IT HAPPENS ONLY IN INDIA,
GREAT JOB MR. PARMAR
it is good to eat as many as vegetables and fruits (totally vegetarian), but my aurvedic doctor asked me to stop eating every...
IT is two years since western governments, in a fit of enthusiasm
for green issues, proposed a US $1.5 billion "pilot project" to
find ways to protect the world's rainforests. Meeting in Houston,
Texas, the "Group of Seven" rich industrial nations backed a
scheme from Germany's Chancellor Kohl to test out their ideas in
the largest rainforest of them all -- the Brazilian Amazon.
Today, after two years of argument between Brazil and the
donors, the fate of the "G-7 Pilot Project for the Amazon" has
turned into a test case for many projects -- from halting deserts
and saving forests to energy conservation and pollution clean-ups
-- that are likely to emerge from the Earth Summit in Rio in
June. In particular, it has become the battleground for the first
tug of war over who should control the purse strings for
internationally-funded projects in Third World countries aimed at
preserving the planet's environmental resources. The Amazon plan
is also the first in which a national resource is being
internationalised in the name of global commons.
Despite protests from local governors, Brazilian President
Fernands Collor dem Mello agreed in 1990 to talks with the
European Community and the World Bank. He submitted a shopping
list of proposals and a bill for US $1.6 billion. But, suddenly, the west went cold on the idea. Vague promises of funding evaporated and it took until December of last year to assemble pledges for US $250 million to be spread over two years from the G-7 governments. The Brazilian plan was thrown
out as the donors insisted on revising this programme. The new
plan was drawn up by a technical mission from the European
Community and the World Bank.
The World Bank proposes setting up a rainforest trust as
part of the Global Environment Facility (GEF). As the GEF is
controlled by the donor nations, this emphasises that the donor
nations will control spending and the Bank will clear all
projects. The bank sees the project as "an important example of
international cooperation in support of a global objective". But
from the Brazilian point of view, it looks like arm-twisting from
the western-dominated GEF.
There is also the deeper debate about what kind of economic
development can simultaneously benefit the present and future
generations of the people of the Amazon and of Brazil, while
preserving the global functions of the forest as a refuge for
biodiversity and presumed regulator of world climate.
The World Bank admits that its past investments in the
region have proved disastrous. But it insists it can do better
this time. This time round, as well as paying for running
national parks and for demarcating lands for indigenous peoples
such as the Yanomami, it wants to promote rather than undermine
"sustainable" ways of making a living in the forest.
It however ignores the international forces that encourage
rainforest destruction. Rubber tappers could be the agents for
protecting the forest in their own economic interest. But current
low world prices for rubber mean they are doomed to poverty
inside their extractive reserves. For some that suggests the need for a readjustment of world rubber prices, or subsidies, to allow the tappers to make a reasonable living. The bank proposes instead that the west should
fund research to find new products from the forest that the
residents of extractive reserves can sell to the outside world.