Re-Assessing resource dependency and criticality. Linking future food and water stress with global resource supply vulnerabilities for foresight analysis

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Corey Johnson, Assistant Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: While strategic studies on natural resources usually focus on the criticality of certain single materials, our paper starts from the inter-linkages between and among resources (called “the resource nexus”). It examines the impact any food and water stress may have on extraction activities in fragile states and regions. According to our approach, conflicts are likely to increase and may escalate in a number of countries, many of which are of relevance for the global supply of strategic materials. Future criticality for European and other industries, thus, is more likely to result from particular regions surpassing their adaptive capacities, and not mainly from limited availability or bottlenecks in the supply chain. The paper first develops a heuristic model of drivers for stress in resource-rich regions. Applying this approach, our paper then develops a global three-layered map along the dimensions of (i) future regional food and water stress, (ii) fragility of countries, and (iii) resource-rich countries with relevant reserves of strategic materials. As a result our paper tentatively identifies 15 countries at high risk and some 30 other countries being at relevant risk of causing resource supply disruptions. The conclusions underline the need to analyse those global inter-linkages and institutional mechanisms for strategic futures studies at a regional scale. As this may go beyond the capacities of actors on commodity markets, our paper also draws conclusions towards the establishment of an international data hub on the global resource nexus and for futures research. The paper points to some of the long-term implications of these issues.

Additional Information

European Journal of Futures Research, 2(1): 1-12
Language: English
Date: 2013
Resource curse, Conflicts, Fragile states, Food stress, Water stress, Mapping

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