The Environmental Security program explores how rising stresses on global ecosystems and shared natural resources may compromise economic development, fuel social conflict, and undermine political stability in key areas throughout the world. Through collaborative stakeholder engagement, Stimson works to identify the roots of these issues and advance equitable, collaborative solutions.
Expanding populations, shifting consumption patterns, and mounting demands on natural resources increasingly impose unsustainable strains on the global environment. The Environmental Security program works with governments, researchers, civil society organizations, and the private sector to identify these emerging threats, build collaborative partnerships, and engage stakeholders in cooperative solutions towards more effective environmental management. Stimson possesses extensive experience convening interdisciplinary dialogues and developing innovative research programs that address issues such as water security in transboundary river basins; the interplay of socio-economic, political, and environmental trends affecting marine resources, coastal communities, and maritime security in the Arctic and Indo-Pacific regions; the implications of increasing urbanization for global climate change, freshwater supplies, food security, and energy use; and the possibilities for collective institutions to enable cooperative environmental governance between countries and communities.
The Environmental Security program seeks to provide policy-relevant analysis, promote useful knowledge-sharing, build partnerships, and forge pragmatic policy solutions that ensure the sustainable management of shared natural resources and the mitigation of environmental risks. Drawing both upon independent field research and targeted multi-stakeholder dialogues, Stimson works with local and regional decision-makers to formulate cooperative approaches that enhance institutional ties while encouraging innovative collaborations. Among developing lines of investigation, Stimson explores the possibilities for new partnerships between scientific and policy research organizations, creative approaches to environmental governance, and integrated thinking on issues of natural disaster preparedness and climate change resilience. In parallel, Stimson engages with local stakeholders and constituencies to build institutional structures that allow for public deliberation and participatory decision-making, tackling such issues as integrated water resources management and climate adaptation in environmentally-stressed regions of the globe.
In 2012, the Environmental Security program brought together scientists, civil society representatives, policy analysts, and practitioners from India and Pakistan to create a pragmatic “roadmap” setting out policy options for data-sharing, joint research, and collaboration for cross-border water resource solutions in the Indus River Basin. Through roundtable discussions and joint working groups, experts from both countries engaged in practical dialogue over their shared water challenges and developed practical measures for local capacity building to address the increasing demographic, socio-economic, and environmental pressures on the basin’s water supplies. Likewise, in 2014 Stimson gathered policymakers, business leaders, and military experts from the U.S., India, China, and other regional countries, to discuss maritime security issues in the Indo-Pacific. This three-day conference examined emerging geopolitical, economic, and environmental trends affecting security, trade, development, and marine resources across the region and the policy challenges and possibilities they pose for decision makers.
The Environmental Security program produces a variety of research, from written analyses to expert interviews, reflecting the applied approach of the Environmental Security team. The program’s initiatives have generated a number of reports, policy papers, working group recommendations, op-eds, and other products presenting the results of Stimson research, dialogues, and conferences around the globe. Reports such as Connecting the Drops: An Indus Basin Roadmap for Cross-Border Water Research, Data Sharing, and Policy Coordination represent the collaborative efforts of the Environmental Security program to engage stakeholders in cooperative decision-making to further resource management goals in environmentally-stressed regions. Stimson also provides analysis of international policy challenges for the U.S. government, contributing studies to the National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends reports and the Intelligence Community Assessment of Global Water Security and ongoing analyses of global food security.
In order to effectively engage international policy issues, the Environmental Security program partners with research institutions, government agencies, universities, business, and civil society groups both in the United States and around the world. Internationally, Stimson has joined with partners have included organizations like the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) in India and the Sustainable Development Policy Institute in Pakistan. The Nepal Water Conservation Foundation in Nepal has partnered with Stimson to host dialogues, convene workshops, and carry out applied research. In the U.S., the Environmental Security program has collaborated with the National Intelligence Council, the State Department, the Center for Climate and Security, and the Brookings Institution, among others. The program is an active member of the U.S. Water Partnership, an association of more than 90 civil society organizations, businesses, foundations, and government agencies united to mobilize U.S. resources and expertise to promote sustainable water management.