Environmental security may never be achieved without the involvement of the global community since it transcends national boundaries. In this view, the concept of environmental security involves the evaluation of the prevailing ecological conditions as well as security interests that influence the sustainability of the global flora and fauna. The need for environmental security calls for the deployment of systems that foster the sustainability of the environment.
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According to Blinovskaya (2012), environmental security systems employ a “system analysis” approach that facilitates the identification of various aspects of the ecological structure, defines the functional association between these elements, and/or determines the underlying positive and negative interactions between the specified mechanisms.
The United Nations (UN) is one of the international bodies that emphasize the need for cooperation to facilitate the successful implementation of environmental security. Moreover, the embracement of mutual aid in the fight against environmental degradation can help to mitigate the free-rider problem. Various UN summits have resulted in the establishment of agreements and conventions such as the Kyoto Protocol and the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development (Benchekroun & Chaudhuri, 2015).
Nonetheless, the reluctance of some member states to implement such resolutions escalates the free-rider problem, which may be mitigated through a cooperative approach. With a focus on the GCC countries, this paper investigates the current state of affairs concerning environmental security. It also recommends the need for international cooperation and agreements to achieve global ecological security.
The Current Situation of Environmental Security in GCC Countries
The concept of environmental security refers to the establishment of public safety measures that protect the ecological system from dangers triggered by human or natural processes. Human activities that lead to environmental degradation arise from ignorance, mismanagement, accident, or design occurring within or across national borders. The Arabian Peninsula, which is comprised of the GCC countries, is currently facing significant challenges concerning environmental security. The region is characterized by overreliance on natural resources, including oil and gas (Al-Rashed & Akber, 2015). Revenue from the sale of these resources has led to the burgeoning development observed over the last two decades.
This situation has made GCC countries a hub of economic, industrial, political, military, and tourism among other activities. Nevertheless, due to the exploitation of natural resources, the GCC region faces considerable environmental issues, including overgrazing, desertification, and water scarcity among other ecological problems (Al-Rashed & Akber, 2015). It is imperative to note that natural and new threats to biodiversity are interrelated. Other severe issues include air pollution global warming effects, which have sprouted from the continued intensification of developments in GCC countries. According to Ramadan (2015), the population in the region is increasing rapidly. This situation has resulted in amplified demand for energy and water resources.
Water scarcity is one of the most alarming challenges that threaten the environmental security of GCC countries. This region is experiencing an enormous shortage of water resources of approximately 20 billion cubic meters (Al-Rashed & Akber, 2015). Efforts to address this problem by setting up high-tech desalination plants and the harvesting of groundwater have been frustrated by the conflict between agrarian and domestic sectors concerning the prevailing water scarcity.
Al-Rashed and Akber (2015) reveal that the current aridity, amplified population growth, and agronomic regulations in the GCC region have worsened the environmental situation. Wasteful utilization of water for irrigation through ancient practices and high levels of unaccountability in the domestic sector are common. As a result, there is a continued deterioration of water resources at the expense of the environment.
Waste generation in the GCC countries is rated among the highest internationally, with the largest percentage of surplus materials ending up in landfills. This situation has adversely affected biodiversity because of the resulting damage to diverse ecosystems. The government is now establishing coordinated approaches to protecting the environment from the above adverse ecological issues, which can lead to the death of wildlife.
The recklessness of land use has amounted to degradation and desertification in GCC countries. This region’s burgeoning population has resulted in a shift in the social order pattern and consumption systems, which have significant implications for flora and fauna. These circumstances have brought about droughts and excessive exploitation of natural resources, hence leading to the continued desertification.
The Role and Importance of International Cooperation with Special Regards to GCC Countries
The need for protecting the global environment is one of the most debated topics today. Focusing on the management of various environmental factors that degrade or boost the sustainability of the environment is important for the reinforcement of biodiversity and ensuring long-term global economic growth. The rise of new global actors in the improvement of environmental security has increased the level of interdependence among states (Halicioglu & Ketenci, 2016). This situation has led to international cooperation whose aim is to develop initiatives to protect the environment from continued devastation.
The accomplishment of sustainable development goals requires GCC countries to collaborate with the global community. Since environmental security problems affect the entire globe, state and non-state participants need to work together in efforts geared towards safeguarding the environment from damage. Many countries today face numerous ecological predicaments associated with water pollution, air contamination, soil and forest degradation, the deterioration of health among the citizens of GCC countries, and biodiversity loss. Cooperation can encourage different countries to endorse treaties and policies that seek to solve shared environmental problems.
The primary role of international cooperation is to develop a universal environmental conservation plan that embraces sustainable practices. In the past, individual nations have shown little interest in the protection of natural resources. International cooperation ensures that all countries work on a common plan to foster environmental sustainability (Halicioglu & Ketenci, 2016). However, it is important to note that states have varying values for biodiversity depending on its contribution to their overall economic growth. In addition, some countries emit more greenhouse gases compared to others due to their varying levels and types of production processes.
The above phenomenon often fails to adhere to some shared sustainability plans. The role of international cooperation comes into play to ensure that global actors appreciate the importance of environmental protection. According to Aleisa and Al-Shayji (2018), GCC countries are leading in the development and implementation of one of the world’s greatest ecological footprints following the severity of environmental problems facing them.
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Achieving their ecological protection goal requires them to work closely with the international community to combat climate change (Halicioglu & Ketenci, 2016). Global organizations such as the United Nations among other institutions have played a great role in ensuring international cohesiveness. Sustainability issues affect countries across the world, regardless of their contribution to environmental destruction. Hence, GCC countries can only realize effective environmental security results after collaborating with state and non-state actors to develop shared strategies that seek to address the current threat posed to the global flora and fauna.
International Agreements and Duties to Implement them into the National Legislation with Special Regards to GCC Countries
The incorporation of international agreements into domestic environmental laws is a practice that aims at ensuring that countries around the globe adhere to the same regulations regarding ecological security (Al-Maamary, Kazem, & Chaichan, 2017). Some nations regard ratified international regulations as a part of the domestic law. However, other countries require the globally established treaties to pass through legislative procedures for national endorsement. Universal agreements are important in the ratification of conventions and customary rules that protect the environment from unsustainable development (Al-Maamary et al., 2017). International bodies such as the UN Environment Program (UNEP) enforce such regulations by sensitizing people regarding the need for facing current ecological challenges.
GCC countries recently agreed to work cooperatively with the UNEP in dealing with the prevailing environmental issues (Abdmouleh, Alammari, & Gastli, 2015). This agreement underpins the development of an integrated system that will ensure proper handling of harmful industrial wastes, provide strategies for protecting coastal ecosystems, and improve air and water quality (Halicioglu & Ketenci, 2016).
Under regulations stipulated in this accord, GCC countries agreed to implement a comprehensive action plan toward environmental protection. In addition, international agreements help in the identification of a country’s structures, organizations, and powers to classify common environmental issues that lead to biodiversity loss and damage to ecosystems (Abdmouleh et al., 2015). The agreement between the UNEP and GCC countries has helped to revisit their environmental standards, laws, and legislation. The goal is to develop appropriate endorsements for sustainable environmental developments. This move is paramount to the protection of scarce natural resources, including water, in the Gulf world.
The enactment of environmental protection laws in GCC countries is one of the recent achievements that have helped to alleviate climate change, land degradation, and air contamination. The Supreme Council in the Gulf region supports efforts of GCC countries to execute strategies that focus on protecting human and animal health from severe effects of air, soil, and water contamination (Al-Rashed & Akber, 2015).
GCC states are recording gradual improvements regarding environmental security plans. For instance, there is an ongoing initiative to install water and energy meters in residential areas not only to monitor usage across the region but also to change the behavior of most people towards unsustainable utilization of this scarce resource. According to (Al-Rashed and Akber (2015), GCC countries have realized that the preservation of nature is the key to sustainable environmental security.
The issue of environmental security calls for the establishment and implementation of systems that enhance environmental security and sustainability. The implementation of various ecological security systems requires state and non-state actors to cooperate since damages have done through environmental pollution affect the entire globe. This collaborative approach is important since it encourages the international community to work together towards the mitigation of issues that threaten environmental security. Operating mutually prevents the occurrence of the free-rider problem among other challenges.
Currently, GCC countries have started showing their commitment to safeguarding the environment from degradation by establishing appropriate measures. Through their collaboration with international agencies such as the UNEP, GCC countries may succeed in implementing environmental security systems, thus setting a good example to other members of the international community.
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