Environmental Security

Preserving the Planet

Environmental Security

The Environmental Security program explores the suite of environmental threats, both human and natural, that have the potential to undermine national, regional, or global security. The increasingly complex and transnational drivers of environmental challenges compromise ecological, economic, and food security – and ultimately can foster destabilization and geopolitical tension. Through its engagement with unconventional stakeholders, the Environmental Security program works to identify the roots of these threats to peace and stability and put forward innovative solutions.

Over a billion people rely on the ocean for food, yet 90 percent of the world’s fisheries are fully exploited or over-exploited and depleted. Distant water fishing fleets scour the ocean and contribute to the poor management and exhaust fisheries resources. Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing generates estimated annual profits of up to $36 billion. And as fisheries dwindle around the world, out of work fishermen often turn to crime, exploited by traffickers to run drugs, arms and other black-market products. At the same time, life below the water is drastically being altered from climate change – coral reefs are dying, fisheries are shifting their range, and important habitats can no longer support the life they once did. On land, the effects of climate change are causing drought and resource insecurity, leading to increased migration to urban centers, a majority of which exist on the coasts. Food and economic insecurity, increasing migration, rising sea levels and changing marine ecosystems place increasing strain on communities least able to respond. The problems facing our environment threaten the economic and food security of communities and place a disproportionate burden on the national security of coastal nations.


Research and Analysis

October 3, 2019


September 19, 2019 | EXPERT: Jack Stuart , EXPERT: Sally Yozell

Photo: Director of the Environmental Security Program Sally Yozell with author Ian Urbina, and Senator Chris Coons.  

July 29, 2019

Featured Canada accedes to the Port State Measures Agreement  

July 16, 2019 | EXPERT: Amanda Shaver , EXPERT: Sally Yozell

FEATURED NEWS EU lifts Taiwan’s IUU Fishing “Yellow Card,” Forms Joint Task Force

July 15, 2019

On July 10-11, 2019 the Environmental Security Program at the Stimson Center hosted a workshop with the Ocean Policy Research Institute from the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF) to apply the Climate and Ocean Risk Vulnerability Index (CORVI), currently being developed by the Stimson Center, to SPF

July 1, 2019

Featured News Liberia signs the Port State Measures Agreement

June 18, 2019

Featured News Congressional Hearing on the National Security Implications of Climate Change

May 23, 2019

Featured News Somali Pirates Attack Fishing Vessels

May 10, 2019

Featured News Food Crisis Threat Lingers Post-Cyclone Idai

April 19, 2019

Sierra Leone Closes Waters to Industrial Fishers this Month

April 8, 2019

Cyclone Idai Highlights Climate Change Vulnerability

April 5, 2019 | EXPERT: Lindsay Getschel

There is no question that climate change is a threat multiplier that plays a role in the instigation and continuation of conflict.

March 25, 2019

Distant water fishing (DWF) fleets have roamed the ocean for centuries. Yet in recent years, globalization and innovation have enabled these fleets to become more efficient in their operations.

March 19, 2019

The President of the Marshall Islands, Hilda Heine, has outlined how her government is considering the possibility of building artificial islands as a respons

March 19, 2019

The European Commission (EC) recently delayed a visit to Vietnam intended to review the country’s efforts to address IUU fishing concerns.
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