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Experts on Environmental Security in a t?te-?-t?te

ENVSEC-IES Workshop on Environmental Security Assessments
22 November 2010

ESAM WorkshopOn 21-22 November 2010 the Institute for Environmental Security, in collaboration with UNEP and ENVSEC, organised a workshop on 'Environmental Security Assessments: Methodologies and Practices' at Chateau de Bois-Seigneur-Isaac near Brussels.

The meeting brought together experts who design and carry out Environmental Security Assessments (ESAs) and policy makers and practitioners with a demonstrated interest in using such assessments. The overall aim was to exchange information and experiences on the various approaches to conducting ESAs and explore ways to improve the use of them in the future.

The first theme addressed was ?What are ESAs? How are they done? And who uses them?? Speakers highlighted purposes of different kinds of ESAs and how they are used by policy makers, by companies, by development agencies and by the defence and security communities. Referring to NATO?s approach to Environmental Security, Jamie Patrick Shea, Deputy Assistant Secretary General, Emerging Security Challenges Division of the NATO said, ?Environmental protection in military operations is a young discipline and it still needs tender parent-ship to mature.?

A second theme focused upon the key elements of Environmental Security Assessments. For instance, how do ESAs deal with climate change issues, involve local stakeholders, take into account geopolitical aspects, engage different international and national actors and use earth observation, GIS and remote sensing. Laura Rio of UNEP spoke about ?the added value of ENVSEC that lays ultimately in its ability to bring interconnected environment and security benefits.? Other speakers in the session also emphasised the security angle and stressed the importance of conflict prevention.
During the third session, speakers shared experience and approaches which could help strengthen the quality and effectiveness of ESAs. Experts in this session unanimously agreed upon the importance of field work, that the assessments should meet the needs of the local context, that capacity-building of stakeholders was crucial, that the political context of key decision makers had to be taken into consideration and that cooperation and collaboration was imperative.

The final session focused on how ESAs can be made more useful to end users and dealt with ideas for follow-up and future cooperation. The participants agreed to continue to work together to exchange information on forthcoming ESAs and to help develop guidelines on how to carry out ESAs or how to use them.

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