JBS Vol 18. Num 1_2. 2016 - The Looming Non-Traditional Challenges to Security in South Asia: Restoring Ecological Integrity and Security

Tariq A Karim

Since the end of World War II, the question of security was viewed dominantly through the prism of military threats posed by nations against each other. In recent times, however, non-traditional security challenges such as looming food and water crises, and devastating environmental impacts from climate change such as natural disasters and the threat of pandemic diseases, have loomed ever larger. As the global population inexorably increased, exponentially, it spawned different forms of contestations among peoples and nations for selfish appropriation of natural resources causing environmental degradation. Fresh water, whether underground, on the surface, in rivers or in mountain glaciers, is at the heart of any ecosystem. It is also very unevenly distributed globally. The steadily expanding gap between available fresh water on the one hand, and the exploding populations particularly in the global South on the other, is at the heart of ecological disequilibrium that, if not properly managed, will likely aggravate the situation further, possibly triggering a “domino effect” ecologically that could pose an existential threat to human survival. An appropriate governance structure to manage these precious commons, equitably and optimally, is most urgently needed now to prevent further human conflict from intensification of the contestation between competing groups and interests, increasing the chances of domestic and inter-state conflicts and jeopardizing human security.