|GATE - 1/82 - Appropriate Technology - by whom? for whom? and how? (GTZ GATE, 1982, 36 p.)|
Environmental Protection and Development Aid
Environmental aspects should be taken into consideration when appraising development cooperation projects.
This point was emphasised by Alwin Bruck, former Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation, in response to a written question tabled by SPD Member of Parliament, Volkmar Kretkowski. The text of both question and answer are given below:
Question: What is the position of the Federal Government with respect to the proposal put forward by the Federation of Environmentalist Associations (Bund der Burgerinitiativen Umweltschutz) namely, to examine the role played by German companies, for example VW in Brazil, in the deforestation of tropical areas, as a way of contributing to environmental protection in countries of the Third World?
Answer: German companies operating abroad have to comply with the legal regulations of the country concerned. Only in the case of projects it plans to support can the Federal Government undertake a prior appraisal of all the consequences of the projects. Such appraisals do include environmental aspects.
Bilateral cooperation projects have for a long time been examined from the point of view of their compatibility with the environment. In the case of projects involving deforestation, the project agreement contains certain conditions, for example, that timber utilisation and reforestation plans should be drawn up and their implementation supervised by the national forestry authorities. In order to improve forest administration in a country, assistance is normally backed up by the assignment of German experts who advise national authorities in the framework of technical cooperation.
It is fair to assume that projects of this kind, designed to make regulated use of forests, make a positive contribution to the longterm presentation of resources, especially if, at the same time, they help to reduce the level of burning and clearing which is one of the causes of the destruction of tropical rain forests.
investment projects undertaken by German companies abroad and covered by capital investment guarantees are first appraised under the terms of the budget law to check their suitability. The appraisal looks at environmental aspects including requirements concerning the regulated utilisation of forests and reforestation. In concrete terms, this means that very limited use of the total area of rain forest affected by the concession is permitted in order to avoid upsetting the ecological balance in the region concerned.
Support of Technological Cooperation among Firms
"Promising" is how the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation (BMZ) describes the first results of a programme launched in autumn 1981 and entitled "Loans for the Promotion of the Economic Application of New Technologies by German Companies in Developing Countries".
Before the end of the same year, 200 inquiries and 14 firm applications from German companies had already been received by the Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (KfW), the institute in Frankfurt responsible for running the programme.
In 1981 the programme was furnished with 13 million marks (cash allocations and commitment authorisations); in 1982, it was planned to make available to the programme five million marks in cash allocations and a further twenty million marks in form of commitment authorisations.
According to information from the BMZ, five enterprises received support, and investments totalling 43.49 million marks were made possible with the 1981 loan commitment; according to the companies, some 1200 jobs were created in the projects which the Ministry helped to finance.
The programme loans (conditions: 1% per annum interest in the
grace years, 2.5% in the years thereafter; maturity of up to 15 years, including
5 grace years; 100% outpayment) are granted to small and medium-sized German
companies which, in joint ventures with partner companies in developing
countries, apply new technologies of production related to the needs of the
The programme guidelines define "new technologies" as those which address problems occurring specifically in the developing world, and which have not yet been introduced into the country concerned.
Programmes and techniques developed with the support of the BMZ, the Federal Ministry for Research and Technology or public institutions in the Federal Republic of Germany for application in developing countries, or technical developments undertaken independently by German companies and suitable for application in the developing countries, are considered particularly eligible. In appropriate cases, technologies developed abroad could also be considered.
Loan applications should be sent to the Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (KfW), Palmengartenstrasse 5-9, D-6000 Frankfurt am Main 1, FRG. An information leaflet about the technology programme is obtainable from KfW.
Afforestation and forest preservation
126.5 million marks, that is what the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation plans to make available in 1983 for forest preservation and afforestation activities under its programme of development cooperation with the countries of the Third World; this is a 34% increase on 1982.
This was announced by the former Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation, Rainer Offergeld, during a visit to the Federal Research Institute for Forestry and Timber Industries (Bundesforschungsinstitut fur Forst- und Holzwirtschaft) in Reinbek near Hamburg.
In a paper entitled "Afforestation and Forest Preservation in Developing Countries", published on the occasion of the visit, the Ministry notes that between ten and twenty million hectares of tropical forest are felled or otherwise destroyed every year, while no more than one million hectares are afforested, most of it destined for industrial use.
Apart from the spread of arable and pasture land, and the industrial
utilisation of timber, one of the principal causes of deforestation is the rising demand for fuelwood in the developing countries. The Ministry writes: "For more than two billion people in the Third World, fuelwood is the principal, and frequently the sole source of energy. Altogether between 60 and 90 percent of energy is obtained from fuelwood in the rural areas of the Third World. In the very poor countries such as Mali, Nepal, Ethiopia, Haiti and Tanzania, it accounts for between 60 and 90 percent of the energy consumption of the entire country."
"What is to be done?" In answer to this question the Ministry's paper notes that the most important thing is to support afforestation and preservation of existing forests in the developing countries, not least because there is no substitute for fuelwood as a source of energy in the foreseeable future, least of all in the poorer countries of the Third World. "Here development assistance has a contribution to make. With one million marks, 300 to 500 hectares can be afforested and the requirements of up to 800 families met."
However, long term success in this field, according to Bonn's Development Aid Ministry, depends on governments and the people affected in those countries doing their bit: it is up to governments to create the necessary legal and institutional conditions for the proper utilisation of timber reserves, and up to the people to realise over-exploitation of nature destroys their very livelihood.
The paper also gives a survey of the Ministry's ongoing afforestation and forest preservation projects. It is available in German in the series "BMZ-aktuell", and may be obtained, free of charge, from the Press Section, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation (BMZ), Karl-MarxStralle 4 6, D-5300 Bonn, West Germany.