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SUSTAINABILITY IN THE THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES G. Poyya Moli, PhD School of Ecology, Pondicherry University, India Babu P George, PhD School of Management, Pondicherry University, India Address all correspondences to Babu P George at <> Abstract: This paper explores the dimensions of Food -Energy Nexus and its ramifications on the peri-urban continuum, with implications on Human Ecology, sustainability, non-equilibrium ecology, endowment, entitlements and institutions. It highlights t h e u r g e n t n e e d f o r community-based sustainable development initiatives in the transitional, ecologically fragile regions, hitherto ignored by the policymakers/planners in the Third worlds countries. Key words: Common property resources, Food -Energy Nexus, Sustainable livelihoods. 1. Introduction More than half of the worlds population lives in areas that are classified as urban. In developing countries, a substantial and growing proportion lives in or around metropolitan areas and large cities, including the zone termed the periurban interface(PUI), where their livelihoods depend to some extent on natural resources such as land for food, water and fuel, and space for living. (Brook and Davila, 2000).

The Food-Energy Nexus is a concept, designed to understand the complex interactions between food and energy production and supply, in site specific social, economic, cultural and economic settings. It seeks towards innovative planning and policy formulation approaches to the interconnected problems of food and energy security. Thus, it is very relevant in the context of the Third World peri-urban areas (Peemans, 1987), but has received scanty attention from the researchers. Hence, the Food -Energy Nexus has far reaching ramifications on the peri-urban continuum, with implications on Human Ecology, sustainability and equity and thus need to occupy central position in development dialogue.. Increasingly, policy makers and researchers are acknowledging the potential role urban and peri-urban environments play in alleviating food insecurity and enhancing the nutritional status of urban poor and marginalized people (Drescher and Iaquinta 1999). Unfortunately, research and policy discussion surrounding PUI have been hampered by (Iaquinta and Drescher, 2000):

a lack of participation and support from international organizations, often negative attitudes by elected policy makers, inadequate organizational structures, oversimplification of issues and relationships, and the failure to adequately define fundamental terminology involved in PUI.

There is also an increasing perception that rural, peri-urban, and urban environments operate as a system rather than independently and that rural development and urban planning are necessarily linked activities. Activities or interventions in one arena have consequences in the other, often negative. On the other hand, creative policies can turn liabilities into resources and bridge the rural-urban divide (Iaquinta and Drescher, 2000).

2. Back ground Concerned with the mutually reinforcing food and energy crisis in developing countries, FEN is predicated to catalyse positive synergies by addressing simultaneously the issues of production and accessibility to food and fuel, as well as building around these twin

interrelated goals, self-reliant sustainable development or eco-development strategies (Sachs and Silk 1987, Peemans 1987; Wade 1987 Sachs 1987, Sukharomana 1988, and Sachs and Silk, 1990). Community- based urban food production systems as CaseStudies at Quezon City, Philippines, Lusaka, Zambia and the Mexico City are well documented (Wade, 1987). Urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) is one set of activities resulting in greater food production, improved livelihood opportunities for urbanites and the enhanced environmental quality of cities and indeed IDRCs sustainable urban food systems and Cities Feeding People programmes are pioneering attempts in this direction (Koc, 1999, Yasmeen, 2001) The term peri-urban is used frequently in the literature and in policy discussions, yet definitions are largely situational and case specific. They provide little basis for a unified understanding of what constitutes peri-urban. Consequently, the concept of peri-urban has become trivialized and tautological, its analytical and practical utility severely compromised (Iaquinta and Drescher, 2000). The peri-urban interface (PUI) is defined as the meeting of urban and rural activities. In environmental terms, it is the intermingling of urban, rural and natural ecological systems. This meeting of different systems creates both opportunities and problems, which have significant impact on peoples livelihoods. The growing recognition of the importance of urban and rural links has made environmental consequences of the peri-urban interface matters for priority action (DPU/UCL/DFID, undated). The peri-urban interface can be recognised in the meeting of urban and rural activities. It is described as an area of mosaic or patchwork interaction between three differing systems: urban, rural and natural (Allen, et al, 1999). An environmental perspective provides an inclusive approach to the understanding of how peri-urban systems are created and the tradeoffs which occur between a sustained balance of economic productivity, social equity, political decision making and environmental protection. However, PUI and its importance can not be understood through an ecological description alone. The peri-urban interface requires an appreciation of the interaction of the following three sub-systems: socio-economic individuals and their different levels of

organisation and multiple forms of interrelation; territorial physical transformation of natural components at varying degrees, and artificial built up components such as infrastructure, roads and housing (DPU/UCL/DFID, undated, Volume 1). Some of the concepts originally coined to describe the rural-urban interface in North America or in Europe, as the peri-urban concept itself or the more widely used in English literature urban fringe, are still in use in the Third World analyses (Adell, 1999). The PUI is a dynamic zone both spatially and structurally. Spatially it is the transition zone between fully urbanised land in cities and areas in predominantly agricultural use. It is characterised by mixed land uses and indeterminate inner and outer boundaries, and typically is split between a number of administrative areas. The land area which can be characterised as peri-urban shifts over time as cities expand. It is also a zone of rapid economic and social structural change, characterised by pressures on natural resources, changing labour market opportunities and changing patterns of land use besides interactive rural urban interactions (Harriss 1983, Rakodi, 1998, Tacoli 1998b). We have to understand the FEN problems in the highly dynamic peri-urban areas, such as rapid population growth and the associated pressure on natural resources, an economy dependent on the informal sector, widespread poverty and sub-standard housing, basic environment and public health problems and governance problems - in the context of modernization/globalisation policies. As Hall and Pfeiffer (2000) suggest, Some of the biggest problems occur in relatively small cities. They are not simple conjectural problems, but structural problems and hence need structural, alternative solutions. Unfortunately, the current development planners/policy makers in the Third world countries pay little attention to the sustainability of the FEN (in the context of meeting food/energy security) and its in separable linkages to assure the sustainability of water and livelihood security in the peri-urban landscape. As a result, these highly vulnerable landscapes are undergoing rapid and irreversible changes degradation of the Ecological resource base and disintegration of the social networks. The lower income groups are particularly vulnerable to the impacts and negative externalities of both rural and urban systems. This includes risks to their health and life and physical hazards related to the occupation of unsuitable sites, lack of access to

clean water and basic sanitation and poor housing conditions. Reducing such negative impacts of ongoing urbanization in developing countries appears to be one of the key challenges for the future of mankind (E.g. Peemans 1987, Brockerhoff 2000, Brook and Davila , 2000, Keiner 2004).Several survival and accumulation strategies with rural urban straddlers are perceived at the rural urban interface (Baker 1995). Privatization, commercialization and marginalisation are the three interrelated processes at work, making energy issues complex and variable in these transitional regions (Wisner 1978). FEN is one of the focal themes of human ecology, for there are numerous points of interactions which are related to flows of energy, materials and information, in the human ecological perspective (Rambo 1982) and the associated ecological processes (Mitchel 1979 , Alteiri 1987). Farming decisions are largely, a matter of matching the means of productions (viz: labour, technology) to the production objectives, that follow from the ideology and values which are decisions taken, in the context of complex social interventions (Marten and Saltman 1986). Individuals and families, diversify and complicate their livelihood strategies, in order to increase income, reduce vulnerability and improve the quality of life, more so under the complex, diverse and risk prone(CDR) Third world agriculture or local, complex, diverse, dynamic, and unpredictable (LCDDU) livelihoods in the peri urban areas of the third world (Chambers 1995). The rapidity of change, in small scale agriculture, in response to time (Marten 1986), under the situations where stability and sustainability are in conflict with each other (Marten and Saltman 1986) places the context of comprehending the social reality in todays marginalised Third world agriculture under the onslaught of globalization and modernization (Ryan 1978). Thus, given the situations of marginalised livelihoods with complex optimizing strategies (Put and Von Dijk; Alteiri 1995), FEN is at the fulcrum and the changing priorities (Peemans 1987).Vulnerability, coping strategies and complexities are evident under (CDR)/LCDDU livelihoods (Toulmin and Chambers 1979, Mearns 1995) in the rural-urban divide. In the peri urban transition, ownership, resources or commodities are apparently multilayered, complex and contested. Conflicts and ambiguities can occur, at any level of analysis (Devereux 1996). Diverse strands of livelihoods, historical trends, entitlement exchanges, food production

systems are tied by different knots (the nexus), in terms of food and energy in the PUI. Again, apparently, the knot loosens and tightens, under transience (from energy for food per se, towards seeking livelihoods). The diverse strands resemble a Gordian knot in space, and due to the accelerated pace of happenings, it is also a Gordian Knot in time. It will not be appropriate to unravel the knots strand by strand. Even if possible, it would give solutions too little, too late. Hence, we have to find a key which will unlock all problems and cut the Gordian knot with one swift stroke. The key is the sword of entropy as exemplified by Sastroamidjojo (1988) who emphasized that every island of order, would create an ocean of disorder around it. Hence, we have to be careful in ensuring long term sustainability of our food production and energy consumption patterns from both Environmental and socioeconomic perspective. It is to be recognised and acknowledged that though developmental narratives of history (historical ecology) are justifications towards community based sustainable development (CBSD) approaches, the assumptions of communities and environment are oversimplified and basically flawed. This is so, because the snap-shot approach, and static frames of history consider communities as homogenous and does not perceive the notions of non-equilibrium ecology, disaggregated environmental- entitlement approach. Thus the rationale of looking beyond the simplicity of degradation of the aggregate (Leach et al 1997d), becomes important. We need to know which social actors see, what components of the variable/s and dynamic ecologies, as resources, at different times to arrive at a collective vision of sustainability.

3. Peri-urban sustainability in the third world countries the emerging issues and challenges

People create peri-urban spaces, and in so doing they incidentally, and more often deliberately, shape peri-urban ecosystems. Thus, any discussion on developing sustainable development strategies for these regions requires an understanding of the ways in which social processes and the environment interact to form urban-ecological space.

Due to the inherent limitations of the fragile natural resource base in the peri-urban areas, the developmental process initiated in such areas of the Third world, in recent years has achieved short term gains, but has also led to accelerated resource degradation. The extent of overlaps (degree of match or mismatch) in such situations between the specific biophysical characteriststics of the fragile resource base, the attributes of the production systems and resource-use patterns (which is the primary cause of unsustainabilty) need be understood, in the context of the insiders and the developmental workers. The rationale of traditional systems of farming and local knowledge and management system(LKMS), as well as the present day options of complementarities between the traditional and the modern scientific resource use, could pave the way towards strategies for sustainable development in such areas (Jodha 1995). However, we can approach sustainability only through an analysis of unsustainability (Jodha ,1995). By analysing the processes that underly and determine(un) sustainable natural resource use systems, in the peri-urban fringes , we can identify the key elements,(Viz: institutional dynamics, partners in collaboration, newer enterpreuner-linked- job-cum vocational opportunities- the rural-urban advantages) of the operational framework of sustainability. Peri-urban sustainability may be defined as the ability of the peri-urban areas to maintain a certain well-defined level of performance(output of products/services) over time, and if required, to enhance the same in response to changing needs or through linkages with other systems (in the present context, FEN and extended entitlement mapping and backward linkages), without damaging the long-term productivity of its resource base (by integrating traditional knowledge and local level community initiatives and interventions focused on regenerating the micro-climate and livelihoods)and the essential ecological integrity of the system. In developing countries, Jodha (1995) emphasizes the following focus areas: Current concerns (ground-realities of transience) of poverty (analysis of livelihood strategies and well being ranking) and intra-generational equity (community-based sustainable development options). Perceptions of heterogeneous communities, diverse options

of livelihoods and disaggregated micro-environments and the under-currents of visible/invisible institutional dynamics, as well as the realities of adjustments of the marginalized are essentially the determinants, in the contemporary situation of analysis. By knowing the factors which accelerate the demands (fuel, food and livelihood security as well as changing land use priorities non-agricultural such as residential, commercial, industrial, tourism, besides infrastructures) as well as the limitations of the resource base (low productivity), we can comprehend the limits and options out of unsustainability. The unsustainability indicators, with particular reference to FEN would include: Acceptance of inferior production (Chemicalised agriculture) /consumption (more reliance on externally sourced materials) options - a survival strategy due to commercialization of the local economy? Marginalization, and decline of traditional mixed farming - acceptance of external dependency (E.g. more reliance on hybrid seeds/mono cultures and chemical fertilizers) and the associated need for farm subsidies - the powerful hidden linkage between the chemical companies and the policy makers/planners? An intense degree of desperation in resource use/production practices intentional /un-intentional overexploitation/pollution of the resource base? Immediate survival needs Vs. long term sustainable development goals? Loss(break) of resilience or capacity to face shocks- The collapse of collective group action(community) which can have potential implications on gender sensitivity - are women the invisible links in the issues of farming, fuel gathering, small trade , house hold food security/nutrition/health and thrift savings ? Break down of the systems integrity and none functioning of Ecosystem /Social linkages - short term needs? Loss of regenerative capacity of resource base due to continous cereal cropping

All these indicators would inevitably culminate in the break down of the FEN linkages at the agro-ecosystem and household levels. The recently emerging participatory action research methodology attempts to explore the unsustainability indicators, and analyse them from the

community perspectives (E.g.Mayoux, 2001, Chambers and Mayoux 2004, Mikkelsen, 2005). Evidences can also be collected from environmental history, time-lines, archival records, seasonal calendars and transects. The sustainability of PUI is affected by the dynamic and changing flows of commodities, capital, natural resources, people and pollution in the periurban interface (Allen 2001). Despite this fact, development policy and systems of governance continue to treat rural and urban development as independent, largely unconnected sectors (Rabinovitch, 2001). Hence, we have to embrace the principle of integration at various levels - spatial (rural-urban), temporal (the past, present and future), sectoral (agricultural, industrial, commercial , etc.) and development policies/programmes. This cannot happen without the active cooperation of the civil society at large. Conservation and needs of local people cannot be addressed independent of each other. In order, the duality be expounded, we need to focus on- active participation of relevant stakeholders, their ingenuity, social cultural sensitivity, economic judgment and provide sufficient time for developing optimum solutions that work in unique contexts. Only the locals can effectively identify both the needs and the specific compromises that would safeguard them, while satisfying conservation needs/priorities. Hence, we have to work towards integration of conservation with local livelihoods. 4. Towards peri-urban sustainability in the Third world The following characteristics make the planning and management of the peri-urban interface distinctive (DPU/UCL/DFID, undated, Volume 3): Changing locations. The peri-urban interface creates a changing mix of Changing populations. The populations directly affected by the peri-urban

both urban and rural activities. interface are changing, as the interface introduces new people from both urban and rural areas. As a result, the network of actors and institutions relevant to the periurban interface is dynamic.

Weak and overlapping institutional structures. The peri-urban interface

is subject to many competing interests without an adequate institutional framework to strike a fair and just balance among them that might contribute to relieving poverty and protecting the environment.

Hence, carrying out a strategy to benefit the poor and to enhance the sustainability of the natural resource base of the peri-urban interface is a complex enterprise. Understanding the community needs, priorities and attitudes is a primer for CBSD. A number of workers emphasise different approaches, including the value of local communities and the importance of public participation (Douglass and Friedmann 1997, Malbert 1998, Holston 1999), a grassroots approach (Douglass 1995, Abers 1997 and 2001) and the decentralization and democratization of planning decisions (Sandercock, 2002). Central to all these approaches is the support needed for training and capacity development. An example for training support is the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). ICLEI is an international association of local governments implementing sustainable development. Its mission is to build and serve a worldwide movement of local governments to achieve tangible improvements in global sustainability with a special focus on environmental conditions through cumulative local actions. Through its campaigns, ICLEI helps local governments generate political awareness of key issues, build capacity through technical assistance and training and evaluate local and cumulative progress toward sustainable development. ICLEI serves as an information clearinghouse on sustainable development by providing policy guidance, training and technical assistance, and consultant services to increase the capacity of local governments to address global challenges (ICLEI, 2004). Recently, ICLEI has entered into partnership with Local Governments for Sustainability, UN-HABITAT, the Asian Institute for Technology (AIT), the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH) and the University of Northumbria at Newcastle (UNN) in the innovative project - RELAy Research for Local Action towards Sustainable Human Settlements, funded by the European Commission, Directorate-General for Research. One of the out comes of this unique partnership is the publication of guidelines for bridging the gap between research and local authorities for achieving urban sustainability (Keiner, 2006).

Sustainable Cities (1992) doubt that the environment-driven approach towards sustainability, as it appears in Europe and North America through Local Agenda 21 processes, would work for developing countries: It may be misleading to refer to many of the most pressing environmental problems in Third World cities as environmental since they arise not from some particular shortage of an environmental resource but from economic or political factors which prevent poorer groups from obtaining them and from organizing to demand them. Perlman et al. (1998) reach a similar conclusion: There can be no sustainable city of the 21st Century without social justice and political participation, as well as economic vitality and ecological regeneration.

The linking thread for ensuring the five vital securities (viz:Natural ,Human ,Financial , Physical and Social) is the food energy nexus based on local self sufficiency/self reliance. Hence, alternative agricultural strategies such as Low external input sustainable agriculture (LEISA), commercial organic horticulture, integrated farming systems and Permaculture have to be considered for adoption after ascertaining the site specific conditions (E.g. Shukla and Rajan 1995, Holmer, 2001, Little and Edwards, 2003, Parkinson and Tayler 2003, Weinberger and Lumpkin. 2005). Food security is considered a basic human right, which extends to the right to safe food and information about the content of food eaten (AGORA et al 1995, FAO 1996, UNHCR 1996). Food security is more than producing a sufficient volume of food in a given country or region; it is people's entitlement to available nutritious and safe food over time. A range of definitions suggest at least seven key conditions for secure food systems (Adapted from Barraclough 1996; Pretty et al 1996, Koc, 1999, Thrupp and Megateli , 1999 ): Reliable capacity (technical/Economic) of communities, nations, and regions to produce and store food in adequate quantities Social acceptability of production systems with particular reference to local traditions and cultures.

Equity in access to food and to productive resources for all individuals and groups, as determined by entitlement (i.e. the ability to buy, exchange, or acquire food and gain access to or control of productive resources in terms of class, gender, ethnic, racial and age differentials)

Sufficiency/adequacy (in food quantity) or ability to cope with insufficiency Nutritional security at the household level (i.e. adequate protein, energy, micronutrients, and safe food for all household members, including women, men and children)

Socially and environmentally sustainable food production, distribution and consumption over time and Low risk and vulnerability to economic and ecological fluctuations.

Although there are very few publications on environmental planning and management for the PUI (E.g. DPU/UCL/DFID, undated, Volume 1 and Volume 3, Rabinovitch 2001 ), principles that should guide such a process can be drawn from the characteristics outlined by several workers from other areas of concern (Agarwal and Narain, 1989 and 1997; Berkes, 1986 and 1989, Bromley, 1992, Korten, 1986, Morse et al. 1995, Poyyamoli, 1993, Singh, 1994, Singh and Ballabh, 1996, Miller, 2005, United Nations, 2005 ). These guidelines are not intended as a blueprint for action but as a map to lead the users through the different challenges of creating and strengthening the process of peri-urban sustainability. Construction of energy/environment/socio-economic data base - by action research involving local communities, NGos/CBOs,


Government agencies and other interested stake-holders and by integrating modern tools such as GIS, RS, GPS, EIA, Ecological foot prints, sustainable livelihoods analysis, etc. Clear boundaries - The use of ecological boundaries to define environmental planning, assessment and management of units - Geographically comprehensive areas with levels of analyses including interactions among physical, chemical, biological, and social components water sheds, eco-regions, etc.

Ability to exclude free riders and to deal with the transboundary issues;

greater sense of ownership and responsibility to defend and regulate the use/management of natural resources such as ground water, common land /water bodies/wetlands, Biodiversity in the peri-urban landscape. Establishment of a local level institution with equal participation of all households which will also have equal power in decision making for local level sustainable management of natural resources - this institution will evolve appropriates codes of conduct/incentives/disincentives for the management of common property resources for local, decentralized management such as voluntary contracts by mutual trust/cooperation, zoning to distribute the human impacts on the habitat - regulation of housing, transportation, industrialization, and waste disposal (based on the differential sensitivity to disturbance), impact limitations like permissible level of disturbance/pollutants, yield constraints like selective felling of trees and periodic closure during prohibited seasons like breeding/reproductive seasons during which no harvesting is allowed; The state/central Governments will have to evolve effective financial mechanisms like taxation, subsidies, soft loans, price controls etc. to regulate periurban activities NGOs and research institutions have to act like catalysts for energy/environmental education/training/capacity building using the local examples as well as best practice case studies from else where; such local governance systems are more likely to be successful if they are reasonably small, ensuring socio-economic homogeneity of the members, presence of an active voluntary organization, no/minimum interference from Government agencies/politicians, assuring a major fraction of the benefits of protection/rational utilization of the natural resources to go to the local community Adopting appropriate energy/environmental technologies which are technologically simple, socially acceptable and economically feasible by choosing a "least-cost optimum mix based on life cycle cost basis e.g. appropriate technologies for management of freshwater resources such as harvesting rain-water using bunding, terracing, re-vegetation, roof-top harvesting, reducing wastage of

water use by increasing efficiency in irrigation and recycling waste-water; sustainable management of soil resources and agro ecosystems by organic farming, earth-worm culture and release, perma-culture, crop rotation, integrated pest management ( IPM) etc; sustainable management of forest ecosystems by afforestation using fast-growing, indigenous multipurpose tree species, encouraging natural regeneration by reducing human impacts, inter-phase forestry and social forestry and various in- situ and ex-situ conservation strategies involving local communities; development of grasslands by controlled grazing, stall feeding, herd splitting, re-seeding the grasslands and controlled use of fire; sustainable management of desert ecosystems by appropriate water harvesting/re-use technologies like bunding, terracing, mulching, shelterbelts, micro-catchment farming, reducing human/cattle numbers below the carrying capacity, optimum use of space, water and nutrients for the crops and other cultivated plants; ecodevelopment of coastal ecosystems by re-vegetation to maintain soil vegetal cover against erosion, water harvesting and re-use, desalination, Substitution/augmentation/conservation wherever possible/feasible ; some of the appropriate energy technologies will include (estimated energy savings %, given in brackets- conservative estimates) - improved wood - stoves (25%), solar cookers (50%), pressure cookers (70%) solar water heaters (80%), improved lighting systems (50%), improved bullock carts (50%), fuel efficient crematoria (50%); besides, there are other potential technologies based on the local availability and relative costs of renewable resources and technologies like biomass gasifiers, wind mills, aero-generators, photovoltaics, solar thermal power plants etc; the decentralized power generation using locally available renewable resources like sun, wind, biomass, flowing water will save 20-25% of electricity lost through transmission and distribution losses. As far as energy resources are concerned, more emphasis/reliance will have to be on end-use matching strategies (matching the fuels optimal social/economical/environmental/energy quality characteristics to the specific end-use) based on renewable resources due to local availability, cost effectiveness, the renew ability and lesser pollution generation potential. This calls for an integrated approach towards solving energy/environmental problems. We

have to ultimately integrate several sectors (e.g. Forestry, Agriculture, Animal husbandry, industry etc); besides, integration has to be done at temporal (past, present and future trends in natural resource utilization pattern) and spatial (local, regional and global levels) scales also. Integration of appropriate energy technologies can have compensatory (e.g. PV and wind mill) and synergistic effects (e.g. biogas production using animal dung and water hyacinth). Such integration has to be done in a phased manner, to allow for making any changes, based on participatory monitoring and feedback. Effective pollution control and management technologies by integrating pollution control with resource recovery the application of newly emerging industrial ecology approaches Development of urban and periurban markets and support to commercial Promotion of community based Heritage Eco-cultural tourism for and subsistence horticulture, aquaculture and livestock enterprises integrating conservation with the revival of heritage, culture along with sustainable livelihoods at the local level Using mass media like radio, TV, video, newspapers and other print media, role-play etc. the transfer and adoption of appropriate folk-lore,

energy/environmental technologies can be made more effective. Instead of inducting external change agents for catalyzing appropriate socio-economic changes, it is preferable to promote horizontal transfer of technologies by using local volunteers. Partnerships and Stakeholder Involvement are now widely recognized at the policy circles , but during implementation they are monopolized by the elites; this can be avoided by ensuring active participation, transparency and accountability; hence, the emerging information and communication technologies (ICTS) have a greater role to play in catalyzing and ensuring the cooperation of such partnerships to foster pro-poor approaches. Integrating the green global and the brown local agendas in order to link global and local sustainability,











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