In this talk for the Food Systems Academy, Paul Rogers puts the challenges of transforming food systems in a global, human security context. He argues that food is at the centre of the third great transition humankind has to go through.
Control of water, including navigation rights, resource extraction and the exploitation of shared watercourses is at the heart of today’s geopolitical tensions in Asia. China’s recent actions in the South China Sea and Himalayas have given rise to further—and at times violent—conflict over the region’s natural resources. So will water insecurity lead to greater partnership in Asia? Or will it lead to a revival of China’s traditional sense of regional dominance and undercut efforts to build a rules-based approach to growing resource conflicts?
REDD forestry efforts don’t pay enough attention to their influence on local conflict dynamics. For REDD+ to be an effective mechanism to curb deforestation and strengthen peace opportunities, it has to pay more attention to pre-existing land and forest conflicts linked to tenure, take into account the interests of the local communities and be more sensitive to the local context
Tackling South African water insecurity will require addressing the technical deficiencies, governance gaps and social inequality that are currently having a dangerous and environmentally devastating impact. The links between environmental health and socio-political stability are clear in South Africa, where there has been an exponential increase in violent protests over poor or privatized service delivery, social marginalization, and unequal access to water. South Africa must act to solidify the links between resilient societies and resilient ecosystems.
2014 is a time for looking backwards and forwards. While the dynamics of the war on terror are still very much in play, the withdrawal from Afghanistan and the re-escalation of violence in Iraq and Libya present an opportune context for sincere reflections on the disastrous consequences of war without borders. Such inquiry needs to look forward too, to the implications of the current administration’s ‘war-lite’ and the unstoppable proliferation of remote control technologies.
As the long running tensions over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea appear to be coming to a head, the time for thinking through the alternatives to the militarisation of this conflict seems to be well and truly upon us.
Arctic security remains wedded to traditional, state-centric military threats despite the fact that the threat of outright conflict is as remote as the farthest reaches of the Arctic region itself. These approaches are predictable, but they will contribute little to alleviating the complex, interrelated, and underlying drivers of insecurity in the Arctic region. Cameron Harrington argues that if our understanding of both Arctic security and the Arctic environment continues to be reduced to the international scramble for untapped resources and for newly opened “shipping lanes”, it is unlikely that the hugely alarming and damaging environmental effects of climate change will ever be truly overcome.
The Bay of Bengal is uniquely vulnerable to a changing climate because of a combination of rising sea levels, changing weather patterns, and uncertain transboundary river flows. These problems combine with already existing social problems like religious strife, poverty, political uncertainty, high population density, and rapid urbanization to create a very dangerous cocktail of already security threats. Andrew Holland argues that foresight about its impacts can help the region’s leaders work together to solve a problem that knows no boundaries.
“As the price of oil goes down, the pace of freedom goes up… As the price of oil goes up, the pace of freedom goes down…” So says New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who argues that the first law of ‘petropolitics’ is that the price of oil and the pace of freedom are inversely correlated in countries “totally dependent on oil” for economic growth. However, the correlation between recent oil price spikes and anti-authoritarian action – particularly in the Arab Spring – challenges this assessment. But if this pattern of change is to continue, Western states must curb their hypocritical dependence on authoritarian oil-exporting governments by developing more sustainable sources of energy.
General volatility in financial markets – fuelled by irresponsible lending and trading practices, as well as evidence of market manipulation – have had an effect on oil prices. Although the specific effects of the finance sector on oil prices requires further investigation, we can already understand that a sustainable and secure future will require the development of a wider energy mix to meet rising demand. To this end, more sustainable financial systems must be developed to service the real needs of citizens