Politics of Resource Management

Resources

As oxygen is to human body, a natural resource is to human existence. Resources and its management has been drastically altered through politics. It has become a tool of politics.

Natural Resource Management is the new – day hot topic for conducting studies, programs, seminars in order to use resources in a sustainable and rightly channelised manner. But, the questions here to ponder over is that, whether these are self – interested efforts or honest efforts for the right reasons and protection of our dearest and only home – Earth. At the predictable end, our most liked solution is management of not countries specific resources but the planet as one entire fraternity.

The following paper presentation will address will some of the most essential topics. The meaning of resource management, types of resources, climate change, a broad view of management. Primarily, it will move around the issue of the politics within the aegis of global politics and related case studies.

  MEANING AND NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

Natural resources are everywhere on our blue and green planet  – around our coasts, along our rivers and dynamic oceans, on our farms and in our cities and well-structured towns. In most basic terms, natural resources include our land, soil, water, plants, animals, minerals and air. Natural Resource Management (NRM) is about managing our natural resources to ensure environmental, social and economic sustainability for both present and future generations in accordance with the principles of Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD).

Natural Resource Management is taking care of your resources to start with the basics and it is extremely essential as we need it to sustain ourselves. These resources are needed to be managed because it has a serious impact on our present and future generations and natural resource management also has long term implications and consequences. Primary producers and first base producers, natural resource management means taking into account the climate, soils, water, vegetation and organisms when making decisions about the land they manage. The goal is sustainability – balancing social (people and communities), economic (money and jobs) and environmental (land, water, air and living things) factors to make sure that our children and grandchildren can equally benefit from our natural resources.

Our social, economic and environmental and whole round wellbeing depends on the sustainable management and nurturing of natural resources. In fact, in many instances, the aim is to leave a way better environment for people in the future than what we have today and what we are living in today! It’s possible to see this happen, with modern science and research and scientific experiments and adopting a number of novel primary production techniques.

Every millisecond of our lives we bring into utilization the resources that nature provides us with. We breathe the air that engulfs our planet. We consume plants and other living species. We use vegetation for food and houses! We inhibit houses made of woods which was once a long and strong tree, brick that was once a dough of clay, steel that was once minerals in the earth. We drink water which is showered on us by the gods and through diversified systems of irrigation we bring into right use this water resource!! To quote further, we even use energy provided by coal or oil (most sought after resource globally) or the sun (Vitamin D)!

As a child depends on his nurturers for the basic resources of growth and development, similarly we depend on nature for all our fundamental resources – which is inclusive of warmth, water, air, shelter and the likes of it, yet only a handful of people realise it’s worth within the framework of a conscious mind.

If we dream to be a sustainably sound and balanced society then we have to realize the worth of the resources and the impacts our human lives is having on the ‘’Mother Nature’’. To support the prior statement, we humans lead a life so imbalanced and sedentary that we are leading to a climate change known as Anthropogenic Climate Change.

We, members of mankind, need to make decisions and take steps to reduce our impact so that the natural systems we are an essential factor of can go on and in turn even our own lives can proceed without any hindrances. Experts and primary producers are teaming up to manage our soil, water, vegetation and biodiversity so that we have enough food to eat, fibre to use and an unaltered planet to reside in.

A way to achieve this is to recognize that as consumers we have tremendous power in deciding how nature is treated. Rather than purchasing something for its brand name or price, we can ask ourselves, ‘Was this item produced keeping the environment in mind, or with little to no impact on the environment?’ To be able to answer this food for thought query we need to know a lot more about the production method, we need more first hand and secondary data information so that we can make informed consumption choices that benefit, and  not jeoparadise, the resources nature provides.

Buying first hand from producers without any involvement of a middle man is another way consumers can make informed choices about their food and meals. Local food systems such as farmers’ markets, community-supported agriculture and farm retail outlets bring consumers in direct contact with producers. Farmers can explain how the food is grown, and consumers can provide feeds about what they like or do not like. From producers to consumers, natural resource management is everyone’s business and matter.

The concept of NRM is handled by the Natural resources managers, sometimes referred to as conservation scientists or foresters, create programs to develop and protect rangelands, forests and wetlands. Their work involves conserving and restoring natural systems and environmental settings, while taking into account economic goals and environmental policies. They may focus on protecting public lands, like national and state parks, or advising private landowners on the best ways to manage property. These managers may also weigh in on important issues, like proper methods for erosion control and the implementation of controlled burns to manage wildfires.

CURRENT INITIATIVES TO MANAGE RESOURCE MANAGEMENT POLITICS

  • Brundtland Commission – It is officially known as the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED). The mission of Brundtland Commission is to unite countries and bring them together to pursue Sustainable Development as a single unit. The Honourable Chairman of the Commission, Gro Harlem Brundtland, was appointed by Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, former Secretary General of the United Nations, in December 1983. At that time, the UN General Assembly realised that there was a heavy deterioration and deceleration of the human environment and it’s natural resources. To rally countries to work and pursue sustainable development together, the UN decided to establish the Brundtland Commission. Gro Harlem Brundtland was the former Prime Minister of Norway (Russia) and was chosen due to her extremely strong background in the sciences and public health field of study. The Brundtland Commission officially dissolved in December 1987 after releasing Our Common Future, also known as the Brundtland Report, in October 1987, a document which coined, and defined the meaning of the term “Sustainable Development”. Sustainable development refers to the wise and judicious utilisation of resources so that enough is save for the future generations. As Gandhi ji, rightly pointed there is enough for everyone’s need but not for everyone’s greed. Our Hindu Vedas also encouraged the concept of ‘’Sustainable Development’’. Also, Our Common Future won the University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award in the year 1991. The organization “Center for Our Common Future” was started in April 1988 to take the place of the Commission.

 

  • WCS provides technical advice and guidance to Government law enforcement staff at a number of project sites. Law enforcement serves to prevent forest crime, such as the illegal clearance of forests and the illegal poaching of wildlife, as well as securing and protecting forest areas for the indigenous human population that have a valid and a legit claim to the land. These staff are drawn from very powerful agencies such as the Forestry Administration, the Ministry of Environment, the Army and the Military Police.

 

  • The Australian Government has invested in a wide range of activities under its natural resource management programs and initiatives including the Caring for our Country initiative, the National Action Plan on Salinity and Water Quality, Natural Heritage Trust, National Landcare Program, and Defeating the Weeds Menace. These have variously produced a range of information products – including publications, images, audio-visual products, maps and databases – that are currently stored in a variety of widely dispersed locations and areas. The Australian Government Land and Coasts team has created a digital archive to manage these information outputs to ensure that the information produced as a result of Australian Government investments is readily discoverable and publicly accessible over an extended time period. The initial focus is on publications but the archive has the capability of storing a wide range of digital formats. The content of the repository will be publicly exposed as NRM knowledge online, an integrated knowledge management and discovery tool for information products related to primary production and NRM related research and other management activities. This policy has been created to give direction and focus for the addition of material, the development of which has been funded by the Australian government, into the NRM knowledge online digital archive. It is designed to be of assistance to both case managers and fund recipients (regional organisations, land managers, researchers and other funded persons or organisations). The NRM knowledge online digital archive provides both a reference and an archival service including full text retrieval. It has been developed to be compliant with the Open Archives Initiative interoperability standards (Open Archives Initiative) and to deliver on the Australian Government’s commitment to providing open access to publicly funded information and knowledge. The items for inclusion in the NRM knowledge online digital archive are publicly available print and the electronic format documents reporting on or derived from biodiversity conservation activities, land management activities, biophysical, social and economic research and policy activities and related initiatives supported by Australian Government natural resource management.

 POLITICS THAT GOES AROUND RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

Behind every important aspect like environment, health, food, poverty, nuclear weapons the various internationally legitimised and popular governments have their opinion and involvement. The situation is no different for environments and its associated concepts. Natural Resource Management has been eyed by big economies like USA, Russia and China. Middle east regions were exploited by countries like United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Spain for the very rich resource ‘’Oil’’ in the name of installing the most liked form of government – Democracy so that the Iraqi people are freed and to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and to stop Saddam Hussain’s support for terrorism. This lead to cleaning of the middle east regions resource base and also a genocide and mass killings. One of the most prominent leaders of the middle east Saddam Hussain was also eventually killed after being kept in captivity. This is one case study associated with the concept of Natural Resource Management which shows that governments use their political tactics as a tool to win over certain kind of natural resources which gives their economy and country a push and a boost.

As I move further, I would like to quote a World Bank project on NRM which addresses the political economy (PE) of natural resource management in third world countries like Nigeria and Ghana. The World Bank is well aware of the variation in developing countries’ ability to draw economic benefits from the exploitation of natural resources for the societies at a large or a massive scale. What we have less information and knowledge about is the importance and significance of country-specific determinants such as the specific political economy behind natural resource management. Most producers of non-renewable resources (Coal, natural gas and oil) have significant potential for improved and faster growth through improved regulation of specific sectors, industries and better revenue management. The project aims at identifying and understanding the challenges in the regulation of industries as well as factors that may explain why returns from the sectors are below their potential and caliber. The purpose is to give the development community a better understanding of country-specific challenges behind natural resource management (NRM) – and thereby develop more tailor-made policy initiatives and efforts. The project is being carried out in six African countries which are inclusive of: Nigeria, Ghana, Niger, DRC, Guinea, and Mauritania. It is financed in its total by the World Bank (An internationally recognized bank). CMI is responsible for the studies in Ghana and Nigeria, and the research is carried out in collaboration and cooperation with local country specialists and highly trained experts.

Politics, in a nut shell, should only have involvement to the level and extent wherein the damage to the international community and the environment and along with its resources is not committed. Politics is not a tool but a blessing to improve the different global issues which need immediate addressing. Just to exemplify, extinction of resources to climate change. Also, countries should have relations for goods exchange in a manner wherein and, also NRM is a savior and safeguard in order to save the resources which are coming to an end and which are endangered. I conclude, by visioning “Natural Resource Management as a boon rather than a bane if it is used in a right direction and in a highly channelised manner. More and more countries should take up the concept of NRM and implement it for the global good, peace and harmony.

 

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Communalism in India

110714_1601_Communalism101A theory opposed to secularism. A political strategy opposed to nationalism. A divisive force, that creates alienation of one community with the rest of the  communities. Communalism is what is being talked about here!!

Prime Minister Pandit. Jawaharlal Nehru asserted that communalism poses the greatest danger for India. Not so much for external aggression. During external aggression, we unite under the tag of “Indians”. Communalism, whereas, divides the Indians. Communalism is a deadly enemy. Anyone who loves India will hate communalism, but who hates India will love communalism.

India has had a beautiful history of respect and compassion towards all religions. Presently, the situation seems to be in stark contrast with the legendary stories of “respect for religions” contained in the Indian history. Currently, it seems the 21st century India is soaked in the ideas, and ground realities of communalism. And, this can be rather observed through killings, genocides, deaths, and massacres in the name of caste, creed, religion, dharma, and vigilantism.

The usage of the phrase a “beautiful history” connotes, that in a country as glorious as India, where Mughal ruler “Akbar” (a Muslim) removed the “Jaziya” (a tax levied on Hindu pilgrims). This act of his is a symbol of respect towards Hinduism. And, where Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj (a Hindu ruler) recruited Muslim soldiers in his army and never destroyed rather preserved mosques. Shivaji showed respect towards all religions. In a country where the ideologies of Vasudeva Kutumba “one world one family” and “Atithi Devo Bhava” are followed where whoever came to “Bharat” we bowed down and with modesty welcomed every guest. We gave every foreigner a place in our hearts, and let them live in our nation with their traditions and values. In a country, with this track – record incidents such as the infamous Godhra Riots, 1984 anti – Sikh riots, 1987 Meerut riots, lynching in the name of religious values are matters of great collective shame! And, to fight in the name of caste, religion, jati, and dharma is a pure disgrace to the tolerant past we hold.

To elucidate on the above riots and the stories behind them, the hidden secrets behind them!! Here, lie the stories… The year of 2002, 27th February morning witnessed the burning of train Sabarmati Express, Godhra, Gujarat which led to the demise of 58 Hindu pilgrims, karsevaks returning from Ayodhya is cited as having instigated the violence!! This was a 3- day long catastrophic and savage inter-communal riot. In this mayhem, all in all, 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus lost their lives to a state burning with hatred for religions. If this was not enough to swallow, the unforgotten chapter of Sikh- Riots will give you yet another heart attack. The 1984 Sikh Riots was a genocide of Sikhs, by anti – Sikh mobs on the assassination of former Prime Minister and, Iron Lady – Indira Gandhi.

Communalism, a foe to the healthy development of society took its baby steps in India with the coming of the British Regime. British followed the divide and rule policy, to sustain their rule and to strengthen the roots of communalism in India. Secondly, it was nurtured by various forces post – independence for personal benefit. Even, the largest migration in the world, i.e. the partition of India could not solve the problem of communalism. Pluralism, religious differences are a few other reasons included for the growth of communalism in India.

If there is a problem, there is a solution indeed. And, there ought to be a solution to the grave problem of “communalism”. Surprisingly, there is not one but a number of preventive and positive solutions to the pertaining evil of “communalism”. The list is inclusive of, banning of communal organisations, teaching people to keep religion and politics separately, education having a positive orientation, a joint celebration of festivals and law and order machinery should be more active. Creative thoughts like New India programme by the Modi Government, under the aegis of which lies eradication of “Casteism in India” are dreams which need to be continuously “lit” in our hearts and determinations like a firelight and we need to take these dreams forward through our good deeds and willpower. The article “Annihilation of caste system” by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar correctly points out the eradication of the religious foundations on which caste system has being founded”. There is no sense, utterly no sense in having a system which demoralizes, discriminates, generates inferiority complex and creates a bias. Provided, the caste system would have functioned on the values of “all equals” and “no work, inferior to the other”, “accolades were given according to merit and potential” and “equal respect for every caste” then the picture would have been different. The structure of the caste system, unfortunately, pushes the society towards ignorance, cruelty, and an idea of “self-superiority”. Hence, it should be at any cost removed from the roots.

Conclusively, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj envisioned Swaraj (Freedom), Hindu Swaraj rather i.e. independence from foreign rulers, especially the Mughals. Today, Swaraj would strongly mean having respect, knowledge, and love for religions other than our own and to understand that “Dharma” never teaches destruction. Swaraj would mean to unite together and let nothing divide us. No external aggression, no politician, no political propaganda as our real strength lies in our unity. No one would dare to eye a lot of 120 crores if they have the feeling of unity in their hearts and minds. Moreover,  good and honest leaders, a sensible polity will bring us all together. Never will they separate us. This thought breathes in the 42nd Amendment of the Indian Constitution which incorporates the term “secular” in the Preamble of India. Article 25 again holds the backbone of this thought, i.e. religious rights provided to all in India. The twin fold concepts have been given to us by our great leaders and honest politicians who understand the worth of unity. We must unite together, with the bond of respect, awareness, and love in our hearts, souls, and minds for each other and subsequently our beliefs. We must unite, for the progress of India and for its growth. It’s time India modernizes, it’s time India gets freedom and comes out from the chains of communalism and other evils! Jai Hind!