Chapter 11 and 12: the relevance of demography and global governance in the understanding of sustainable development and environmental security.

Through both of these chapters two main aspects have been highlighted:

First the fact the demography is a crucial element to take into account when talking about environmental security. Indeed the way the population of a country or national entity is formed had great consequences to the (in)security and (un)sustainability. Human being has to be seen as the central issue and solution for all types of events. This is why an anthropocentric vision and approach of environment security has to be made. There is an important co-dependence between nature and human beings. They both shape one another. Mother Earth also seen as “spaceship Earth” encounters ecological limits mostly based on consumption and population growth. Population has a direct effect on power, because they are the soldiers and the laborers. So vital to any functioning state. The bigger the population, the more power a state will have BUT this population also has to be productive (and benefits from a good political capacity). Quality matters as much as quantity.

It is important to try and control demography, some countries stimulate fertility by offering money/aids for each child a couple has. Regarding conflict and war, on the demographic aspect, it seems to usually be due to a youthful or youth bulge age structure. When youth makes up more than 35% of the adult population, which happens in many developing countries, the risk of armed conflict is 150% higher. SO aging is bad for the military security aspect but the reverse (youth bulge) is also dangerous since it can lead to more violence within the state. However, the authors often explain the relativity of all these facts, so one case isn’t always comparable to another case. For example youth bulge depends on the size of the country, the youth cohort etc. But it remains a fact that youth are more often the rebellious entity.

Population trends can be positive and also negative. So again really relative. If you want to analyze this environmental security phenomenon, it is important to study each case separately and then compare it to one another so that a more global idea can come out of it. But to my point of view, it is really difficult to draw any specific conclusion on this subject since it really depends and relies on a lot of aspects (gvt, wealth, politics, culture, climate etc.) BUT we now know that the segments of population that are to be watched closely are young and old people.

Second, in order to reach and maintain a stable point between environmental security and sustainable development, an intelligent (global) governance has to be set. A first step into a kind of global governance has been done through the MDG’s. In order to achieve these 8 goals there is to be an understanding of the interconnection between development and environment. For this, a trans-disciplinary approach is required but also a common platform in order to enhance mutual understanding and collective action through innovative approaches.


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