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Depoliticisation as a securitising move: the case of the United Nations Environment Programme

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 June 2018

Lucile Maertens*
Affiliation:
University of Lausanne; CERI-SciencesPo
*
*Corresponding author. Email: lucile.maertens@unil.ch

Abstract

Created in 1972, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has a normative mandate to promote the protection of the environment at the international level. However, since 1999, the organisation has been conducting field assessments in postconflict situations and addressing the role of natural resources in conflict, framing the environment as a security issue. To do so, the programme insists on its neutrality as a technical and ‘apolitical’ actor within the UN system. Considering depoliticisation as a political act, this article unpacks the concrete practices by which international organisations (IOs) enact depoliticisation. It further argues that IOs can perform securitising moves through practices and techniques presented as outside of the political realm. It draws upon the recent work on depoliticisation at the international level and reinforces studies considering the links between (de)politicisation and securitisation.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© British International Studies Association 2018 

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References

1 At the end of 2016, the organisation changed its name to ‘UN Environment’. However, it is still mostly known under the acronym of UNEP.

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