By Rhamis Kent 28. June 2010
A comprehensive, lasting security is created through giving people a viable means to provide for themselves.
The ultimate goal should be to enable the country of Somalia and its people to create a self-sustaining economy of their own. Only then will there be a meaningful, lasting peace.
There is an obvious vested interest for certain parties to cast Somalia’s problems as primarily a security matter (private military contractors & security firms, to name a couple). However, it does nothing to solve the basic problem which is economic in nature.
International fishing companies, for example, are estimated to have illegally poached somewhere between $250 - $350 million dollars annually from Somali waters: http://www.hiiraan.com/news2/2010/oct/foreign_companies_loot_350m_from_somalia.aspx
Couple that with the dumping of toxic waste, the land degradation & deforestation fuelled by charcoal production and the increased frequency of the drought cycle (and subsequent flooding cycle) brought about by the removal of vegetation and worsening condition of Somalia's soils, it isn't difficult to understand why the country is in such turmoil: http://allafrica.com/stories/201006091119.html
As quoted from 2010's influential TEEB ("The Economics of Ecosystems & Biodiversity") Report:
"-there are no economies without environments, but there are environments without economies."
The top 3 factors which have historically contributed to the collapse of past societies are, as noted by physiology & geography Professor Jared M. Diamond in his book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (2005):
1. Deforestation & habitat destruction
2. Soil problems (such as erosion, salinization, and soil fertility losses)
3. Water management problems
Somalia has certainly suffered from all of these in recent years, which have been made worse during the 20-year civil war.
According to the influential American psychologist Abraham Maslow's famous Hierarchy of Needs (a pyramid depicting levels of essential human requirements for general well-being; both psychological and physical), Biological & Physiological needs (which include air, food, water, shelter, warmth, etc.) form the primary basis and foundation. The need for Security (which includes physical protection, order, laws, limits, stability, etc.) is secondary to the establishment of basic physical needs.
Given the aforementioned, focusing predominately on matters related to security in an effort to address Somalia's collapse as a nation/state is ill-advised and predicated on a fundamentally false premise.
Focusing on security at the expense of neglecting the importance of rehabilitating/repairing/revitalizing Somalia's profoundly damaged landscape & resource base is akin to putting the proverbial cart before the horse.
This strategy and approach further incurs long-term, debilitating losses by neglecting the importance of ecological recovery & the re-establishment of a viable, productive natural resource base for Somalia - which forms the basis of any and every successful economy on Earth.
MORE DETAILED PROPOSALS:
Background: Rhamis Kent is a consultant with formal training in mechanical engineering (University of Delaware, B.S.M.E. '95) and permaculture-based agroecological systems design. He has previously worked for the renowned American inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen at DEKA R & D for almost 3 years, with subsequent engineering work ranging from medical device research and development to aerospace oriented mechanical design. After taking an interest in the design science of Permaculture, he sought extended training with permaculture expert and educator Geoff Lawton at the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia. This led to his involvement with design work connected to the development of Masdar City in UAE after Mr. Lawton and Mr. Lawton's consulting company (Permaculture Sustainable Consultancy Pty. Ltd.) were contracted by AECOM/EDAW to identify solutions which fit the challenging zero emissions/carbon neutral design constraint of the project. In July 2010, Rhamis lectured at Schumacher College (named after the influential economic thinker E.F. Schumacher) in Totnes, Devon UK about the application of permaculture in post-industrial Detroit:
Rhamis was instrumental in helping to create a permaculture-based relief effort for the French NGO ACTED (Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development - http://www.acted.org/en) in the flood zones of Pakistan's Sindh province:
He is presently consulting with a delegation of Somali expatriates initiating similar ecological restoration and education work in Northern Somalia. Given the rapidly growing interest in sustainable development, Mr. Kent hopes to bring to the attention of the investment community an aspect of the emerging sustainable economy that has yet to be seriously considered for significant financial support - Earth Repair/Ecosystem Restoration Work (ERW) and agroecological regenerative design.
Rhamis has also authored a number of articles as a regular contributor to the PRI Australia website:
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