A New CSIS Initiative on Ocean Health and Global Security
(From The Center for Strategic and International Studies)
The Stephenson Ocean Security Project (SOS) is focused on the links between ocean health and global security. The Project will highlight how marine resource disputes drive instability in key regions of the globe and the ways that climate change is exacerbating this challenge through degraded ecosystems and the opening of new areas to potential exploitation. Below are some excerpts from the event’s opening remarks:
WHITLEY SAUMWEBER: […] You know, the concept of sustainability is one that we most often hear about when we’re thinking about conservation or development. It’s a resource issue. It’s the idea that we need to better manage what we have today to make sure that it’s here for tomorrow. In the world of marine policy, where my background is primarily, we often think about these terms in, say, improving fisheries management, preserving coral reefs or perhaps developing marine parks. But the truth is that the concept is really much more vital than that. In a world of change, in a world that’s ever more crowded and a world that is ever more competitive, sustainability needs to be at the core of our national, foreign and security policies in a way that I don’t think it has been to date.
I’m going to borrow a phrase from my friend Admiral Jon White, who I think is here in the audience, the concept of ocean security. This is the melding of what we might call traditional concepts of maritime security with the principles of conservation and sustainable use of marine resources. And crucially, from a strategic perspective you can’t have one without the other. Over the long term, unless you’re thinking about sustainability you are not secure in the maritime sphere. So it’s not just a conservation solution, but a vital element of soft power and a critical alternative to the more exploitive path.