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Human and Environmental threats in
Developing Countries: Does Iceland
have a role?
Professor Ruth Haug
Department of International Environment
and Development Studies (Noragric)
Norwegian University of Life Sciences
International Environment and
Development Studies (EADI, 2006)

Development Studies is a multi- and
interdisciplinary field of studies
(not a discipline) that seeks to
understand social, economic,
political, environmental,
technological and cultural aspects of
societal change, particularly in
development countries
Environmental threats
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Climate change
Shortage of energy
Water scarcity
Biodiversity losses
Pollution
Land degradation – land shortage
Deforestation
UN’s PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE
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United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC) (2006): Average
temperature of the earth’s surface, have already
risen by 0.74 degrees C in the last 100 years, and
is expected to increase by an average of about 3
degrees over the next century, assuming
greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise at
current rates.
Emission (Calvin, 2007)
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Agriculture: 14% and Land use: 18%
Transport 14%
Industry 14%
Power: 24% (coal, gas, oil; non-industrial electricity)
Human threats
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Hunger and Poverty
Conflicts and lack of security
Human rights violation
Bad governance
Lack of democracy
Globalization and market forces
Urbanization
The bottom billion: Why the poorest countries
are failing and what can be done about it (Collier,
2007)
World poverty
 1 billion poor ($ 1)
 2,7 billion ($ 2)
The four poverty traps:
 The conflict trap
 The natural resource trap
 Landlocked with bad neighbors
 Bad governance in a small country
Agriculture for Development: WDR08
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For the poorest, GDP growth in
agriculture is 4 times as effective as
other growth in reducing poverty
Global food supplies under pressure
Environment under pressure:
sustainable agriculture needed
Too little public spending
Under recognized potential of women
Rich countries need to reform policies
that harm the poor
Who is affected by hunger and poverty?
Urban poor
20%
Fishers,
herders 10%
Land less,
rural 20%
Sm all Farm ers
50%
Source: UN Millennium Project, Hunger Task Force 2005
Malnourished people (UN hunger task
force, 2005)
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Sub Sahara Africa
India
Asia and Pacific
China
WANA
204
221
156
142
39
Food insecurity causes
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Poverty problem:
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Household level:
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National/international level: bad
50% peasant farmers,
20% landless, 20% urban, 10% fishers/herders
lack of access to
production assets, markets and employment,
drought/flooding, HIV/AIDS, voiclessnes,
women’s low status, vulnerability,
governance, institutional failure, policy failure,
conflict, lack of social security, lack or wrong
international response, increased dependency
Three roles for agriculture in response to
climate change (von Braun, 2007)
10-25% production reduction in developing countries due
to global warming by 2080 (Cline, 2007)
1.
2.
3.
as a polluter > change production and
technology
in mitigation > invest in GHG capture
in adaptation > adjust production,
technology, trade,
consumption
Adapting agricultural systems to
climate change (CGIAR webpage 2007)
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Climate resilient crops and animal breeds
Crop varieties with great tolerance to
stresses (drought, flooding)
Improved management of water
Collective action to protect shared
resources
Able institutions
Supportive policies
Market incentives
Brasil: A biofuel success or not?
(Simoes, 2007)
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Viable biofuel industry – major exporter
of biofuels
Ethanol from sugarcane (10% of arable
land)
Both biofuel and food production have
increased
1 mill new jobs
Deforestation has decreased (2004-06)
Sustainability certification (planned)
Biofuel: More democratic world energy
market (more diverse energy producers)??
In sum, biofuel expansion will (von Braun)
Accelerate globalization of agriculture
 Increase crop prices
 Raise land values, thereby draw capital
into rural areas
 Create some jobs
Risks for the poor:
1. food price increase and instability
2. ill-considered policies
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Conflict, Peace and Development
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World violent conflicts have decreased from 50
to 30 during the last 15-20 years (Norad, 2007)
Poverty does not necessarily lead to conflict,
but poverty increases in conflict situation
Peace making, peace keeping and peace
building
Agriculture/fish/wildlife is often of crucial
importance in conflict/post conflict countries,
often the only livelihood option (Haug, 2008)
The international community tends to focus on
providing relief, not on long-term development
- Undermines local capacity & production,
pacifies people & institutions (Haug, 2008)
Higher Education & Development
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Generates knowledge and skills crucial for
production and economic growth
Provides human capital for social services
and development
Contributes towards capacity
development
Plays a role in nation building (critical voice)
Produces graduates who pay taxes or
send remittances
Higher education challenges in
Developing Countries
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Declining quality (expansion)
Inadequate funding
Inequitable access
Going North syndrome
Brain drain – brain gain – brain circulation
Macro economic demands (IMF)
Supply driven aid (managed by North)
Commodification of HE
Gender Equity
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Almost 2/3 of the bottom billion are
women (Norad, 2007)
No improvements in women’s relative
income during the last 10-15 years (Gender
Equity Index, 2007)
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Mother’s status and education – most
important for children’s nutrition (IFPRI,
2005)
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How to achieve Millennium Development
Goal 3 on gender equity?
What role could Iceland play?
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Role model for small countries (re
UNDP: best country to live in Human
Development Index 2008)
From Fish, Horses & Tourists to success in
financial affairs (Banking)
Climate change: Alternative Energy (re
Geothermal Energy)
Human rights, Equity and Gender
Peace and Security
Higher Education (8 universities)
Human resources development