Understanding environmental insecurity in Pakistan: An ecosystemic approach
Environmental security covers a vast area with diffuse causes and heterogeneous impacts. Its best articulation, both in terms of conceptual clarity and operational significance exists in the term ‘poverty-environment nexus’, which merits a simple explanation. Resource dependent communities subsist on the lowest rung of the poverty ladder. Their growing numbers stand in stark contrast to the degrading ecosystem which forms the basis of their livelihoods. The opposing pulls have given rise to a phenomenon, referred to in the literature as the poverty environment nexus. In other words, degradation and poverty react negatively in a vicious downward spiral. However, communities rarely degrade the resource base from which they draw sustenance. They only do so when vested interests drive a wedge between them and their natural heritage. The denial of resource rights, management failure and perverse economic incentives are some of the key triggers for this adverse phenomenon.
This study undertakes an integrated analysis of linked ecosystems within a poverty context. The analysis assesses the dependence of the poor on ecosystem services; identifies the anthropogenic and natural drivers of degradation; evaluates the impacts and; proposes measures for remediation. The analysis focuses on both spatial and thematic linkages — across ecosystems and sectors. By the same token, remediation also is envisaged outside the box.