The Rita Hauser Annual Event

Global Resources, the U.S. Economy, and National Security

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and Conservation International (CI) cosponsored a day-long symposium on March 20, 2013. The symposium, held in CFR's Washington, DC, office, brought together twenty-three experts from government, private industry, academia, and the non-profit sector to lead discussions during seven panels about the links between environmental issues, global resources, and national security before a diverse audience that included private sector leaders, government officials, researchers, and defense experts. Videos from the symposium can be viewed below. This symposium was made possible by the generous support of the Hauser Foundation.

Session 1: A Conversation with Kerri-Ann Jones


Kerri-Ann Jones, in conversation with James M. Lindsay, discussed the work that the State Department is doing internationally to aid conservation efforts, focusing on the technical and scientific elements underpinning the United States' engagement with other countries on natural resource issues. 

Session 2: Natural Capital: Are Resources Scarce or Sustainable?


Blake Clayton, Geoff Dabelko, and Greg Stone discussed with Juliet Eilperin using natural capital accounting and valuing ecosystem services to promote sustainable management of natural resources. 

Session 3: Scarcity and Security in Africa


Jendayi Frazer, Juergen Voegele, and Gary Weir discussed with Harry Broadman the degree of scarcity and the potential relationship with security in Africa, who the operative actors are in recognizing and resolving the problems, and what the solutions might be. 

Session 4: A Conversation with Richard L. Engel


Richard L. Engel gave the lunch keynote address, in conversation with Jamie McIntyre. Engel explained that the intelligence community considers U.S. national power to be composed of four main elements: military might, economic prowess, geopolitical strength, and social cohesion. Engel stressed that the intelligence community regards anything that degrades those elements to be a national security issue.

Session 5: Government Efforts to Promote Conservation and Sustainability: Are They Working?


Stewart Patrick, Tebelelo Seretse, and Katherine Sierra discussed with Richard Harris multilateral and global efforts to address climate change. The panel reviewed progress and areas where efforts have fallen short. 

Session 6: Conservation and Sustainability: The Role of the Private Sector


Donna A. Harman, Beth Keck, and David T. Perry discussed with Theodore Roosevelt IV efforts taken by their respective organizations to achieve environmental and sustainability goals along their global supply chains, citing social and ethical imperatives as primary drivers.

Session 7: Direct Connection: Global Resources, the U.S. Economy, and National Security


Following a short film introduced by Jill Sigal, Harrison Ford, Richard N. Haass, and Peter Seligmann discussed the concept of sustainability as an integrated issue that encompasses economic, social, and environmental concerns, emphasizing that natural resource issues need to become more mainstream.


Summary Report: Global Resources, the U.S. Economy,  and National Security