SIPRI mourns the passing of former SIPRI expert Arthur H. Westing (United States), who died on 30 April 2020 at the age of 91.
Dr Elisabeth Sköns, SIPRI Associate Senior Fellow, said, ‘I remember Arthur as a person with such a warm and genuine world conscience. While I was a junior, during his time at SIPRI, he was an inspiring researcher with deep curiosity and always there to help with comments and moral support. There was always something new to learn with Arthur around.’
An ecologist by training, educated at Columbia and Yale universities, Arthur H. Westing was a member of the SIPRI research staff from 1975 until 1987. Through his work at SIPRI on the military impact on the environment, Arthur became known as an international authority and a pioneer in the field of environmental security. He was the Director of the project ‘Peace, Security and Environment’ (initially ‘Military Activities and the Human Environment’) funded by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
In his memoir ‘Incidents, gripes and reflections’, Arthur described his time at SIPRI as among ‘the most meaningful and satisfying periods of my professional career (…) It gave me the untrammeled opportunity to learn, grow, and flourish in a hitherto largely unexplored field of research, one of major interest to me and of growing importance to society. My educational and professional (experiential) background had provided a solid basis for this work, and SIPRI provided a scholar's dream to pursue it.’
Following his tenure at SIPRI, Arthur continued his research on the project ‘Peace, Security and Environment’ at the International Peace Research Institute in Oslo (PRIO). Arthur was also a Visiting Professor at the European Peace University in Austria and Ireland (1989–96); the Evangelical Academy Loccum in Germany (1994–2001); and at the University of Durham in England (1998–2001). He was an international environmental security consultant to various intergovernmental agencies such as the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), UN Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), World Bank, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); and to a number of non-governmental organizations such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
In honour of his memory, PRIO has published a tribute to Arthur H. Westing.
SIPRI published several volumes written by Arthur H. Westing such as Herbicides in War: The Long-term Ecological and Human Consequences (Taylor & Francis: 1984) and Weapons of Mass Destruction and the Environment (Taylor & Francis: 1977). Arthur has also edited various volumes such as Global Resources and International Conflict: Environmental Factors in Strategic Policy and Action (Oxford University Press: 1986); Explosive Remnants of War: Mitigating the Environmental Effects (Taylor & Francis: 1985) and Cultural Norms, War and the Environment (Oxford University Press: 1988).