The three essential resources of land, energy and water are connected by the same crisis of inequality driven by increasing privatization and corporate control. While universal provision remains an eminently practical goal, it requires a shift in global priorities and wide-scale redistribution through a system of international sharing monitored by an effective and representative United Nations.
Given the history of native title in Australia, it is difficult to see how indigenous land rights can ever be truly respected through the current legal system. Rather, the non-indigenous population must genuinely acknowledge and redress the wrongs of the past, writes Justin Frewen.
Creating a market for land rights can lead to a concentration of ownership, restricing access for those who are dependent on land for their livelihoods. Agrarian reform based on customary systems could be promoted as an alternative, says the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier De Schutter.
If governments were to stop subsidising fossil fuels, global greenhouse gas emissions could be cut drastically and spending channelled towards poverty alleviation measures. Countries should begin negotiations on a multilateral agreement to phase out these harmful subsidies, writes Mark Halle.
Contrary to popular claims, World Bank support for coal and oil projects does not increase access to energy for the world’s poorest. Support for all fossil fuel development that does not solely aim to benefit the poor should end, says a report by Oil Change International.
Water is set to surpass oil as the world’s scarcest critical resource. Operationalising the newly recognised human right to water and sanitation, and ensuring all countries have the capacity to obtain, manage and wisely use water resources, is imperative, argues Martin Khor.
A new study has found that the world’s rivers are so badly affected by human activity that the water security of almost 5 billion people is threatened. This number is likely to rise in coming decades as the climate changes and the human population continues to grow, find Charles Vörösmarty et al.
Depleting local water resources to produce goods for foreign consumption can lead to social, health-related and economic problems, particularly for poor communities. A global management standard is needed to ensure universal water security, says a report by Progressio.