Tackling environmental security threats in the Indian Ocean

Author name: 
David Brewster
The Interpreter

By David Brewster

A “Quad-Plus” could bring together regional expertise and resources to address issues of collective interest.

The explosion and fire on board a supertanker off Sri Lanka this month, following closely on last month’s disastrous oil spill in Mauritius, serve as a reminder that environmental security threats are front and centre of security concerns among many Indian Ocean states. This issue will become only more important with the environmental threats caused by climate change. But there is currently no effective mechanism for regional cooperation on environmental security problems. Just as it has done in the Pacific, Australia should work with like-minded states to establish collaborative mechanisms in the Indian Ocean.

The National Security College, with the support of the Department of Defence, is leading a two-year research project on Australia’s Indo-Pacific strategy in the Indian Ocean. As a part of this project, this paper advocates for Australia and like-minded nations in the Indian Ocean to collaborate on environmental security issues. This paper first appeared on the Lowy Institute’s ‘The Interpreter’ on 14 September 2020.

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