A broader concept of security is needed for a clearer understanding of the analysis of complex crises and conflict situations. A new report examines the area of intersection between conventional defence and security policies, sustainable development and security combined with natural resource constraints, climate change and environmental degradation.
Today’s increasingly complex environment has inspired a number of research scientists at FOI to wonder what an integrated approach to security analysis might look like. By an integrated approach they mean the adoption of a broader concept of security (spanning theory, methods, concepts and techniques) to give clearer understanding and better analysis. FOI, with its background in traditional security research, therefore arranged a conference in conjunction with scientists from Stockholm Environment Institute, SEI, with experience in climate and natural resource research. Together the conference participants focused, for example, on dam building on the Nile in order to understand the dynamic between conventional “hard” security and so-called “soft” security such as sustainable development.
“In the context of natural resource constraints, climate change and environmental degradation we face a new set of threats that go beyond the traditional inter-State armed conflicts. It is important to understand how these trends impact on security and how they can interact with each other. There is a need for analysis devoted to closer consideration of a common analytical approach in both development and security research in order to explore possible future outcomes and to identify different alternatives,” says Mikael Eriksson, Deputy Research Director at FOI.
The report “Integrating sustainable development and security: An analytical approach with examples from the Middle East and North Africa, the Arctic and Central Asia” presents an integrated analytical strategy for improving development outcomes through an inclusive strategic scenario-driven approach. The approach includes three steps: understanding the broader security, socio-economic and environmental context, developing scenarios through a participatory process, and appraising various options for sustainable development.
“The report may be of interest to those involved with defence and foreign aid with development perspectives. Here they can take some of the ideas we discussed about how to better understand and carry out a deeper analysis of the security policy challenges both from a short-term and a longer-term perspective. At the conference with SEI we discussed the possibility of designing an analytical approach and this report can be seen as complementing a wider body of analytical material that we have at FOI,” says Mikael Eriksson.