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Transforming risks
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About the Environment and Security initiative
Acknowledging the
multifaceted character of environmental sources of human insecurity, and at the
invitation of govern-ments, three international organizations with
complemen-tary mandates, expertise, and networks the Organization for Security
and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP),
and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) formed the Environment and
Security (ENVSEC) Initiative in 2003.

Working in consultation with national and international experts, ENVSEC seeks
to help identify and map those situations where environmental problems threaten
to gener-ate tensions or offer opportunities for synergies among communities,
countries or regions. From the spatial representation of results elaborated in
its consultative assessments, ENVSEC seeks to help host governments generate an
agenda of environmental management instru-ments that can be utilised in the
promotion of peace and human security.

The ENVSEC Initiative builds on the combined strengths and field presence of
the lead organizations to perform three key functions: assessment and monitoring
of environment and security linkages; capacity building and institutional
development; and integration of environmental and secu-rity concerns and
priorities in international and national policy-making.
This Initiative
offers governments a valuable approach in seeking to tackle the interconnections
between environ-ment and security because:

  • It is an open forum that functions at the invitation of governments, aimed
    at ensuring coordination between international institutions and drawing on
    their respective strengths and experience;
  • It draws its analysis from consultations with govern-ment, academia and
    civil society from the region, fostering local ownership of the outcomes;
  • It seeks to overcome disciplinary borders and to com-bine analytical,
    geographic and communication skills to address policy-makers at various
    levels; and
  • It aims to implement practical approaches to the resolu-tion of
    environment and security linkages in vulnerable areas.

ENVSEC is governed by a management board of repre-sentatives of the three
partner agencies, with an advisory committee providing scientific and policy
advice. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) has also joined ENVSEC as
an associate, through its Public Diplomacy Division. A Programme Management Unit
co-ordinates activities amongst the institutions and acts as the secretariat for
the Initiative. Additional information on the structure and organization of the
ENVSEC Initiative can be obtained from our website, at