Our world is at a crucial juncture and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people are at a tipping point. How we deploy capital and resources shall shape our societies in the years to come.
According to UNCCD, the surface of the earth is approximately 70.9% water and 29.1% land, and humans obtain more than 99.7% of their food (calories) from land. More than 75% of the earth’s land (excluding Greenland and Antarctica) is already in use by humans.
Just 3% of the earth’s water resources are fresh water, 70% of which is used for agricultural purposes. Large-scale extraction of groundwater for irrigation leads to a sea level rise of 0.8 mm per year, approximately one fourth of the current rate of sea level rise of 3.3 mm per year. More than 40% of the world’s population are now living in water–scarce regions and some 0.9 billion people lack access to safe water.
For an estimated world population of 9.7 billion in 2050, agricultural production must increase by about 70% globally and 100% in developing countries. If agricultural land productivity remains at its current levels, an estimated 6 million hectares of land (roughly equivalent to the size of Norway) would need to be converted to agricultural production every year until at least 2030 to satisfy the growing demand. Access to safe water also needs to be increased by comparable measures.
According to UNEP, 40% of all intrastate conflicts in the past 60 years are linked to natural resources (such as land and water), and over 70% of all countries in the world declare that climate change impacts – like land degradation, water scarcity and drought – are national security issues. The famine, hunger and starvation (of both humans and animals) that we are seeing in different parts of the world is just a tip of the iceberg. If we don’t respond in time and invest in ventures that prevent such crises like in degraded land and depleted water ecosystems, then conflicts and wars are prone to happen.
We can begin changing the narrative today, join us this July 13-15 at the Invest in Peace Conference in Switzerland where we will be exploring different ways for investors to invest in Peace including our flagship Invest in Peace Fund together with Initiatives of Change, and the Swedish Sustainable Economy Foundation. See you there!