Resource scarcity and the environment: evidence review and research gap analysis

Resource scarcity and the environment: evidence review and research gap analysis

This study focuses on the issue of resource scarcity and how it affects the environment and environmental resources as well as growth and poverty in developing countries. The study’s main geographical scope is Sub-Saharan Africa and South, although other locations are considered in case they provide information transferrable to other contexts.

The paper finds that the issue of natural resource scarcity has received considerable attention at the global scale, and it is an increasingly prominent issue on global agendas. In this sense, there is an accumulation of evidence to suggest that resource scarcity and poverty are closely related. However, the precise nature of that relationship is both contested and vague. In addition, the document finds that:

  • whilst climate change conceivably affects every aspect of resource scarcity, some of the effects of climate change are likely to be more important than others in explaining resource scarcity
  • similarly, scarcity is acknowledged to be an important potential driver of conflict yet there is debate about the particular factors that most strongly promote conflict, and this is a potential area in which further research might yield valuable insights

The author concludes that further research might prioritise and clarify the question of which factors matter most in driving – and in explaining – resource scarcity.

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