where the experts come to talk

Dying to eat

What could food shortages mean for security? How would they affect the role of the military? And which areas are most under threat?

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Nobody starves willingly

so you can get a war out of that.

It is introducing a new chapter

in world food security.

One that is fraught with risk.

What are the possible results

of increased food insecurity?

There will be a very delicate

military slash diplomatic problem

in terms of preserving the security,

the integrity of the borders,

because we have borders with

the countries that will be impacted.

And will be generating the refugees,

will be desperate,

will perhaps be driven to what

you may call unreasonable measures

because otherwise they starve.

The pressure of refugees,

climate refugees if you will,

is going to be so great that it will get

beyond being purely a police

problem.

And borders will

to some extent be militarised,

not against the threat of an invasion,

but against the waves of refugees

that are washing up against them.

Like the fence that India is currently

building around Bangladesh.

Now it’s there

to stop economic refugees,

of whom there are millions in

the states surrounding Bangladesh,

but you know, and if you go to Delhi

and talk to people they will admit it

that this is

also a precaution for a future

where half of Bangladesh, alright

20 percent, has gone under water

and there’s 30 million people

trying to get out.

So, let’s get the fence up now.

What is new

about 21st century food security?

There are a dozen or more

countries trying to acquire land

outside their boundaries

in order to ensure their food security.

It’s not land, it’s land and water.

Land without water

it’s not worth anything.

Now we see a competition for land

crossing national boundaries,

in a way that we’ve not seen before.

And it is introducing a new chapter

in world food security.

When grain prices rise again,

as they inevitably will,

it’s going to become difficult

for the countries that have invested

in hungry countries, like Ethiopia

and the Sudan for example,

to get that food out without facing

riots and potential insurgencies

from hungry people

when they see food from their country

leaving and going elsewhere.

And a lot of the conflicts could ripple

around the world in different forms.

They could translate into

economic constraints or embargoes,

or what have you,

but the stresses are clearly building.

What can be done

to address these problems?

No country is going to accept

30 percent of the population

being from way far away

and not speaking the local language.

We stop it before that,

so, this has got to be stopped.

Yes, there’s a border issue. How do

you keep them from sifting across?

There are other ways

of addressing the problem

in terms of giving the aid

so they can stay home,

which will help the countries

that would be generating

these waves to feed their people.

You saw at the Copenhagen

Summit in December,

although it was a failure,

a remarkably large number

being bandied about:

a hundred billion dollars

a year by 2020,

in aid which essentially would be

coming from the developed countries

to the developing countries

a) to help them get out of fossil fuels

and b) to help them deal

with the consequences,

which for them will be earlier

and worse, of climate change.

In terms of being able

to feed their people

and the wellbeing of the population

which is under severe climate strain.

The European Union’s frontiers

with the Middle East and,

across the Mediterranean with Africa,

are going to be under enormous

pressure as things get worse,

because the sub-tropics

take a bigger, worse hit

than the temperate zone that we

live in. Now Europe is mostly NATO.

And the rest of NATO,

that is to say North America,

will have its own problems

with te border

between the developed world

and that former Third World,

between the US and Mexico.

Ways of controlling that pressure

without getting into confrontation

and possibly some new form

of polarisation, like the old Cold War,

have to be found. And I think

NATO is probably the organisation

that is going to play the largest role,

other than the diplomats,

in doing this.

Nobody starves willingly

so you can get a war out of that.

It is introducing a new chapter

in world food security.

One that is fraught with risk.

What are the possible results

of increased food insecurity?

There will be a very delicate

military slash diplomatic problem

in terms of preserving the security,

the integrity of the borders,

because we have borders with

the countries that will be impacted.

And will be generating the refugees,

will be desperate,

will perhaps be driven to what

you may call unreasonable measures

because otherwise they starve.

The pressure of refugees,

climate refugees if you will,

is going to be so great that it will get

beyond being purely a police

problem.

And borders will

to some extent be militarised,

not against the threat of an invasion,

but against the waves of refugees

that are washing up against them.

Like the fence that India is currently

building around Bangladesh.

Now it’s there

to stop economic refugees,

of whom there are millions in

the states surrounding Bangladesh,

but you know, and if you go to Delhi

and talk to people they will admit it

that this is

also a precaution for a future

where half of Bangladesh, alright

20 percent, has gone under water

and there’s 30 million people

trying to get out.

So, let’s get the fence up now.

What is new

about 21st century food security?

There are a dozen or more

countries trying to acquire land

outside their boundaries

in order to ensure their food security.

It’s not land, it’s land and water.

Land without water

it’s not worth anything.

Now we see a competition for land

crossing national boundaries,

in a way that we’ve not seen before.

And it is introducing a new chapter

in world food security.

When grain prices rise again,

as they inevitably will,

it’s going to become difficult

for the countries that have invested

in hungry countries, like Ethiopia

and the Sudan for example,

to get that food out without facing

riots and potential insurgencies

from hungry people

when they see food from their country

leaving and going elsewhere.

And a lot of the conflicts could ripple

around the world in different forms.

They could translate into

economic constraints or embargoes,

or what have you,

but the stresses are clearly building.

What can be done

to address these problems?

No country is going to accept

30 percent of the population

being from way far away

and not speaking the local language.

We stop it before that,

so, this has got to be stopped.

Yes, there’s a border issue. How do

you keep them from sifting across?

There are other ways

of addressing the problem

in terms of giving the aid

so they can stay home,

which will help the countries

that would be generating

these waves to feed their people.

You saw at the Copenhagen

Summit in December,

although it was a failure,

a remarkably large number

being bandied about:

a hundred billion dollars

a year by 2020,

in aid which essentially would be

coming from the developed countries

to the developing countries

a) to help them get out of fossil fuels

and b) to help them deal

with the consequences,

which for them will be earlier

and worse, of climate change.

In terms of being able

to feed their people

and the wellbeing of the population

which is under severe climate strain.

The European Union’s frontiers

with the Middle East and,

across the Mediterranean with Africa,

are going to be under enormous

pressure as things get worse,

because the sub-tropics

take a bigger, worse hit

than the temperate zone that we

live in. Now Europe is mostly NATO.

And the rest of NATO,

that is to say North America,

will have its own problems

with te border

between the developed world

and that former Third World,

between the US and Mexico.

Ways of controlling that pressure

without getting into confrontation

and possibly some new form

of polarisation, like the old Cold War,

have to be found. And I think

NATO is probably the organisation

that is going to play the largest role,

other than the diplomats,

in doing this.

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quotes
Ahmad Shah Masood
Resistance leader and Afghan national hero
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