Developing countries are perhaps facing the biggest challenge to maintain an effective governance mechanism. Unfavorable governance system not only fading out human fundamental rights to survive but also adversely affecting natural resources. There are numerous examples how disproportionately natural resources are being extracted e.g. East Africa and Myanmar. Along with the threat of climate change, these developing countries are socially and politically vulnerable, which pushing them further behind the poverty line. Ecosystem services are frequently devastated by the hostile political conditions. It is commonly practiced that, in the name of rapid development, industrialization (often illegally possessed), militarization (to protect country from unknown/unidentified enemies) and agriculture (also illegally occupied by local dwellers) are causing huge loss of wetland and forest covers and reducing the per-capita resource. Global data shows that the Atlantic coast of Brazil, the Philippine, Sumatra and Madagascar have lost between 85-95% of their woodland because of ruthless industrialization. Conversely, El Salvador and Afghanistan also lost their forest during the civil war and American invasion respectively.
Countries like India and Bangladesh, having democracy within its harsh geo-political borders, dealing with different kinds of challenge to protect natural resource and its equal distribution among citizens. The average annual rate of deforestation in the Bangladesh in 1980 was 8,000 ha or 1 percent, which rose to nearly 5 percent during 1981-90 registering a 400 percent increase (FAO, 1993). The underlying causes of unsustainable resource extraction are poor governance, inadequate policy instruments, lack of enforcement, lack of public awareness and adverse mind-set towards resource conservation.
There are strong interconnection among good governance, human rights and sustainable development, which are directly or indirectly mentioned by the international community in a number of declarations and other global conference documents. God governance of natural resources includes interaction of various institutions and stakeholders and required favorable state of governance at all level, vertically and horizontally.
One undeniable fact is that humanity now consumes more natural resources than the planet can replenish. The current rate of consumption is a threat to the future prosperity of humankind. Today humanity uses 50% of the planet’s fresh water. With the population growth, which expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, we will use 80%. Similarly, the rate of resource consumption will increase proportionately. Therefore, protecting natural resources would be one of the major challenges for leaders around the world, unless they act dynamically.
Photo: Naimul Islam