Today, it is increasingly clear that linkages between the environment and security are powerful and important. Whether viewed through the lens of human security common to much of the development community or seen through the lens of instability and conflict characteristic of the traditional security community, environmental security has emerged as a central policy concern for countries across the world.

Policymakers often overlook the extent to which environmental stresses can undermine social and political stability, impede economic development, and generate conflict. Yet the effective governance, sound management, and sustainable use of natural resources are vital to human security, political stability, and conflict prevention. Environmental threats—or the misuse and abuse of resources—weaken economies, impoverish populations, and increase the risk of political strife and violent conflict. Climate change is increasing these environmental stresses and adding to the potential for conflict in unstable regions of the developing world.