Focus Areas

Natural Resources and Security Risk Management

Overview

Resources, and populations’ equitable access to those resources, is a main cause of conflict. Whether the issue is resource scarcity and degradation or resource abundance, competition for control can cause conflict.

Degradation of resources and scarcity are closely linked: degradation can increase scarcity and tension over distribution and access, while scarcity of natural resources exposes the resource to over-exploitation. Communities directly dependent on land and water for food, livelihoods and security are vulnerable to the impacts of resource loss, degradation, or lack of access, sometimes leading to social conflicts.

Likewise, the abundance of natural resources can become a source of tension between and within states. Countries whose wealth depends on the export of natural resources face several challenges as the management of these resources and the share in resulting revenue influences national stability.

Resource availability and access make up but one factor; population growth adds pressure, and the political and economic context play a role in whether these factors are a risk leading to conflict or an opportunity to cooperate on a solution. ENVSEC's activities are focused on the Opportunities of realization of successful projects such as cross-regional dam safety, transboundary water agreements, and border-zone protected areas.

Objective

To promote sound and equitable management of land and water resources, minimising risk and conflict over their use and promoting stability.

Areas of assistance

ENVSEC addresses the management of shared resources from forests to water and energy. Project activities focus on pressing environmental issues: increasing resilience to climate change; improving the safety of dams affecting supply and quality for river basin communities and beyond; promoting alternative energy solutions; and establishing forest conservation areas. ENVSEC also addresses long-term issues involving mechanisms, policies and legal frameworks that promote and support this shared, often cross-border, approach to resource management, and conducts capacity-building for strengthening environmental governance.