Environmental problems that amplify regional security issues are often multifaceted, especially across national boundaries. Obtaining a comprehensive understanding of the natural resource, energy, and security issues facing a region is not fast or easy.
Fortunately, the Environment and Security Initiative
(ENVSEC) has created highly informative, easy-to-understand maps
depicting environmental, health, population, and security issues in critical regions.
Published with assistance from the United Nations GRID-Arendal
, these maps offer policymakers and the public a snapshot of the complex topography of environmental security hotspots in Central Asia
, Eastern Europe
, Southeastern Europe
, and the Southern Caucasus
Some that caught our eye:
• Environmental Issues in the Northern Caspian Sea: Overlaying environmental areas and energy production zones, this map finds hydrocarbon pollution in sturgeon spawning grounds, seal habitats in oil and gas fields, and energy production centers and waste disposal sites in flood zones.
• Water Withdrawal and Availability in the Aral Sea Basin: Simple and direct, this combination map and graph contrasts water usage with availability in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan—which stand in stark comparison to the excess water resources of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
• Environment and Security Issues in Belarus: In addition to noting the parts of the country with poor water quality and potassium mining, the map also delineates wildfires that occurred in areas contaminated by the Chernobyl explosion, thus threatening downwind populations.
Maps: Illustrations courtesy of the Environment & Security Initiative.