Resource Security Watch - No. 9

November 28, 2017

A new study by the Asian Development Bank has succinctly outlined the problem of food security now plaguing the nation of Pakistan. The study, entitled "Food Insecurity in Asia: Why Institutions Matter," notes that while the country produces a sufficient supply of food items, governance issues dictate that actual food security is low, leading to significant issues with malnutrition among Pakistani citizens. The report further warns that, without improvements in governance, malnutrition and hunger will worsen in the future and hinder economic growth. (Karachi
Dawn, October 7, 2017)

[EDITORS' NOTE: To counteract this trend, Pakistan needs a broad variety of reforms, including fighting corruption, promoting sustainability, and address the ballooning population and poverty growth rates. Food security will depend on getting the food that Pakistan produces to its people and making that food affordable and available to the poor. But, as with many of Pakistan's challenges, the political will to address these problems has been in short supply, and substantial food and water security crises loom in coming years.]

Illegal miners have set fire to two offices of Brazilian government watchdog organizations in retaliation for a recent effort by the government to limit illegal mining in remote parts of the Amazon rainforest. A government task force burned around 30 boats, worth some $20,000 each, that the miners used to navigate the Amazon River. Illegal miners work deep in the rainforest, using outdated and destructive techniques to extract gold. These techniques poison the river with mercury and other toxic chemicals and cause extreme environmental damage. Similar problems exist elsewhere in South America, including in Peru, where gold mining is now a larger source of illegal income than growing coca for cocaine production. Moreover, illegal mining is connected to other forms of crime, such as prostitution, human trafficking, smuggling, and tax evasion. Authorities in Brazilia have deployed police and military security forces to the region in response. (
Reuters, October 29, 2017)

Scientists at the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) say that global concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), a dangerous greenhouse gas, surged in 2016. Last year, atmospheric CO2 levels increased by 50% more than average annual increases charted over the past ten years. Scientists at the WMO say that the increase - from 400 parts per million (ppm) to 403.3ppm - is the largest recorded in the past three decades. The previous record was set in 1997-1998, an El Nino year, and was only an increase of 2.7ppm. In 1990, the average C02 concentration in Earth's atmosphere was approximately 366 ppm, and in 2007, CO2 concentration had reached approximately 386 ppm. The WMO also reported that methane emissions, another important contributor to global warming, also outpaced those of previous years. While some of the increase is attributable to El Nino, scientists say that the general upward trend in CO2 emissions largely results from human activity and use of fossil fuels. (
BBC, October 30, 2017)

ROSATOM, Russia's state-owned nuclear firm, is broadening its international activities. The Kremlin-directed concern is currently building 19 nuclear reactors around the world, one of which will be located in Ostrovets, Belarus, just 12 miles from Lithuania. Lithuanian officials have strongly opposed the project, citing safety and environmental concerns. However, they also fear that the plant could serve as a spearhead of sorts in a Russian attempt to dominate the European energy market using a new commodity - especially as Baltic and Eastern European countries begin in earnest to attempt to lessen their dependency on Russian-origin natural gas. (
Foreign Policy, October 31, 2017)

Related Categories: Latin America; Russia; Energy Security; Southeast Asia; Baltics

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