Issues in Global Governance

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Kissinger, Timmer and Rees, in Chapter 14, argue that, once we accept the interdependence of all people beyond their state borders, the reality of the results of our expanding ecological footprint, beyond our immediate surroundings, becomes obvious. Thus, the “sustainability of any given region may well depend on the continued productivity and sustainability of other regions”.

In this chapter, two examples are provided, both taken from events in the year 2010: the BP massive oil well blowout in the gulf of Mexico, and the unprecedented heat wave in Russia. For the former, not only have the ecosystems and the fisheries of the area been gravely affected, but the general sustainability of fisheries and endangered fish species globally have suffered. For the latter, Russia's loss of grain crops due to the high temperatures contributed to rising global grain prices, and to the reduced availability of grain staples to many other populations.

Hence, four interregional strands must be acknowledged: (1) the interregional pollution strand; (2) the interregional ecological footprint strand; (3) the interregional effects of local ecological change; (4) the policy-driven systemic interregional impact displacement strand. The study of these interwoven “strands” demonstrates the importance of considering interregional sustainability through a shift away from socalled “development”.

This study of a further aspect of the ecological footprint is new, but the underlying message is based on a timeless concept: “Nature's bottom line is simple: humanity has no choice, but to learn to live more equitably within limits imposed by the ecosphere's regenerative capacity”.

In Chapter 15, Sabina and Alex Lautensach discuss the interface between human and state security in the recent times (since the early 1990s). The security of states depends on that of regions, communities, families and individuals, and states themselves are no longer able to guarantee the security of any of these subsets. Increasingly, security, far more than the traditional absence of threats from violent conflict, now includes a relative safety from acute infectious diseases, minimum complements of safe fresh water and adequate nutrition, and a formal guarantee of basic human rights and dignity. As well, the category of present “security” now encompasses future generations, so that the growing presence of environmental disasters adds yet another dimension. This multiplicity of security aspects leads to a new “comprehensive definition” which should include “four pillars” of human security; that is, the traditional “military/strategic security of the state”; “economic security”; “health-related security”, and “environmental security”.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • Globalisation and Ecological Integrity in Science and International Law
    This volume returns to one of the major themes of the Global Ecological Integrity Group: the interface between integrity as a scientific concept and a number of important issues in ethics, international law and public health. The main scholars who have worked on these topics over the years return to re-examine these dimensions from the viewpoint of global governance.
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