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Building Resilience for Peace: Water, Security, and Strategic Interests in Mindanao, Philippines

The Philippines faces a breadth of social and environmental challenges that threaten its economic and political stability. A long history of violent conflict stemming from ethnic, religious, and political tensions is further complicated by changing weather patterns that cause severe drought and damaging storms. Millions of people in Mindanao have been displaced by violence and extreme weather events, and their migration from rural areas leaves room for the expansion of terrorist groups that threaten regional stability. The United States currently has strong trade and cultural ties to the Philippines, and U.S. Pacific Command operates military facilities on the islands. This chapter examines the stakes for U.S. interests in Mindanao, and recommends a security approach that combines defense, diplomacy, and development efforts to promote improved governance, social stability, and climate resilience.