The project

The Workshops on Environment and Security (WES) provide a space for researchers from different academic backgrounds to discuss how environmental and security issues mutually influence each other. This collaborative effort is the product of a renewed partnership between Sciences Po Paris (Sciences Po) and the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) on environment and security, with the additional participation of three partner institutions, the University of Geneva (UniGe), the University of Economics in Bratislava (UEBA) and the Fletcher School of Tufts University. For this first edition, we organize 5 workshops over a year, beginning in late 2014, each partner university hosting one workshop.

Research agenda

This collective effort aims to pursue an interdisciplinary dialogue initiated in the 1990s by researchers from environmental and security fields. The research perspectives that emerged over the last two decades have focused on several dimensions of the environment-security nexus. As the field matured, it enriched itself from different environmental conceptions and multiple security approaches. In their detailed analysis of this research agenda, Rita Floyd and Richard Matthew have identified and analysed the numerous ways the environment-security nexus has been studied. A first set of research discusses conflict and power relations over the use of environmental resources. They include works on the linkages between resource scarcity and violent conflict; the theses on the resource curse from environmental abundance conflict, and the combination of the distribution of power with a broader vision of bio-environmental relationships. The second set of theoretical discussions comes from the post-Cold war development of hyphened non-traditional securities, extending the environment-security nexus to human security, ecological security and critical approaches to environmental security.

Today, this multifaceted field of environmental security is still investigating new linkages of the environment-security nexus. Particularly, the security dimensions of environmental changes have recently been the subject of an increased attention. A special issue of Climatic Change on “Climate and security: evidence, emerging risks, and a new agenda”, another one of Geopolitics on “Rethinking Climate Change, Conflict and Security”, as well as of the Journal of Peace Research on “Climate change and conflict” are salient examples of these developments. Yet, the social sciences so far have insufficiently engaged with the issue.

Therefore, WES aims to foster a renewed engagement of the social sciences on these issues and explore the new dimensions that have irrigated the research agenda and public discourses on the environment-security nexus.

Each partner will hold a workshop to explore an aspect of the nexus:

  • Sciences Po: The Scarecrows of Climate Change: Security Discourses on Environmental Migration
  • University of Geneva: Securitization of environment
  • The Fletcher School: Hydropolitics and security
  • University of Economics in Bratislava: Natural resources and conflicts
  • Université Libre de Bruxelles: Don’t worry! We have it under control: Transnational experts securing environment and health