Front page image: UK Mobility Reconnaissance Force in Helmand province. Helmandblog. This page: United Nations Photo.
United Nations Photo.
United Nations Photo.
US Coast Guard.

Sustainable Security

The central premise of a sustainable security approach is that we cannot successfully control all the consequences of insecurity (such as terrorism, crime or nuclear proliferation), but must work to resolve the causes. This programme deals with the likely long-term drivers of insecurity over the coming decades and examines how current policies can better address these underlying trends rather than treat their symptoms.

A ‘sustainable security’ approach prioritises the resolution of the interconnected underlying drivers of insecurity and conflict, with an emphasis on preventative rather than reactive strategies.

Current approaches to global security are characterised by the ‘control paradigm’: an approach based on the premise that insecurity can be controlled through military force or containment, thus maintaining the status quo. The central premise of a sustainable security approach is that we cannot successfully control all the consequences of insecurity, but must work to resolve the causes. In other words, fighting the symptoms will not work; we must instead cure the disease.

ORG identifies four interconnected trends that are most likely to lead to substantial global and regional instability, and large-scale loss of life, of a magnitude unmatched by other potential threats:

  • Climate change: Loss of infrastructure, resource scarcity and the mass displacement of peoples, leading to civil unrest, intercommunal violence and international instability.
  • Competition over resources: Competition for increasingly scarce resources – including food, water and energy – especially from unstable parts of the world.
  • Marginalisation of the majority world: Increasing socio-economic divisions and the political, economic and cultural marginalisation of the vast majority of the world’s population.
  • Global militarisation: The increased use of military force as a security measure and the further spread of military technologies (including CBRN weapons).

While there are many other factors that can threaten the security of humans around the world (such as radicalisation (often being a result of marginalisation), rapid increases in the global population, the shortcomings of current forms of global governance etc.), these four drivers represent something new. Never before has humanity faced a world as interconnected yet so socio-economically divided, where environmental limits are so apparent and where traditional approaches to war-fighting and the use of force are so counter-productive.

The programme aims to develop the sustainable security concept and promote it to a wide international audience, ensure that voices from the global South play a central role in its development, and define specific options for sustainable security policies. These aims are achieved via in-depth research, dialogues with analysts and decision makers and providing new avenues for creative thinking and discussion on the real threats to global security in the 21st century.

Staff

Richard Reeve

Richard Reeve is the Director of Oxford Research Group's (ORG) Sustainable Security Programme. He works across a wide range of defence and security issues and is responsible for the strategic...

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Caterina Bologni

Caterina Bologni is the Project Assistant for Remote Control, a project of the Network for Social Change, hosted at Oxford Research Group (ORG).

The project examines current developments in...

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Caroline Donnellan

Caroline Donnellan is the Manager of the Remote Control project of the Network for Social Change. The project is hosted by Oxford Research Group (ORG) and affiliated with its Sustainable Security...

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Esther Kersley

Esther Kersley is the Communications Assistant for Remote Control, a project of the Network for Social Change, hosted at Oxford Research Group (ORG). The project examines current developments in...

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Zoë Pelter

Zoë Pelter is the Research Officer of Oxford Research Group’s (ORG) Sustainable Security programme. She works on a number of projects across the programme, including Rethinking UK Defence and...

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Professor Paul Rogers

Paul Rogers is Oxford Research Group's (ORG) Global Security Consultant. He has worked in the field of international security, arms control and political violence for over 30 years.

...

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Advisors

Chris Abbott

Chris Abbott is Oxford Research Group's (ORG) Emeritus Deputy Director and Sustainable Security Programme Director. He is now a freelance Writer and Researcher and Executive Director of Open...

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Amitav Acharya

Amitav Acharya is Professor of International Relations at American University, Washington, DC. His books include: Reassessing Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (2007);The Age of Fear: Power...

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Mariano Aguirre

Mariano Aguirre is founding Director of the Norwegian Peacebuilding Centre (NOREF) founded to support peacebuilding efforts by networking a variety of governmental and non-governmental experts who...

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Professor Carolina Hernandez

Carolina G. Hernandez is currently Professor of Political Science at the University of the Philippines and the holder of its Carlos P. Romulo Professorial Chair in International Relations. She is...

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Isabel Hilton

Isabel Hilton is London based international journalist and broadcaster, and is Chief Executive of China Dialogue, the world's first fully bilingual website devoted to the environment. She began...

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Bassma Kodmani

Bassma Kodmani is the Executive Director of the Arab Reform Initiative. She is also senior adviser on international cooperation to the French national research council (CNRS). From 1999 to 2005 she...

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Laurie Nathan

Laurie Nathan is a visiting fellow at the University of Cape Town and the London School of Economics. He has served on the Carter Centre’s International Council for Conflict Resolution, the...

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Michael Renner

Michael Renner is a Senior Researcher at the Washington, DC-based Worldwatch Institute.  His work has mostly focused on the linkages between environment, resources, and conflict, post-disaster...

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Jürgen Trittin

Jürgen Trittin is a member of the German Bundestag, and is currently Deputy Chair of the Green Party's Policy Working Group on Defence and Security. From 1998-2005 he served as Federal...

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