Chatham House Report on Resource Security

This report from Chatham House (Bernice Lee, Felix Preston, Jaakko Kooroshy, Rob Bailey and Glada Lahn, December 2012) has quite a bit on food.  An infographic includes changes in food production and distribution between 2000 and 2010 and can be found here.

It needs to be read in conjunction with Colin’s recent piece i.e. this is where the status quo is leading us, not where we, humanity, want to be!

This about the infographic:  ”[It] shows the emerging economies that have become major centres of resource consumption, joining existing economic powers. The tool also graphically illustrates global interdependencies; the concentration of production in a handful of countries; new producers set to join the scene; and the new wave of consumers. In addition, there are examples of likely political, economic and environmental disruptions.

This about the report:

“The prospect of resource scarcity, both real and perceived, has fast become a major item on the global policy agenda. This has called into question the sustainability of current developmental paths, and highlights the resource implications of a global transition to a low-carbon economy. Misperceptions and poor policy could fuel geopolitical tensions, undermine global economic and environmental cooperation, foster local and regional insecurity and disproportionately affect the livelihoods of the world’s poorest.

Managing these growing global resource stresses together with a successful transition to sustainable and equitable resource use will test the resilience of global and regional regimes and governance mechanisms. The ongoing reconfiguration of the international political economy of resources trade and use remain poorly understood. The complex policy implications of these momentous shifts need to be systematically evaluated and translated into concrete policy recommendations for governments and businesses.”

And the Key Findings

  • The spectre of resource insecurity has come back with a vengeance. Whether or not resources are actually running out, the outlook is one of supply disruptions, volatile prices, accelerated environmental degradation and rising political tensions over resource access.
  • With the maturation of technologies to access non-conventional gas and oil, as well as the global economic downturn, some analysts suggest that the resource boom of the past decade is coming to an end – especially in the extractive industries – and that resource-related tensions will ease.
  • The hard truth is that many of the fundamental conditions that gave rise to the tight markets in the past ten years remain. In the case of food, the world remains only one or two bad harvests away from another global crisis.
  • This report focuses on the new political economy of resources. It analyses the latest global trends in the production, trade and consumption of key raw materials or intermediate products and explores how defensive and offensive moves by governments and other stakeholders are creating new fault lines on top of existing weaknesses and uncertainties.
  • The report also proposes a series of critical interventions, including new informal dialogues involving a group of systemically significant producer and consumer countries (‘Resource 30′ or R30) to tackle resource price volatility and to improve confidence and coordination in increasingly integrated globalresource markets.
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