Privatization Of Natural Resources: A Critical Threat To Sustainable Development

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Privatization Of Natural Resources: A Critical Threat To Sustainable Development

Written By: Meghna Prust


To achieve their basic requirements, the majority of the world’s poor rely on open access resources such as fisheries, forests, and farmland. Natural resources are important for economic development since they support people’s livelihoods. Several economic and natural resource studies have highlighted the importance of these resources in serving as safety nets for those who are unable to find work elsewhere, such as in the service or manufacturing sectors (Dasgupta and Maler, Reference Dasgupta, Maler, Chenery, and Srinivasan1995; Baland and Platteau, Reference Baland and Platteau1996; Baumgärtner, Reference Baumgärtner2007; Delacote, Reference Delacot However, many of these resources lack effective regulation or enforceable property rights, making them vulnerable to resource abuse, overexploitation, and depletion, with severe consequences for harvesters’ wages.

These negative repercussions, such as the issue of rent dissipation, render the open-access regime ineffective, necessitating intervention.

In general, there are two approaches to dealing with resource usage in open access situations. One possibility is to establish a governing body that is in charge of regulating resource use and harvesting behavior. The government or a common property institution created by resource users could be this authority. There has been a lot of research done on common property management.


Nestle pays $2.25 per million liters per month for a piece of land and the local right to natural drinking water from aquifers for the “crops” on that piece of land in tiny rural villages all over the world. Nestle taps into the aquifer and bottles and sells a million liters of water in that month. Month after month, it does this until the aquifers are effectively dried up. The town is then left practically penniless, and these farming villages are left without water for their crops. There is a risk of food shortages and economic collapse if no crops are grown in areas that were once important crop producers.

This stifles the area’s progress, particularly in underdeveloped countries. Many underdeveloped countries do not have access to safe drinking water unless they purchase water bottles, making them reliant on big multinational corporations. This stifles the area’s growth and development rather than assisting them in achieving self-sufficiency. This could be accomplished, for example, by constructing water purification systems that will, in the long run, be a key contribution to the growth of the area.

The danger of water scarcity and droughts is the most destructive result of water commodification that directly affects humans. Stopping climate change is one of the most significant global environmental initiatives right now, and stopping the melting of the icecaps is a big element of that. Stopping this will safeguard not only arctic species but also freshwater, as the IceCaps are the world’s largest freshwater resource. We lose this water as the ice caps melt and seep into the ocean. As a result, natural drinking water is a critically threatened resource.

Threat to sustainable development

A system or process is sustainable if it can function indefinitely without diminishing the material and energy resources required to keep it going. The phrase was first used to describe the concept of long-term yields in human endeavors like forestry and fishing. Trees, fish and other biological organisms develop and reproduce at rates that are quicker than those required to maintain population stability.

Every species has the ability to augment or replace its population in the event of a natural disaster. As a result, a specific percentage of trees or fish can be harvested each year without depleting the forest or reducing the fish population below a given threshold. The technique can be sustained indefinitely as long as the number harvested stays within the population’s capacity to develop and replace itself. The harvest signifies a long-term yield.

Only when trees are cut down or fish are taken at a rate that exceeds the current population’s ability to reproduce and develop does it become unsustainable. A sustainable yield can also be applied to freshwater sources, soils, and natural systems’ ability to absorb pollutants without being harmed. The surroundings around you.

Ecosystems might be included in the concept of sustainability. Sustainable ecosystems are whole natural systems that survive and grow throughout time by recycling nutrients, maintaining a diverse range of organisms in balance, and utilizing the Sun as a source of renewable energy. Sustainability. Stewardship, science, and stewardship are three strategic themes, concepts, or values that might help civilizations advance toward a more sustainable future.


In terms of providing fundamental human requirements, integrating environmental development and conservation, attaining equality, preserving social self-determination and cultural variety, and sustaining ecological integrity, sustainable development should provide a solution. Although the notion of sustainable development has evolved over time, its essential principles and goals have helped to more mindful behavior that is tailored to the environment’s constraints. This is why the concept has been adopted in a variety of human activities.

Several international organizations were involved in the concept’s execution, and while it was well-received locally, it did not provide significant effects on a global scale. This fact demonstrates that environmental issues persist 30 years after the notion was introduced. The United Nations Millennium Development Goals, which focus on a complex global scenario such as population expansion, hunger and poverty, wars and political instability, and additional environmental deterioration, reflect the current understanding of the notion of sustainable development.

Many countries are still far from achieving sustainable development, and the divide between developed and developing nations has widened. Fundamental impediments to implementing the notion of sustainable development include the lack of socio-economic growth in many nations, which is linked to a lack of financial resources and technology, as well as the diversity of global political and economic aims.


Meghna Prusty - The Law Communicants

Meghna Prusty

Student at The Law College, Utkal University

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