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close this bookGATE - 3/90 - Conservation of Natural Resource (GTZ GATE, 1990, 36 p.)
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News from Bonn

Development Aid Against the Background of Environmental Protection

"By intensifying our examination an monitoring of the effects of development projects on the environment we have succeeded in improving the quality of our programmes. We are thus making a major contribution to preserving the environment and securing the basis of existence in the countries of the Third World." This was the statement made by Hans-Peter Repnik, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation, when submitting the BMZ report on the results of environmental impact assessment (EIA) in bilateral cooperation to the Federal Parliamentary Committee for Economic Cooperation.

This environmental impact assessment procedure was introduced by the BMZ (Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation) in early 1988. It is an integral part of the planning and evaluation of all bilateral projects. Together with the competent authorities in the respective developing countries it enables the environmental risks of proposed measures to be identified early and appropriate measures to be taken to reduce their impact to a minimum.

The Parliamentary State Secretary sees an especially positive effect of environmental impact assessment in the fact that government agencies and representatives of the affected populations in the respective partner countries are involved in the planning of development projects. He said that this improved their ability to formulate and implement an independent environmental policy.

Environmental impact assessment must become a routine task for all those involved, said Repnik. "It must be a matter of course that a development aid project ist only implemented if it entails no environmental damage," he said, adding that there were many examples showing that this could indeed be done.

He emphasized that environmental impact assessment could also lead to the rejection of ecologically incompatible projects. "Only recently, the Government of Guatemala was informed that German development aid could not be granted for improving a road through the Petvirgin forest region. The assessment showed that there was a substantial risk of further uncontrolled settlement and ecologically damaging exploitation of this region, which is the largest tropical forest region in Central America. Instead, a forest conservation and regional development programme will be supported. Among other applications rejected were, for example, one for a water utilization project in the Okavango delta in Botswana, for a sawmill in Zambia and for large-scale livestock farming in China.

The environmental impact assessment report (in German) may be ordered from
BMZ
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