International Symposium on
Drylands Ecology and Human Security
Drought, the Collapse of Resource Access Regulation Mechanisms and Impact on Human Security Sudan’s Darfur Case
University of Khartoum, Development Studies and Research Institute, Sudan
Human environment interaction has proved to be of mutual influence and the response of each is detrimental to one another. While human actions could lead to environmental deterioration, the latter in turn equally impacts on human livelihood, the pattern of their social and economic interaction and almost all other aspects of their life.
This paper takes the case of Darfur in Sudan and investigates the ways in which humans have responded to changes in the environment in complex forms that encompassed almost all aspects of their life including human security. This mutuality of influence resulting from human environment interaction is also exhibited by examining how forms of human responses also impinge negatively on the environment. Specifically taking the impact of drought and focusing on access to land and water, the paper describes in some detail some changes in economic activities and social behavior consequent of years of rainfall shortage that placed great strain on the mechanisms regulating resource access and use. Interacting with other external socioeconomic and political factors, these changes have resulted in the breakdown of law and order and the eruption of violent conflicts and the collapse of human security.
The paper relies mainly on primary collected during frequent field visits which the author has made to Darfur since early 1990s using qualitative data collection methods; i.e., gathering data through informal interviews from resource persons. Some secondary material is also used which covers some reports from various sources; including government departments, NGOs and some books and articles.
On the basis of analysis of field and secondary data the paper reaches the following conclusions;
Some recommendations for policy action are advanced which, although drawn from Darfur experience with its own historical, geographical, socioeconomic and political specificities, could have relevance to similar situations elsewhere in the developing world;