The increased demand for specific raw materials, unsolicited just a few years ago and essential in the production of state-of-the-art technologies, led to a shift of power in favor of emerging market economies. However, the growing dependence of the north of the world on the primary factors of production such as workforce, raw materials, and land, present in the countries of the other hemisphere, ought not to lead to putting in place a socio-economic development policy in stark contrast with the principle of sustainable development.
The exploitation of natural resources is a double-edged sword that is able, without careful planning as well as an accurate environmental impact assessment, to compromise irremediably the future economic development. Water turns out to play an increasingly significant role, especially within the emerging market economies’ action plan to thrive in the modern economy. Access to water and washing facilities along with water fair distribution and efficient management are challenges of paramount importance in fighting against hunger, social injustice, and food scarcity. One of the toughest tasks to address, up to the national institutions, will be to guarantee a just and inclusive transition by rolling out provisions able to help but at the same time protect people and regions that are most affected by the economic changeover.
There are international provisions on land and resource-related rights such as the 1989 ILO Convention n.169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) or the International Covenant on Civil and Political Right (ICCPR). A large part of today’s economic development is fuelled by a relentless demand for water. However, although the majority of human activities depend on natural resources, in our pursuit of social and economic development they are not put sufficiently in focus. Water is a key factor in meeting fundamental human needs, ensuring nature conservation, and promoting empowerment at all levels for people, the planet, and prosperity. In this lapse of time, States have to focus their attention on, Water, Energy, Food Security, and Water Security.
Food and energy are probably the most crucial issues in terms of security for societies because the production of a KW requires a huge amount of water, regardless of the resource, and even the production of daily food requires an incredible amount of water. The water distribution on our planet is unequal and climate change made things worse. A more detailed look at the latest IPCC report on the impact of 1.5 ℃ global warming above pre-industrial levels reveals bewildering and indisputable figures. Global warming, due to the massive use of fossil fuels such as coal and oil, is snowballing by 0.2 ℃ per decade but what is more alarming is the fact that if we do not soften it through a shared supranational policy it will lead to irreversible drastic consequences.
To deal with this compelling global threat States have to work together, by cooperating in a multilevel system, because this is the condition sine qua non to enhance and fully implement the recent Paris Agreement. The current ecological, social, economic, and political crises are the failure of the mechanistic vision of the world tied to the simplistic dualism created between private property and state sovereignty where the law has served as an instrument of human domination over nature, incrementally pushing people away from participating in nature’s reproductive processes, overcoming the old medieval organic wisdom.
The process of enclosure and the legalized erosion of the “commons” led to the rise of Western modernity. Modernity that required the “extraction”, “accumulation” and “mobilization of natural and human resources” was later understood as “capital”. It is time to foster a change of perspective, stepping back from a worldview based on the Cartesian and Newtonian models and introducing the view of the “organic” as the chief principle for interpreting nature and replacing the concept of mechanism. The law must be the civil society’s voice as a whole and should preserve a strong link with communities because no one ought to be left behind. It is essential to ensure that places where decisions are taken line up with those where the consensus is built and the place is given. Citizens’ awareness has to be increased to involve them in the urgent change our planet is experiencing.
There is a desperate need for a new culture, able to overcome the recent divisions and discrimination between religions and races. We have to reconcile the needs of humanity with the capacity of our planet to provide what is necessary use, not an abuse of natural resources. The Italian experience can offer the opportunity to study what recently happened in the so-called “enlarged Mediterranean Area”, with the “Abraham Accords”: joint efforts and resources to face, as a single community, common threats. When it comes to the creation and spread of a new culture of water, these years are a watershed in the history of our world. It is the last call to interrupt the recession and we must not miss the boat. Responsibility needs awareness, in the same way, that action needs inspiration.