Projects & Research

IEDS strives to leverage our geographic location with the core competencies which exist at the University of Vermont and its partners. Our three projects and research themes have been chosen to ensure the originality of our work and its contribution to our mission:

Boundaries in physical and cognitive space can be defining themes of diplomacy.  IEDS explores how human territoriality can be constructively configured so geopolitical boundaries work within ecological principles.

Global climate change is perhaps the biggest threat humanity has faced, and time is quickly running out to prevent it from irrevocably changing our world. At IEDS, we believe that bold, cooperative action on a global scale is needed to solve this crisis, which is why we engage in climate diplomacy.

In complex socio-ecological systems, the nexus of Food-Energy-Water (FEW) Security is essential to creating resilient communities and countries, and a resilient world in the face of an increasingly challenging global problems. FEW security is essential for sustainable development, as all being able to access all three resources (food, energy, water) is crucial for human well-being. Further, making sure these resources are diverse, resilient, and adaptable is vital for security concerns as the world becomes increasingly volatile due to climate change, global political tensions, conflicts, and declining biodiversity.

Public policy has often been polarized between “hawks” and doves”, with each side dismissing the other’s motives and methods.  IEDS works to reconcile these differences by promoting a practically implementable vision of peace.

Ensuring everyone can access clean, safe, and drinkable water is an essential right. In the light of an increasingly complex world where global climatic patterns are shifting the distribution of water, environmental deterioration, and political instability all threaten people’s ability to access water. Further, geopolitical tensions and conflict across transboundary water bodies can prevent populations access to safe and plentiful water. At IEDS, we aim to mitigate these transboundary water conflicts through water diplomacy.

We believe the best way to enact water diplomacy is through convening diverse stakeholders and establishing mutual trust and cooperation framed by the thing we all care about: water. Other avenues of water diplomacy include grassroots citizen-science based water monitoring to obtain a trusted data source and empower local communities to take charge in the stewardship of this essential resource.