In the 1990s experts predicted that environmental change was to be the security concern of the 21st Century. Today, however, competing crises brought on by terrorism, infectious diseases and economic instability are at the top of the security agenda. Is environment still a security concern? How does a focus on environmental security help us in coming up with practical solutions for making the world a safer place and development initiatives more sustainable?
These and other issues were the focus of a comprehensive international Conference on Environment, Security and Sustainable Development attended by senior decision makers and representatives from governments, non governmental organisations, development institutions, the private sector, and academia, at the Peace Palace in The Hague, 9-12 May 2004.
The ultimate objective of the conference and its follow-up is to promote more sustainable relationships between people, their environment and the natural resources they depend on for their well-being on the basis of precaution, equity, efficiency and choice. This will require building understanding of the relationship between environment and security, and how this relationship affects sustainable development.
The short-term objectives, intended to be met by the conference included:
Conference Results and Follow Up
The conference concluded with the presentation of a Chairman's Summary called "Pathways to Environmental Security" (PDF 286KB) incorporating action points related to each of the above objectives along with 86 specific recommendations directed to forthcoming EU Presidencies and others. The recommendations were both policy oriented and practical, including guidelines for addressing environment and security issues in the field.
Participants from the conference and other interested individuals and organisations are invited to take part in promoting the implementation of The Hague Conference recommendations.
|Ronald A. Kingham
|Jeannette E. Mullaart