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    World Transnational Issues - 2003

      Disputes - international: Globally, there are over 250,000 km of international land boundaries that separate the world's 192 independent states, along with 70 dependencies, areas of special sovereignty, and other miscellaneous entities. Maritime states have claimed limits and have so far established over 130 maritime boundaries and joint development zones to allocate ocean resources and to provide for their national security at sea. On land, ethnicity, culture, race, religion, and language have divided states into separate political entities as much as history, physical terrain, political fiat, or conquest, resulting in sometimes arbitrary and imposed boundaries. All of these factors have contributed to a wide array of boundary, borderland, and territorial disagreements that vary in intensity from unresolved or dormant to outright war. Territorial disputes may evolve from historical and/or cultural animosities, or they may be brought on by resource competition. Ethnic clashes continue to be responsible for territorial fragmentation around the world. Undemarcated, indefinite, porous, and unmanaged boundaries encourage illegal cross-border activities, uncontrolled migration, and political confrontation over boundary allocations. Other sources of contention include the use of water and mineral (especially petroleum) resources, fisheries, dams, and nuclear power plants. Many islands or island groups are also disputed, including those at sea and in streams. Nonetheless, many nations are actively cooperating to clarify, delineate, and demarcate their international borders. The tragic aspect of international discord is the impact on the sustenance and welfare of populations caught in the conflict. It is frequently left to members of the world community to cope with enormous refugee situations, and the resultant hunger, disease, and impoverishment that they create.

      Illicit drugs: cocaine: worldwide, coca is grown on an estimated 205,450 hectares - almost exclusively in South America with 70% in Colombia; potential cocaine production during 2002 is estimated at 938 metric tons (or 1,200 metric tons of export quality cocaine at an average of 78% purity); coca eradication programs continue in Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru, and 292 metric tons of export quality cocaine are documented to have been seized in 2002; consumption of export quality cocaine is estimated to have been 875 metric tons
      opiates: cultivation of opium poppy occurred on an estimated 141,213 hectares in 2002 and potentially produced 2,183 metric tons of opium - which conceivably could be converted to the equivalent of 238 metric tons of pure heroin; opium eradication programs have been undertaken in Afghanistan, Burma, Colombia, Mexico, Pakistan, Thailand, and Vietnam, and the annual average for opiates seized worldwide over the past five years (1998-2002) has been 45 metric tons of pure heroin equivalent; estimates for average annual consumption over this time period are 315 metric tons pure heroin equivalent

      NOTE: The information regarding World on this page is re-published from the 2003 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Guinea Geography 2003 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about World Transnational Issues 2003 should be addressed to the CIA.

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    Revised 20-Sep-03
    Copyright © 2003 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)