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

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

4. CONSEQUENCE

4. CONSEQUENCE OFINACTIONIn the absence of the bulk of data, it is difficult to make assertions regarding theconsequences of inaction in NA. But one issue does stand out more than others andcertainly needs attention. We are referring to the fuelwood issue. As the Energypaper points out, only 40 percent of households in NA have access to electricity.This means that at least 60 percent of households require energy from alternativesources. At the national level, 61 percent in rural areas rely on fuelwood. TheEnergy paper also demonstrates that fuelwood comprises the bulk of energyrequirements in NA, whereas kerosene and LPG are used but less intensively. Thissuggests that fuelwood provides the poor with access to energy outside of thecommercial realm, and thus, is the main source of energy security in the country.The most crucial point here is that neither the forestry policy of the country nor theenergy policy bears any relevance to the conditions faced by the vast majority ofhouseholds. Intuitively then the forests play a central role in energy security andperhaps this is the primary if not the exclusive function of forests. This wouldrequire altering the forest policy to ensure that forests supply this function on asustainable basis. While the current energy policy has not demonstrated anyalternative vision that could protect the forests without endangering energysecurity.It is perhaps here that instances of a downward spiral may be observed. Thesymptoms are classics: lack of alternative energy supplies, increasing populationpressure, the needs of the poor, and the nature of forest management and propertyrights could decimate forests and livelihoods in NA. However, this represents a keyarea of future research, as in the absence of any alternatives and locally-specificfactors leaves the state of forests and poor people in a tenuous state.27

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