World’s Largest Humanitarian Assistance Organizations Case Assignment
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World’s Largest Humanitarian Assistance Organizations Case Assignment
At the same time, shifts in living patterns will complicate planning strategies. About 850 million people lack access to sufficient food to lead healthy and produc- tive lives, and about 170 million children are seriously underweight for their age.
But while countries grapple with how to feed their populations, increasing urbanization will change the types of foods demanded; lifestyle changes may well involve replacing basic staples such as sorghum, millet and maize with cereals that require less preparation such as rice and wheat, in addition to livestock products, fruits, vegetables, and processed foods.75 For example, there will be a general decline in sorghum in Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Zambia, maize in Ghana, mil- let in Sudan, and groundnuts in the Gambia.76
In addition, as middle-income countries develop and grow more affluent, the demand for meat will almost certainly increase. As the conversion of units of vegetable matter to meat and dairy products averages 10 to 1 (and can go as high at 25 to 1), the growing demand for meat will mean a decrease in grains available for the very poor.77
According to UN experts, more food will have to be produced in the next 50 years than has been produced during the past 10,000 years combined. At the same time, some 40 percent of the world’s agricultural land has been degraded. The worst affected regions are Central America, where 75 percent of land is infertile; Africa, where a fifth of the soil is degraded; and Asia, where 11 percent of land is now unsuitable for farming.78 Globally, in developing countries, 11 percent of available arable land could also be affected by climate change, including a reduc- tion of cereal production in up to 65 countries.79
Reserves of food stocks are also dwindling. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization forecasts overall declines in world cereal stocks,80 and recent per capita grain yields are already the lowest in more than 30 years. Throughout the early 1960s, world grain reserves were equal to at least one year’s global demand, but in recent years reserves have fallen to just 20 percent of annu- al consumption.81
Ironically, a further contributor to global food insecurity and uncertainty is food aid. As agricultural pressures mount, it was reported in the fall of 2007 that U.S. food assistance fell to its lowest level in a decade, amounting to less than half the food purchased in 2000 (2.4 million metric tons versus 5.3 million metric tons; the U.S. is the largest contributor to the U.N. World Food Program). In part this decline is driven by increased corn and soybean prices (due to the demand for ethanol) and record-high wheat prices (due in part to droughts in Australia and demand in India).82
Meanwhile, one of the world’s largest humanitarian assistance organizations, CARE, announced in 2007 that it will no longer accept donations of food aid from the U.S. In the controversial decision, CARE said that U.S. food aid was not only inefficient but that it may also hurt the poor it aims to help. Under the system, the U.S. buys goods from U.S. agribusiness and ships it abroad primarily on U.S.- flag carriers. The goods are then donated to charities who sell them on the local market. In some cases, these goods compete with and undercut struggling local farmers.83
Food security is not only a matter of production. The world produces enough food to feed its entire population. There is simply not enough funding and political will to distribute the food evenly. In addition, although food production and imports in some countries might be at sufficiency levels, the poor in those countries are unable to afford it (e.g., Zimbabwe, Eritrea, Ethiopia, North Korea, and Guinea).84
By comparing several relevant figures, a sense of urgency and priority becomes apparent. Table 3 shows several developing countries—all among the world’s 40 most populous. The fourth and fifth most populous nations, Indonesia and Brazil, respectively, have similar rates for total fertility, population increase, and unmet need for family planning. However, Indonesia has less than half the gross domestic product (GDP) of Brazil, and is close to utilizing all of its arable land. Brazil has a much lower population density and cultivates a much smaller percentage of potential agricultural land.
Egypt and Ethiopia are similar in many respects—including population, density and percentage of cultivated land; however, Egypt has exponentially more irrigated land and four times the GDP as Ethiopia, greatly reducing risks of drought. Ethiopia has much higher fertility and triple the unmet need for family planning, as well.
Bangladesh has reasonable numbers for several categories, yet its astounding population density puts it at significant risk; natural disasters frequently place the country in the headlines. Uganda, which utilizes its available land relatively well, has very little irrigated land, exposing its vulnerability to drought. In addition, while Uganda has a relatively favorable GDP for the region, it has relatively high population density and very high unmet need.
Table 3 Populous Countries, Agriculture, Income and Population Factors
Sources: [a]: Population Reference Bureau; [b]: Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook; [c]: United Nations; [d]: Guttmacher Institute (for married women aged 15-49)
Comparing Nigeria and Philippines is instructive. The two countries have both large populations and the same rate of unmet need for family planning. Nigeria’s much higher fertility, lack of irrigation, and lower GDP seem to indi- cate less favorable conditions. Although the Philippines, which in the past received significant family planning assistance, has higher density and cultivates nearly all of its available land, its lower population growth will provide for more internal stability.
Once again, manageable population growth, or the lack thereof, is the key difference in food security. Clearly, more countries are on a trajectory to feed fewer of their citizens. Stabilization of population growth will be a component in ensur- ing fewer victims of malnutrition and hunger.
Population and Global Security
Population growth was an underlying if not a primary cause of the largest conflict in human history, the Second World War. In Germany, Adolf Hitler’s princi- ple of lebensraum, or “living space” for the growing German population, was a cen- tral component of his justification for the Nazi invasions into neighboring countries.
In Japan, an island nation with high population density in many areas, the need for resources for a growing population and economy was a part of the drive to invade Manchuria and other parts of China, as well as much of the rest of the Pacific region, beginning in the 1930s. Public policy researcher Jack Goldstone notes that population-related conflicts have been going on for centuries.85
Growing populations in areas of dwindling resources have caused or inten- sified conflicts in many corners of the world. The situation in Sudan’s Darfur region is one of the better-known of these. According to Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai, 2004 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, “Darfur is an example of a situation where a dire scarcity of natural resources is manipulated by politicians… At its roots it is a struggle over controlling an environment that can no longer sup- port all the people who must live on it.”86
Another key issue in conflict is rapid urbanization and the “youth bulge” in many countries. A spike in the numbers of young people can create strains on pub- lic services, such as education and health, and other resources, exacerbated by a lack of jobs, leading to increased poverty, overcrowding, frustration, alienation and unrest. Alternatively, as the proportion of young adults decreases, so does political instability, for example in Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and Sri Lanka.87
Along these same lines, researchers have demonstrated that in countries with low birth rates and low infant mortality, the likelihood of civil conflict is less than in those with high birth rates and high infant mortality. As birth rates and infant mortality increase, the likelihood of civil conflict increases in a clear pro- gression.88
Population researcher Katherine Weiland has argued: “Family planning programs should be implemented as an essential component of national security for developing as well as developed countries. Achieving global security requires a worldwide commitment, through global cooperation, to attacking the social and
economic problems that lead to insecurity.”89 This cooperation and commitment is critical because,
In today’s interconnected world, conflict in less developed coun- tries affects not only one country or region but has dangerous implications for global security. Globalization has created a world where stable countries are no longer isolated from their unstable neighbors and civil strife can easily move across bor- ders and erupt into war.
Demographers and both social scientists and military experts have linked global security and population, which was regarded as a non-traditional security issue just a decade ago.
These include the promotion of a demographic transition of populations from high to low rates of birth and death; ensuring easily accessible reproductive health services for refugees, civilians in post-conflict environments, and all mili- tary personnel; and supporting improvements in the legal, educational and eco- nomic status of women to reach a “security demographic,” a distinctive range of population structures and dynamics that make civil conflict less likely.90
According to Goldstone, there are six major population trends that are likely to pose significant security challenges to developed nations by 2025, among them being the rapid growth and predominant role of urban populations in develop- ing countries, shrinking populations in Europe, opposing age shifts between aging developed and youthful developing countries, and increasing migration from developing to developed countries.91
A look at four of the 10 most populous nations in the world provide an interesting case, as their policies will have a significant impact on their neighbors and the world. Brazil, Indonesia, Nigeria and Pakistan are developing countries that have experienced various internal difficulties, levels of regional strife, and natural disasters.
Pakistan in particular is expected to figure prominently on the global stage due to its population size (it is the world’s sixth most populous country with near- ly 170 million people), as well as its geographic position, its relations with its
Country 2007 2025 2050 Population under 15 years (%)
Rate of Natural Increase
Population Projections (in millions)
Table 4 Youthful Populations and Growth
Source: Population Reference Bureau
neighbors, and, not least, its possession of nuclear weapons. Also important is Nigeria, ranked eighth among the world’s most populous countries with some 144 million people, as well as tenth in proven oil reserves and seventh for natural gas.
However, Brazil and Indonesia have relatively stable internal and regional political climates, with democratically elected presidents. Both have also enjoyed success with past family planning programs and policies. Conversely, Pakistan and Nigeria have not seen great success in family planning efforts in the past.
In addition, Nigeria and especially Pakistan are in uncertain climates; Nigeria’s elections in April 2007 were seen as largely tainted, and Pakistan’s president came to power in a coup. While all have large populations, Nigeria and Pakistan have significantly higher rates of total fertility and rates of natural increase, as well as percentages of younger population, forecasting a possibility of even greater future unrest.
Figure 4 shows the percentage of youth (15-24 years) for the same coun- tries over a 35-year span. Brazil and Indonesia are currently seeing a reduction in youthful percentages, while Nigeria and Pakistan are undergoing a spike in per- centages, which is projected to continue for roughly a decade. The figures rein- force the need to ensure that urgent family planning needs are met in these coun- tries, as a matter of security for all countries.
If for no other reason than their own security, developed countries need to examine their development population policies and enhance their aid especially to those countries whose stability is potentially at risk.
Population and Other Issues
The convergence of the concerns described through this paper will, of course, have a shock wave effect on several other associated issues, such as migration, refugees, poverty, health, and education.
To touch briefly on one of these, scientists are already issuing alarms related to increased risks from disease as populations rise. For example, countries with high population
growth will experience the most severe increases in diarrheal and infectious dis- eases caused by climate change.92 WHO has tied rising global population to an unprecedented number (39 in all) of emerging new diseases, including AIDS, Ebola, SARS, and bird flu.93
World’s Largest Humanitarian Assistance Organizations Case Assignment
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