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Who is our environment and security expert?

Environmental Security Guest Lecturer: Nickolai Denisov

At the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) we have 18 thematic clusters including Human Security.

Dive in deeper with one of our course speakers, Mr Nickolai Denisov and learn more about our upcoming executive education course in Geneva on ‘Environment and Security’.

GCSP: Short Bio/ Tell us about yourself:

     Name: Nickolai Denisov

     Employer: Zoï Environment Network

     Education: PhD, MSc. (Moscow State University)

     Current job title: Senior Associate

     Contact information: nickolai.denisov@zoinet.org

GCSP: Why did you choose to enter this field?/What got you into this field?

Environment is the field in which I have been educated. I was initially inspired by the idea that nature really needs protection, or else nothing will be left for those who come after us. I have stayed in this field ever since.

The security dimension initially came up coincidentally through engagement with UNEP’s young Environment and Security initiative (ENVSEC) in the early 2000s. I gradually became more deeply interested in the conflict-environment interface and have remained so to-date. My main geographical focus is the EU (i.e. Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, parts of Middle East) and Central Asia; I have worked on global issues too.

GCSP: What is your role at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy?

I am an invited expert / lecturer.


GCSP: How do you see environment and security shaping the future?

High or low, the environment will stay on the policy agenda. With climate change becoming common topic and common threat, the security implications of environmental mismanagement will only grow in scale and recognition.


GCSP: What have you learnt from the participants in your courses? What is your biggest takeaway?

I particularly appreciate the mélange of soft environmental vs. hard security perspectives and backgrounds of course participants, this creates interesting synergetic thinking.


GCSP: What is the best piece of advice you were ever given?

“Live your life and fear no change” (Karl Jung)


GCSP: What’s the next challenge for environment and security?

Many, including bringing the environment back to national and international policy agendas; finding new ways to explain it to new generations of people and leaders, and new ways to address the risks where old ways no longer work; and dealing with the realities of the ‘fake news’ era.


GCSP: What’s coming up next in environment and security?

I will happily keep readers abreast. Please see contact information above.


GCSP: Why are you passionate about environment and security? Why does it make a difference for you personally or professionally?

Somehow linking the environment to security helps explain environment matters to people who are not yet ‘converted’ to the environmental cause or may not see it as their first priority.  This makes it possible to jointly seek trade-offs, negotiate solutions and hopefully make real-life progress so that both people and trees feel the difference.