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Research Report

A Marshall Plan For Energy, Water and Agriculture In Developing Countries

Richard L. Lawson
John R. Lyman
Copyright Date: Apr. 1, 2007
Published by: Atlantic Council
Pages: 35
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. v-vi)
    Frederick Kempe

    The persistence of poverty and extreme deprivation in developing countries prevents the spread of freedom and democracy as certainly as any other factors. Starting points to alleviate that poverty are developing countries’ ability to obtain the clean energy and water supplies that are necessary to promote economic growth and public health. Equally, we cannot alleviate hunger unless we tackle a series of agricultural challenges arising from diminishing arable land, the rapid depletion of water resources, and the need for a more nutritious diet. Meeeting these challenges is increasingly central to U.S. foreign policy.

    Against this background, the Atlantic Council of...

  2. (pp. 1-3)

    Today, hunger, poverty, and desperation remain prevalent throughout much of the developing world. If we are to live in a 21st century more prone to peace than violence, the developed countries must move expeditiously to address the developing countries’ requirements for energy, water, and agricultural production. The availability, accessibility and affordability of energy, water and food supplies are vital to the economic development that is required to alleviate global poverty, to reduce global tensions and to address global environmental degradation.

    In today’s world of modern communications, the discrepancies in living standards are readily apparent to even the most impoverished. These...

  3. (pp. 3-4)

    While the UN, the World Bank and numerous other developmental institutions and individual countries are addressing a number of energy, water and agricultural issues relating to sustainable development, it would be timely for the United States to undertake a private/governmental initiative to develop a Marshall Plan for Energy, Water and Agriculture in Developing Countries. Recognizing the many agencies and organizations already working on these issues, the Plan would entail a sharply focused approach, concentrating on individual countries receptive to the concept, and on working in conjunction (rather than competition) with other organizations

    Like the proposal by General George Marshall in...

  4. (pp. 4-6)

    A U.S. working group representing the business community and public policy organizations, was convened to explore the concept of such a plan. The first meeting of the group was held in Washington, DC on September 8th, 2004 and was followed by a Preliminary Report in March 2005. Subsequently, a status report was released in August 2005 to publish the findings of the second meeting, held in July. Numerous recommendations led to another status report in February 2006, in preparation for the third meeting of the working group in Washington DC on April 18, 2006 which included expanded representation by experts...

  5. (pp. 6-7)

    Affordable energy, water and agricultural supplies are fundamental to enabling countries to develop socially and economically. Without adequate supplies of all three, the other major problems affecting health and biodiversity identified at the September 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (attended by 104 heads of state and government) will not be solved. Energy, water and agriculture are critical to alleviating global poverty and to enabling countries to develop the capability to address environmental degradation.

    Solutions to energy, water and agricultural needs require countries to deal with many of the same issues. Firstly, planning and executing a plan to address the...

  6. (pp. 7-8)

    Meeting rising energy requirements is fundamental to ensuring economic development and rising per capita incomes in developing countries. Solutions must address a number of very difficult challenges:

    The strong energy demand growth (2.7 percent a year) in developing countries for the next 20 years will continue to tighten world oil supplies.

    This has led to an upward pressure on oil prices that is likely to persist.

    There will be a growing reliance on the Middle East, which remains politically unstable.

    There will be a significant shift in oil and gas trade towards Asia, which could lead to greater friction with...

  7. (pp. 9-10)

    Only 2.5 percent of the earth’s water is fresh, and nearly 70 percent of that fresh water is frozen in the icecaps of Antarctica and Greenland.

    Most of the remainder (30 percent) is present as soil moisture or lies in deep underground aquifers as groundwater not accessible to human use.

    Less than 1 percent of the world’s fresh water (about 0.007 percent of all water on earth) is accessible for direct human use. This is the water found in lakes, rivers, reservoirs and underground sources shallow enough to be tapped at an affordable cost.

    Underground reserves in arid areas replenish...

  8. (pp. 10-11)

    Three billion people live on less than $2 per day.

    Hunger (insufficient caloric intake) is a major concern for those living on less than $2 per day.

    Hunger is mainly due to poverty.

    The world’s population of 6.4 billion will grow to almost 9 billion by 2050 with over 90 percent of the increase in the less developed countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America.

    World agricultural output will have to double to meet demand arising from greater population and the desire of those living on $2 to $9 per day to consume more animal protein, fruit, vegetables and edible...