Environment and Security: Research Requirements and Research Priorities
The German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) asked Ecologic in cooperation with the Swiss Peace Foundation to undertake a study on environmental conflict.
During the 1990s, the term "environmental security" became a buzzword for social sciencists within the realms of environment and security policy-making and in peace and conflict studies. As a result of the academic and political debate which employed differing definitions of "environment and security," this issue area soon lost its conceptional sharpness.
The German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) asked Ecologic in cooperation with the Swiss Peace Foundation to undertake the following tasks in the contracted study:
1) to provide an analysis on the current state of research in the various areas of environmental conflict studies; and
2) to identify those theoretical and empirical research approaches that need to be further analyzed within a research program in order to meet the basic research requirements and priorities in Germany. In the first part of the report, the political relevance of the environmental conflict studies is outlined from both a German and European point of view and an analysis is given as to how this is perceived in the international arena. In the second part of the report, the conceptional bases for a research program and possible research projects are outlined in more concrete terms. In the final section, a the following research program and projects are suggested for consideration: a program on "human development and lasting security in the least developed countries of Africa;" and projects on "environment and security in Europe" and "international institutions, environment and security".
According to the report, "human security" is cited as essential for innovative peace building, as well as for integrating the traditional concept of state-centred security and extending this security concept towards lasting, human development. This also applies for the development of political strategies for future environmental conflict studies and also for improvement in analytical attempts for crisis management and conflict prevention.