THE NEED FOR THE GLOBAL SOUTH TO VALUE THEIR NATURAL ASSETS.

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I  read a very interesting article that is worth the discourse.In his text  “How to Reconcile Prosperity with Nature”,(may2010).Paul Collier was very concern about the hidden treasures of natural assests in the global south.Natural assets have two key elements.They  have no defined property rights ,their rights are built by governments,they lack social rules and weak capacities.Secondly,they have no rules of management,in the case of trans-national skies.

The Global south is been identified as the Vast Frontier in the discovery of natural assets.There has been a drastic shift of value and occupation of land surface  per sq.ml. in favour of the  LCDs.The OCDs have about a quarter of the land surface,  and a sq,mile of soil assest is worth $300,000 which is far below the same value of land surface per sq ml in the LCDs

According to the New York Times,the Natural  Assets /resources of Afghanistan is worth three trillion dollars which is a massive income to a single country.Well if this is what development is all about this country will sooner or later  be a member of the global North family.

There are fundamental setbacks to the optimal utilization of these naturl assests because  of the following problems, viz,they involve complicated decision making process.There is the issue of discovering the natural assests and also the social values of the society and of more  importance is the present state of  natural assets expropriation

Human vulnerability is defined as the lack of key assests ,exposing societies to increased  risk of poverty.The fewer assests a society has,the more vulnerable it is.Thus degradation of natural assests can exerbate poverty and increase vulnarability.Although Africa benefits from and depends on extensive natural assets,they are at enormous risk.The reason is that natural assets such as forests,fisheries,and water tend to be common property goods for which markets cannot provide basic coordinating functions-revealing the true values,balancing interest over time and providing efficient outcomes.As a result natural assests are difficult to manage sustainably,leading to the loss of tropical forests,degradation of soils,overexploitation of fisheries destruction of coral reefs and deterioration of surface water and groundwater.

To herness the development of natural assets ,the following must be thought of by the developing countries,viz,introduce public information on geological findings, build frontiers to dessiminate geological information,building of the capacity to invest,the decision chain must be allowed to coninue.democracy is not enough but Information is key to building of an informed society to herness development is the key.

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One Response to “THE NEED FOR THE GLOBAL SOUTH TO VALUE THEIR NATURAL ASSETS.”

  1. Jhonny Says:

    A recent meeting held in Nagoya (Japan) on 28th of October 2010 stressed the importance and value of natural assets. The aim of the meeting was to make provisions available to developing countries which will enable them to incorporate the economic benefits of ecosystem (forest, wetlands and coral reefs) into their national accounting systems. The idea of placing value on natural assets in countries in the global south is in the right direction as these countries are rich in natural resources. The economic value of natural resources (farmlands, forest, mineral and energy) worldwide is in figures exceeding $44 trillion with $29 trillion coming from countries from the global south. The prominent point here is conservation of nature is the right economic choice over conversion. An economist, Pavan Sukhdev gives clear picture of economic value of nature in http://fora.tv/2010/08/03/Pavan_Sukhdev_What_Is_the_World_Worth
    It is all good and purposeful to input natural assets into national account particularly countries from the global south as these countries are rich in natural resources, but i envisage some difficulties with the implementation of this initiative. There is obviously going to be the problem of discovering the natural assets itself then deciding what should be considered a natural asset and what not. I can also see the decision making process being very complicated. The main problem i see however has to do with how people in the indigenous rural people in these countries will be convinced to value nature. Illiteracy rate in these countries is very high and with majority of the populace living in rural area it will be a monumental task trying to explain the benefits and importance of ecosystem to these rural people. Ghana for instance has 70% of its population living in the rural areas. Rural communities depend heavily on the forest and other ecosystems for their everyday life. They believe that nature is there to be exploited for human good and even have cultural and religious justifications to exploit nature. Day to day activities in the rural areas destroys the forest. Fuel wood for instance, continues to be the main source of energy for these rural areas and even some urban areas where other alternative sources of energy is available leading to the indiscriminate felling of trees. In fact, it contributes to 95% of energy consumption in rural Ghana. Related to this is timber production and logging. There is a ready market for timber and its production has lead to extensive damage to the forest. Records indicate 70% of forest damage in Ghana is caused by timber production.
    Getting the illiterate rural communities to change their long standing traditions, beliefs, and ways of living in favour of an initiative which stops them from going about their everyday activity will involve far more than one can estimate.
    Sources:
    http://go.worldbank.org/MPULSNLWP0
    http://www.wrm.org.uy/countries/Africa/Okrah.html

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