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Protecting people, planet and peace: shaping the future of the security sector

Protecting people, planet and peace shaping the future of the security sector

The need to better understand the current and potential contributions of the security sector to addressing climate and environmental risks led four members of DCAF’s International Partners Group to request a stocktaking study on the role of the security sector in responding to these risks. The primary objectives of the study were to:

  • Explore the role the security sector is currently playing in responding to climate change and environmental degradation;
  •  Identify opportunities, challenges, and entry points for future SSG/R programmes; and
  • Identify limitations and risks associated with security sector involvement in this space

This report is based on field work done in Brazil, the occupied Palestinian territory, the Philippines, and Sierra Leone, and provides a snapshot of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for international partners in the area of security and justice. The stocktaking study focused on two main areas in which security institutions already have a relevant legal mandate: disaster risk reduction and environmental protection, with an emphasis on responses to environmental crime. Additionally, it looked at the potential for peacebuilding and social cohesion dividends through exploring the role of the security sector in a space in which communities and the state collaborate for preventing, mitigating or responding to climate and environmental harm.

A mixed methods approach was applied, combining desk research with field research that included key informant interviews, focus group discussions and direct observation. The study included the perspectives of formal security and environmental institutions, civil society organizations, and communities to explore how national stakeholders and their international partners can realize the full potential of the security sector to contribute to disaster risk reduction, environmental protection, and climate change adaptation.

This report provides a summary of the main climate and environmental risks in each of the four contexts, with an emphasis on those which have the clearest impact on security, as well as the range of stakeholders, legislation, and international commitments which shape the work of the security sector. The report also summarizes key findings from the case studies and describes implications for SSG/R as well as priorities for future programmes.

The findings and recommendations describe the ways in which climate and environmental security are inherent dimensions of people-centred security. They emphasize the complex nature of working across sectoral boundaries and the need for approaches which better integrate security, environmental and development objectives. They also highlight the importance of including a wider range of stakeholders in future SSG/R programmes and developing a broader definition of what is required from the security sector to keep communities safe in a future shaped by climate change. The ability of security institutions to respond effectively to climate and environmental risks can directly affect community perceptions. Failure to protect communities from this broader spectrum of risks has long-term implications for social cohesion and the legitimacy of the state.

Download the executive summary

Country specific reports:
Occupied Palestinian Territory | Sierra Leone | Brazil


This description was excerpted from