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Population, Poverty and Environment Population, Poverty ... - IUCN

Population, Poverty and Environment Population, Poverty ... - IUCN

asis of support to

asis of support to bolster poor people’s confidence in their own ability andjudgement. We now move on to look at the current status of population, povertyand environment in Northern Areas.Box 2: An ExampleUsing a Northern Areas household and myself as examples, we want to illustrate the essence of thediscussions so far on vulnerability, resilience and self-sufficiency. I, as an individual, strategise todevelop a set of endowments of assets and resources within a certain context, which is reflective oflocally specific as well as national and global factors. These assets include, for example, humancapital (foreign degrees), physical capital (car and equipment), financial capital (stocks, bonds, bankaccounts, employment), natural capital (property) and social capital (the social networks I take partin). Together these assets contribute to self-sufficiency, resilience and empowerment in a dynamicsense. By holding a diverse portfolio of assets, I spread the risk against shocks that may threaten oneor more of my assets. So, for example, if tomorrow I find myself out of a job I can use my financialcapital to absorb the shock and by using my human and social capital I can overcome the long-termimpacts of this shock. With the presence of market, state and civil society institutions means that Ican access resources from different spheres (such as commodities, jobs, state provided services, legalrights, gifts and exchange). Hence, my endowments entitle me to access resources from differentspheres, and contribute to my conception of livelihood security.8A Northern Areas farmer living in a relatively inaccessible, fragile and marginal mountainarea, his strategy to develop a set of endowment of assets and resources would be differentand governed by locally specific as well as national and global factors. If market and stateinstitutions are generally meagre, a bulk of the strategy may focus on building collectiveinstitutions (social capital). Hence, the individual and collective elements will tend tooverlap more so. With an endowment of land, a NA farmer may choose to diversifyfarming (e.g. grow grain crops, vegetables and fruit trees) even though it may reduceoverall productivity but supports ecosystem services. This strategy would besupplemented by a local system of knowledge (human capital) to see, for example, whatcrops work best and why. So if one crop fails, this shock can be absorbed by the availabilityof other crops. Moreover, by building social capital an household’s welfare may besupplemented by the availability of food in the community in the time of crisis. The farmerwould also be dependent on common property resources such as forests, rangelands andwater. Collective institutions (of the poor) would also be necessitated to access, control andmanage common property resources because of collective benefits to livelihoods andcollective costs to livelihoods such as landslides. In the literature, these are referred to asinformal institutions that set the norms and rules for governing local natural resourcemanagement (Forsyth, et al, 1998)A major question that arises is what are the implications for livelihoods and commonp roperty natural re s o u rces if, for example, the state supersedes local institutions and imposesthe norms and rules for governing access, control and management to these re s o u rc e s ?

2 . PROFILE OF POPULAT I O N ,P O V E RTY ANDENVIRONMENT IN THE NAsNorthern Areas (NA) of Pakistan are indeed unique and majestic sites. NA areworld renowned for its prominent mountains, enormous glaciers, glorious riversand fabulous valleys. They also represent one of the few places in the world whereone can find such concentration of high mountains as the landscape is dominatedby some of the world’s highest mountain peaks including 5 peaks over 8,000 m. NAare also the site for the convergence of three of the world’s great mountain ranges,namely, the Himalayas, Karakoram and Hindu Kush. It is important to note theenvironmental context of the NAs that geologists point out, namely that thesemountains are young and still growing. Craggy peaks, cliffs and steep slopescharacterise the topography of the area. Aside from Skardu, the mountain valleysare usually narrow, deep and steep in appearance. These valleys are sites for prettymuch all of the population as well as most of the available arable land in NA. Thehigh mountains bar the monsoon rains to reach in NA. As a result most of thevalleys of NA receive little rainfall and are characterised by a desert-like condition.Average rainfall is under 200 mm, and hence, agricultural activities are dependenton the supply of irrigation water. The areas above 4,000 m and above are sites forsnowfall. The NAhave the highest concentration of glaciers after the Polar Regions.Some of the longest glaciers of the world are found in these mountain ranges, forexample, Siachin is 78 km long.2.1. Population of Northern AreasTable 2.1 gives a breakdown of population in different Districts and Tehsils in theNorthern Areas. According to Population Census Organisation the total populationof NA in 1998 was 870,347 with urban population being 122,324 or 14 percent andrural population being 748,023 or 86 percent of the total. The population growthrate 1 was estimated to be 2.7 percent, as compared to 2.6 percent nationally.Assuming this population growth rate to be constant (and ignoring outmigration2 ), the current population of NAshould be 968,220 with 504,187 males and464,033 females. This would make population density around 13.35 persons/Km,whereas in 1998, the national average was 166 persons/Km. If we eliminate 48,100Km (see Table 2.6 Sr. 1 or about 66 percent of the area) because these are consideredinhabitable areas, population density would now reach about 40 persons/Km stillfar below the national average.9There is lack of dis-aggregated data, or we have not been able to access it, to furnishthe real population structure for NA. Rather we use the dis-aggregated data from 2districts (namely Gilgit and Ghizar) and extrapolate the Population Pyramid for theentire NA. Using the Figure, we can deduce that even if the NA birth rate were1. This is defined as "the number of persons added to (or subtracted from) a population in a year dueto natural increase and net migration expressed as a percentage of the population at the beginningof the time period (PPA, 2002)".2 However, in lieu of high rates of out-migration the figure would be lower.

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