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288. Resource Security and Poverty Eradication

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A paper published in Nature Sustainability in April 2021 discussed the importance of resource security in poverty eradication. According to this study, human demand for natural resources increasingly outstrips the speed of the Earth's biological recovery. As a result, the capacity of ecosystems to regenerate biomass has become a material constraint for human economies. 

The analysis showed that as of 2017, almost 72% of the world's population lived in countries where the supply of biological resources does not meet demand. When income levels in these countries are low, their economies have less purchasing power to procure the resources they need in the global marketplace. Some countries in the world, such as Singapore and Hong Kong, are not rich in resources but are able to maintain their economic standards due to high income and purchasing power in the international market. However, many developing countries are trapped in this so-called ‘ecological poverty trap’ because their low incomes do not allow them to supplement their lack of biological resources.

According to the Global Footprint Network, humanity is currently using the resources of 1.6 worth of the planet’s resources, exceeding 60% of the Earth's renewable resources, and since the early 1970s, the demand for ecosystems has continued to outstrip the supply. The paper mapped the countries on a 2-dimensional space based on domestic resource security and international purchasing strength. In this analysis, Japan belongs to the group of countries where the supply of biological resources does not meet the demand but the income is high (shown in the paper as Figure 2: Biocapacity Deficit/High Income). Japan is heavily dependent on international trade, especially for food, relying on international trade for about 60% of its calorie base, making it one of the top food importers in the world. The sustainability and stability of the global food system is Japan's lifeline, and it is essential to work with the international community to resolve food system issues. JIRCAS will continue to provide Japan and the world with the latest information on food security.

Mathis Wackernagel et al. The importance of resource security for poverty eradication, Nature Sustainability (2021). DOI: 10.1038/s41893-021-00708-4

Contributor: IIYAMA Miyuki (Director, Information Program)

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