Edited by Edward A. Page and Michael Redclift
Chapter 10: Human Security and the Environment in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Challenge of the New Millennium
Kwasi Nsiah-Gyabaah 1 INTRODUCTION In the developed countries, there has been tremendous socio-economic development and the introduction of new technologies to protect the environment and meet basic human needs. However, in many developing countries, particularly in Africa, the security of livelihoods has been undermined by socio-economic factors such as poverty, overpopulation, human rights abuses and environmental degradation caused by toxic contamination, global warming and ozone layer depletion, soil degradation, pollution and loss of biodiversity. Other natural, and anthropogenic, forces that contribute to insecurity and environmental degradation include drought, soil erosion, volcanic eruption, deforestation, earthquakes, political oppression, armed conﬂicts and so on. The natural and socio-economic factors that constitute a barrier to sustainable development and human security are the key challenges facing Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in the twenty-ﬁrst century. Recent media reports from Africa show refugees displaced by ﬁghting, famine and stark images of starving children standing naked pleading for food. The spectre of ethnic conﬂicts and human rights abuses, widespread poverty, violence and discrimination against women, accelerated environmental degradation and the chaotic socio-cultural, economic and political systems, have created human insecurity and given an image of a continent in poverty and permanent environmental crisis. Statistics about the scale of the problems cannot be ignored because they result in the fear that Africa is a lost continent because Africans are incapable of reversing their socio-economic and environmental problems. However, in reality, all hope is not lost as a result of globalisation, communication technology, socio-economic and environmental reforms and...
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