s new Environment and Security Discussion Series featured a dialogue between Sherri Goodman, a former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Environmental Security and Senior Vice President at CNA, and Stimson’s Southeast Asian expert Dr. Richard Cronin. Goodman discussed her tenure as Undersecretary during the 1990s and highlighted the ways in which the defense community’s views on the environment have changed from a focus on pollution management and compliance to an increasingly proactive stance on environmental stewardship. Following Goodman’s discussion of the evolution of military views on the environment, Richard Cronin spoke at length about what motivated the Stimson Center to tackle regional-scale problems arising from tradeoffs in development and environmental security in Southeast Asia’s Mekong River basin, home to more than 60 million people.

Here’s a clip from the event:

 

To watch the full event, click here.

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For more information about the Stimson Environment and Security Discussion Series, please contact Ricky Passarelli at [email protected].

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