Authors: Areeja Syed and Fatima Ahmed
This world in which we are living is a very insecure and prone place where problems like poverty, crisis, conflicts, negative peace, natural disasters, economic instability, violence, health problems, environmental issues and deficient food have surrounded a human from all sides. Human is insecure in the presence of these problems and this is what we call human insecurity. (GASPER n.d).There are many challenges to overcome human insecurity like to give environmental security, food, health, psychological security and many more to humans. In this article we will particularly talk about food security which is one of the most prominent challenges to human security in the contemporary world.
In 1974,World Food Conference was held which defined food security with regard to guarantee stable supply and price constancy of basic foodstuffs at the system and state level. The form in which all the people of the world have access to food, whether it is economic, social, physical, but everyone should have access to food to have a healthy and active and nutritious lifeIn 1983, The analysis of FAO mainly focused on food access and they also emphasized on the economic access, stability and the demand-supply aspect. (Food and agriculture organization of the united nations. 1996).
Food security comprises of four main components in which the first is the availability of food, it means whether everyone is getting enough and sufficient food according to their need. Second the accessibility of food which focuses on the income and sources of an individual that whether they are having ample and enough income, to buy food for them and their family. Although it’s primary concern is income but it also analyses gender, literacy and employment status. It also highlights that despite accessibility to food, people are unable to access quality food which results in malnutrition e.g. Indian Famine in West Bengal in 1943. In the case of South Asia, despite having access to food, there is less improvement in malnutrition.
Third aspect of food security is the constancy of food, which implies people should have stable, constant and permanent access to food all the time without having any risk or fear of losing economic or physical accessibility in various conditions like natural disasters, wars, economic deprivation. Especially when the global prices of food fluctuates, the South Asian governments finds it a challenge to ensure food security for its people. For this purpose they provide different types of incentives to farmers to maintain balance between demand and supply (Amjad,2010).Fourth aspect is the nutritious and biological aspect of food which implies that individuals are getting healthy and clean eatery and water which will ensure healthy and active lifestyles of the people.
Reason of Food insecurity in south Asia
1.SAARC countries population growth:
The population of SAARC countries is 22 percent of total population of the world with India alone contributing about 1.17 billion people (over 17 %) to it. The shares of Pakistan and Bangladesh in world’s population stand at 2.5 and 2.4 percent respectively. The population growth rate has slowed down overtime in almost all the countries with Sri Lanka attaining a population growth rate of 1.3. Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan also have moved in that direction, though Pakistan still has a high rate of population growth.
2. Urbanization/Migration from rural to Urban Areas:
The urban poor are generally more vulnerable to food insecurity resulting from shocks like high inflation. Despite high population growth in rural areas the reduction in the percentage of rural population in almost all the countries (except Sri Lanka during the period 1991-2006) points to an accelerated migration from rural to urban areas. This migration results from both pull and push factors working simultaneously. Cities offer higher wage and better employment opportunities as well as greater availability of services like heath care and education. The push factors that force migrants to leave rural areas include factors like displacement by conflict, disasters, droughts,landlessness, land degradation, and population pressures on land. The growth of cities on one hand inflates the population of net food buyers and on the other hand reduces arable land by converting productive agricultural land and water resources to residential and industrial uses. Thus, the process of urbanization is a potential threat to food security in the region.
Agricultural production in South Asia is also prone to high risks resulting from high variations in weather. The future projections of climate change indicates that South Asia is very likely to be affected by warming during this century. The availability of freshwater is projected to decrease and coastal areas will be at greatest risk due to increased flooding from the sea and rivers. It is predicted that a rise in temperature may reduce yields of rice, wheat, other cereals, and certain cash significantly. Various sub-sectors of agriculture bear the effect and contribute to global climate change. Any neglect or failure on part of the countries of the region to develop and adopt technologies for climate change mitigation and adaptation of agriculture to sustainable resource use and environment friendly improved practices may lead to severe food insecurity in the region.(Amjad,2010)
A Way Forward
Nearly 40 percent of the world’s hungry lives in South Asia, even before the food price crisis of 2008. Hunger silently stalks the entire region, from the steep mountain slopes of Nepal to the dry, arid plains of southern Afghanistan. (Farooq 2016)Although large scale famines have largely been kept at bay, millions of poor people in Bangladesh, unable to afford two meals a day are left literally clutching at straws. On the other hand, a declining trend in per capita food production and supply is observed in most of the South Asian Countries except India and Pakistan. In this context, the achievement of food security in the region can be facilitated by the members of SAARC. They should extend its cooperation in food production within the member states and should work towards some regional cooperation
1. Regional Trade: There is a need to have regional trade, countries under one region need to import and export, which is beneficial for every state within the region.
2. Cooperation in technologies :technology sharing network for these crops can bring a considerable boost in production of these valuable food grains for attaining and sustaining broader food security in the region. (Pakistan Today 2018)
3. Revisiting SAARC Food Banking Mechanism: The idea of establishing SAARC Food Reserve was floated in 1988, the prime underlying aim was to provide regional support to national food security efforts and solve regional food shortages through collective actions but it is not operationalized yet so there is a need for practical implementation as well
4. Coping Strategies for Disasters: Given that natural disasters do not always care for national boundaries. Cross-boundary issues of disaster management should be addressed through enhanced regional cooperation. (Farooq 2016)
It is now the need of the hour that there should be some regional co-operation in order to eradicate the food insecurity specially by structuralism and by the practical implementation of the above suggestions, there is a need to eradicate all the hatred between the states like India and Pakistan and they must focus on human security. It is the responsibility of the states to give security to their people. The states should place human security at the centre of national policy making. Regional cooperation can assist the states to extend and promote human security to other countries as well.
Pakistan and Germany are keen to Sustain Multifaceted and Mutually beneficial Cooperation
Pakistan has varied history of relationship and cooperation with other countries in international arena. Despite of proactive foreign policy Pakistan has been struggling to acquire global or regional status as a major power. Now in the age of globalization, the foreign relations between states have become more significant than before. Global and regional organizations, societies, economic zones and countries have network to attract and develop relationship among them. A major goal of Pakistan’s foreign policy is to develop good relations with international community and to handle global and regional issues. Activism of Pakistan‘s foreign policy reflects on the domestic socio-economic development. The national interest of Pakistan also support to regulate inputs from the external atmosphere into internal situation and to strive security and territorial integrity in the region and glob which always remained top concern of Pakistan. As bearing geo-strategic position, Pakistan seeks good relations with regional and global powers like America, China and European Union. Within European Union Germany has emergence as the developed economy in Europe. It is not only playing vital role within European Union but at the global level. Pakistan is also enjoying cordial relations with Germany on the base of common interest and perception on all international issues. Germany is also very keen to see sustainable development in Pakistan and acknowledges that the Pakistan is playing constructive role for regional peace. Germany greatly values Pakistan intense to strengthen multifaceted and mutual beneficial cooperation. Both the countries have been engaged on political, economic and socio-cultural partnership.
In past, East and West Germany had tilted towards forming alliance with India in 1950s but in 1960s, President Ayob Khan‘s visit to West Germany established economic relation between both the countries. Post Pak-India war 1971, East Germany was the first country of the Europe who recognized Bangladesh. During 1990s, Pakistan and Germany established Pakistan German Business Forum and Germany had become the fourth largest trade partner of Pakistan in 2000. Germany also was ally of Pakistan in the war against terrorism in the north-west part of the country. Since the last few years, both the countries developed trade relations as well as Germany invested in the field of science and technology in Pakistan. On August 24, 2014, Germany built Pakistan Gate in Berlin to provide business and trade facilities to the businessmen of both the countries.
In November 2018, Pakistan offered Germany to join CPEC and to invest in the Special Economic Zone (SEZs). The mutual trade between both the countries enhanced to 3.0 billion euro in 2019.In 2021, Both Pakistan and Germany are celebrating 70th anniversary of establishment of bilateral relationship. Both the countries are planning to undertake several activities in this regard. Last month German Ambassador visited Karachi Chamber of Commerce and industries to call German companies, entrepreneurs and investors to earn from the potential and opportunities which are available in Pakistan and to bring business communities of both the countries more closer as well. Foreign minister of Pakistan has visited to Germany and meeting with business and members of Pakistani community. The foreign Minister held meetings with the leadership of Germany and repeated the desire of expansion of bilateral economic activities and exchange of technology. Both sides also discussed rapidly changing situation of Afghanistan and South Asian region. During the discussion, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Foreign Minister of Germany Heiko Mass, Pakistan and Germany agreed to review the entire gamut of Pakistan-Germany relationship and tools of further deep bilateral cooperation in the field of trade, investment security and defense, health, education, tourism. The mass of both the countries want to utilize the potential of good relationship but it is observed that both sides have lack of political hierarchy, dedication and sincerity in past. The development and expansion of bilateral relationship lies on the path of peaceful coexistence and serious changes in the socio-economic structure is needed. Peace process with the neighboring countries like Afghanistan and India may attract Germany to invest in CPEC projects and other local project of education, vocational training, dam construction, tourism and economic activities in Pakistan. There is a need to organize a forum for the students and scholars of both the countries could interact and exchange their expertise for academic, economic and technology growth. There is potential of people to people interaction and development of cooperation between Pakistan and Germany. Pakistan may be more benefit from the relationship with Germany if the serious efforts be made on government level.
Modi’s Illiberal Majoritarian Democracy: a Question Mark on the Future of Indian Minorities
The word majoritarian is an adjective which relates to or constitutes a majority, majoritarian politics, or majoritarian democracy. It can be defined as a traditional political idea, philosophy or a practice according to which any decision whether political, social, or economic of an organized society should be made by a numerical majority of that society or it can be defined as a traditional political philosophy that stresses that a majority usually branded by religious, language, social class that also includes other recognizing factors of individuals in a society are subject to a level of superiority in a society because of which they have a say in every affair of a society. The concept of majoritarian dispensation in India under Narendra Modi has deep links with four other political philosophies i.e. Populism, Nationalism, Authoritarianism, and Sultanism. Before exploring Narendra Modi’s majoritarian policy of governance in India and its effects on the future of Indian minorities, I will first uncover the link of majoritarianism to political philosophies as mentioned.
A majoritarian leader is actually a populist leader who works hard for the concerns of people that who thinks are being ignored by the established elite groups in a society, and who always present himself as a new man mostly of a modest and plebeian background against old political establishment, in spite of the fact that who is a seasoned political figure, but usually not centre stage. This is exactly what Narendra Modi is, because in his 2014 election campaign, he presented himself as a new man against the Ghandi’s family’s old political system despite the fact he was CM Gujrat at that time. He also presented himself as someone who belongs to a very plebeian background that he had to work in his father’s tea shop when he was a child. Whereas, nationalism is a political idea or a philosophy that promotes and protects the interests of a particular nation, nationalism is the bedrock of most of the populists and NarendraModi is no exception. NarendraModi is a majoritarian national-populist leader who since his childhood has been the member of RSS, and now is a full time pracharak of RSS ideology that stresses that Hindu are the true and only sons of this Indian soil.
Majoritarian national- populist leaders like Narendra Modi are basically authoritarian leaders who reject political pluralism, and this is exactly what Modi is doing in India.Modi and the BJP has made it clear that no other party should compete with it, or is even needed, as indicative from its slogan of a ‘Congress Mukt Bharat’ (a Congress-free India).Whereas, Sultanism is a form of authoritarian government and according to Max Weber NarendraModi is a new sultan of India who is pushing India towards illiberal democracy by rejecting all kind of civil liberties particularly of Indian Muslim minority.
Modi’s majoritarian policy of governance in India is basically the promotion of majoritarian democracy that asserts Hindus a special and superior status in India because they constitute 80.5% of total Indian population and that this majoritarian policy protests Hindutva ideology that stresses that Hindus are the only sons of this soil and that strengthen the Hindu community. This majoritarian democracy is a big question mark on India as the world biggest liberal democracy because continuous violence, rejection of civil liberties, and crimes against the minorities that are Muslims, Sikhs, and Christians have been on the increase. About 1.8 million people who are minority communities are tortured in police custody every year. The word murder of minorities has been replaced by the term encounter killings. Torture have increased to such a huge extent that it questions the credibility of the rule of law and criminal justice. Hindu nationalists are revolting all around India especially against Muslims because they are the largest minority in India constituting 13.4% of total population and because Hindus have resentment toward their religion, Christians and Sikhs are no exception to their violence because they too constitute 2.3% and 1.9% of total Indian population.
Unfortunately, India under Narendra Modi is crawling from the world’s biggest liberal democracy to illiberal majoritarian democracy which is promoting and safeguarding only Hindu’s civil rights and liberties and that which is negating minority’s civil liberties and civil rights especially rights and liberties of Muslims of India. One such example of this is the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB).Under the act, for the first time in India, religion is a basis for granting citizenship. According to some this citizenship amendment bill by BJP is an intentional act in order to marginalize Muslims from mainstream politics. In addition to this, Muslims are not only being tortured at their religious places for their religious affiliations, but they are also being tortured at their educational institutions which is evident from a video of 15 December 2020, where Delhi police brutally tortured Muslims students of Jamia Millia Islamia university.
Keeping in mind Narendra Modi’s illiberal majoritarian democracy, the future of liberal democracy or pluralistic India appears to be gloomy, where the future of Indian minorities especially Muslims is a big question mark.
CoVID-19 Control: Can Pakistan Learn From China?
It has been over a year since the first case of CoVID-19 was confirmed in Pakistan. The tally has reached 721,018 confirmed cases, 15,443 have died and 4,143 critical cases by 11thApril2021. Across many countries, since January 2020, a massive surge of research into CoVID-19 had enabled the scientific and medical community to better understand how to manage and eliminate the virus through public health interventions. Today, we have learned, CoVID-19 causes acute symptoms and death. We have learned, immunity lasts at least eight months and we also have five licensed vaccines. We have learned, the long-term effects of CoVID-19 and the morbidity attached to having this virus. We have learned, virus transmission occurs through droplets and aerosols spread through coughing, sneezing, breathing and speaking. We also have learned, stopping the spread of CoVID-19 requires people to avoid mixing though restrictions on social life. We have learned, the virus can mutate into various strains that can be more transmissible – and we also have understand cat-and-mouse game between vaccine and variants.
To alleviate the destructive effects of CoVID-19 on the economy, Pakistan has sought debt relief of slightly around $2 billion from its G20 creditors. In addition to the G20 countries, China was the largest bilateral creditor with $9 billion, followed by Japan with $5 billion. By early April 2020, when there were just about 2,000 CoVID-19 positive cases in Pakistan, the World Bank approved $200 million package to help Pakistan. Likewise, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had approved the payout of $1.386 billion as financial support to Pakistan to meet its urgent balance of payment needs halting from the CoVID-19 outbreak. Further, to support Pakistan’s public health response to the CoVID-19 and allow to meet the basic needs of the vulnerable and poor segment of society, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved $500 million emergency assistance loan to Pakistan. Similarly, The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) also provided a $650 million financial package to support Pakistan in its efforts against the CoVID-19. All these grants were provided to Government of Pakistan to assist in effective and timely action in response to the spread of the CoVID-19. The objective was to strengthen Pakistan’s public health infrastructure and to alleviate socioeconomic disruptions due to the pandemic. Despite huge grants and substantial endowments, Pakistan’s response to the CoVID-19 has been unsatisfactory. Lack of basic healthcare infrastructure, disease surveillance and management system, and inconsistent implementation of policies and SOPs resulted in the rapid and incessant spread of third-wave of CoVID-19 throughout the county.
China’s extraordinary organized and preventive risk management approach, established on coalition between government officials, virologists, epidemiologists and public health experts, has demonstrated to be successful in containing and controlling CoVID-19.The experience in China emphasized the significance of listening to science and public health experts during pandemic event. Firstly, China’s response demonstrates the value of national research and public health capability. Huge investment in research and development rendered China much better prepared for CoVID-19. China’s experience indicates the value of investing in national health and research scheme to boost laboratory capacity along with workforce. They are essential to a rapid and effective national response to health emergencies and to national health security. Secondly, a strong foundation of research and development cannot ensure effective control without powerful top-level political dedication to use science to confront the outbreak. Government and leaders must respect science, understand its significance, and act on science-based advice in a way that is best for society. Thirdly, attaining speedy and successful implementation of control measures for CoVID-19 requires extensive community engagement. Public solidarity during the CoVID-19 outbreak in China had been unprecedented. Control measures that could sacrifice personal freedom were accepted readily by the nation.
To be brief, cricket is to South Asia and football is to Europe. In fighting CoVID-19, everyone is equal. Everyone has the identical liability and shares the equal threat. The effective implementation of prevention and control measures in China is a model for Pakistan other parts of world to follow. From the beginning, a science-based, risk-informed and phased approach was taken, with a clear appreciation and enthusiasm. Today, China has restarted its economy, reopened and almost returned to normality. The key of success story is to make everybody responsible, get every single division involved and held executives accountable. These are the most prominent lessons Pakistan could learn from China at national and local levels. After the failure of “Smart-Lockdown” strategy, Pakistan needs to choose a strict strategy, should follow the example of China and continue the lockdown until the number of CoVID-19 infections is brought close to zero; the strategy should then be to maintain infection rates at very low level until vaccination is done. China’s epidemic management provides an important experience from which countries such as Pakistan can learn. This applies in particular to Pakistan, which would risk to lose many of its achievements in case of a severe third wave of the epidemic. Government of Pakistan should involve not only public health experts, virologists and epidemiologists, but also scientist and respect science advice when making any decision that is required to keep the epidemic under control. The rest of the world can also learn from China’s success in bringing outbreak under control.
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