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Identifying synergies and trade-offs in the sustainability–security nexus: the case of the Israeli–Palestinian wastewater treatment regime

Itay Fischhendler, David Katz, Eran Feitelson
Hydrological sciences journal 2016 v.61 no.7 pp. 1358-1369
at-risk population, case studies, environmental hazards, infrastructure, wastewater, wastewater treatment, West Bank
The literature on environmental security often stresses the complementarity between sustainability and broader security goals. Less emphasis has been placed on possible trade-offs between security objectives and aspects of sustainability. This study examines the conditions under which these synergies and trade-offs are likely to occur, and how the trade-offs can be reconciled, especially during times of peacebuilding. As a case study, we analyse the effect of Israeli security concerns on environmental infrastructure designed to treat wastewater in the West Bank. This study identifies several sustainability–security trade-offs: (1) economic—in which security concerns raise costs of wastewater infrastructure, thereby crowding-out other potentially productive investments; (2) equity—in which security concerns result in disproportionate exposure of populations to environmental hazards; and (3) environmental—in which security concerns increase ecological footprints. Yet, our case study also indicates that both sides used a variety of creative measures to reconcile these trade-offs.