Water - land - soil
In conflicts which are about the use of natural resources, water, soil and land often play an important role. They are particularly crucial for environmental security.
Looking down from space, it appears that the earth is a blue planet—almost 71 per cent of its surface is covered by oceans, and it seems as if there is enough water for all. However, the available water resources are only made up of about 2.5 to 3.5 per cent of freshwater, of which in turn about two-thirds are stored in glaciers and icecaps and around one-third as groundwater. That means, therefore, that a mere 0.3 per cent of global freshwater is accessible as surface waters such as rivers and lakes.
One of the central environmental observations of the past few decades is the expansion of agricultural and settled areas at the cost of natural land cover. This so-called land-use change can be seen as a direct consequence of the rapidly growing world population and global economic development.
Fertile land has given sustenance to humankind for thousands of years. Today more than 90 per cent of food production worldwide is still directly dependent on the land. With a rising world population, however, the available area for agriculture per capita is sinking, while at the same time unsustainable agricultural use, polluting contamination, and sealing cause the loss of several million hectares of fertile land every year.