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Environmental Security and Governance in the Americas

Policy Papers, Forthcoming

16 Pages Posted: 24 Dec 2007  

Eric Dannenmaier

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law


This was prepared as a white paper for heads of state and delegations preparing for the 34-state Summit of the Americas held in 2001 in Quebec City. It argues that certain environmental challenges, such as climate change, natural disaster vulnerability, and the impact of development on resource availability, should be seen as 'non-traditional' security threats to states in the Inter-American system. The paper suggests that environmental security is not a new regional issue, but it has new urgency - pointing to natural disasters that taxed governments and economies heavily, but noting that environmental security concerns go well beyond disaster mitigation. Environmental challenges raise concerns for the health, well being and economic viability of communities in the region - those directly affected, and those called upon to respond. It notes that some progress has been made at a regional level, and some governments have begun to consider environmental issues in strategic planning. Yet no deliberate effort contemplates the range of environmental security challenges facing the region, or seeks to devise a response. Given the increasing importance of these challenges, and their impact on populations, economies and resources, the paper examines the emerging concept of environmental security and its particular relevance for the Western Hemisphere. It outlines action to date and calls for strategic interdisciplinary response in the near term. At the heart of meaningful progress is coordination among environmental, economic and defense institutions to analyze potential threats and address priority concerns. The paper urges policy makers setting the agenda for the Quebec City Summit to heed environmental security concerns and consider an appropriate response within the context of the Summit agenda.

Keywords: Environmental Law, Security, Climate Change, Environmental Security, Natural Disasters

Suggested Citation

Dannenmaier, Eric, Environmental Security and Governance in the Americas. Available at SSRN:

Eric Dannenmaier (Contact Author)

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law ( email )

530 West New York Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202
United States


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