Science for Peace and Security :
environmental security

As outlined in the 1999 Strategic Concept, NATO plays a key role in identifying and addressing current and emerging security challenges. The link between the environment and our security is rapidly becoming a major political issue for governments across the globe.

Environmental degradation as a result of depletion of natural resources, transboundary issues arising from shared water sources, pollution, etc., can lead ultimately to regional tensions and violence. Through the SPS Programme, NATO nations are helping Partner and Mediterranean Dialogue countries deal with the issue of environmental security through scientific cooperation that is delivering concrete results.

How did it evolve?

The SPS Programme fosters collaboration between NATO nations and Partner and Mediterranean Dialogue countries to help address their security issues and provide solutions. At the same time such cooperation enhances trust and confidence and improves capacity building, with the overarching aim of mitigating conflict and contributing to sustainable peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic region.

Especially in a time when environmental security and human development are directly linked to the basic issues of nutrition and health, the SPS Programme addresses this issue by funding projects covering a wide range of activities. Sub-elements of the environmental security area include water resources management, modeling sustainable consumption (e.g. food, energy, materials), preventing conflicts in relation to scarcity of resources, and reducing the environmental impact of military activities.

Working with other organizations

As well as working with a broad network of experts within NATO, Partner and Mediterranean Dialogue countries, the SPS Programme extends this cooperation through ongoing collaboration with other international bodies such as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Environmental Security Initiative - more information at

“The whole notion of security as traditionally understood – in terms of political and military threats to national sovereignty – must be expanded to include the growing impact of environmental stress – locally, nationally, regionally and globally”. UN World Commission on Environment and Development (1987)
  1. The ENVSEC Initiative was established in 2003 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). NATO became an associate member in 2004, through its Public Diplomacy Division. Recently, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Regional Environment Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC) joined.