|GATE - 1989/03 - Recycling (GTZ GATE Magazine, 1989)|
"I Believe in Conferences - They Can Make Things Happen"
Fourth Biennial Congress "The Fate and Hope of the Earth"
by Jurgen Nauber
From 5 to 9 June 1989, some 1,200 representatives of environmental and peace groups from more than 60 countries met for the fourth biennial congress "Fate and Hope of the Earth" in Managua, Nicaragua. The aims of the congress were to analyze shared environmental problems, to work out strategies for dealing with them, and to find ways of achieving lasting development.
As the congress took place in a Third World country, it was also possible to establish a forum which reinforces the South-South Dialogue on environmental and peace issues and which in future will provide the basis for joint expression of the will of these countries.
"I believe in conferences - they can make things happen." It was with these words that David Brower opened the fourth biennial conference "Fate and Hope of the Earth". He was also the initiator of the three preceding Fate and Hope Conferences in Canada and the USA.
The aims of this fourth congress were very concrete:
1. To define concepts for lasting development, for the conservation and restoration of nature, and for global security, with particular emphasis on the interests of Third World countries, as a conceptual and operational platform for future action.
2. To prepare an analysis showing how the world economic order, the arms race, and the unequal distribution of consumers goods are influencing global environmental and development problems.
3. To analyze the principal possibilities as regards local and regional policy measures and socio-economic, cultural and ecological action to bring about lasting development and worldwide security.
4. To identify und support special "lines of action" with the goal of uniting and mobilizing local, regional and global forces to ensure peace as well as socially and environmentally compatible development.
At the meetings concerned with the second aim, which the author of this article attended, the speakers mentioned a large number of environmental problems. For example, almost all Third World countries suffer from the social, political and economic consequences of erosion, deforestation and environmental pollution. The social and economic consequences for the individual and the family are more severe and more direct in the Third World than in the industrialized countries since, as a rule, there is no social security network to guarantee at least the bare minimum needed for survival. The reasons for the actions of individual farmers who farm " incorrectly " or " destroy " the forests by felling trees for firewood are to be found in development. As long as the countries of the Third World are denied the possibility of independent, lasting development, all aid concepts, how ever well-intentioned, are doomed to failure.
The effects of global environmental disasters such as the greenhouse effect or "holes" in the ozone layer will likewise be felt more severely and more directly in the countries of the southern hemisphere. While The Netherlands, for example, will be financially quite capable of coping with the rise in sea level by increasing the height of their dykes, the very idea of doing the same thing is almost absurd for a country like Indonesia. The industrialized nations were therefore called upon to fulfill their obligations as those mainly responsible for the impending climatic disaster.
The Managua Declaration
The result of the conference, which emerged as its central statement, is the " Managua Declaration ", an eight-page document in which the four aims of the congress are fulfilled. It points out that the causes of the environmental disaster now threatening the entire planet are not natural, but rather dictated by the present political situation.
The causes of the current environmental situation in the Third World are first that the preconditions for lasting development differ from one country to another, and second the gatt that the developing countries are at the mercy of the industrialized nations. In addition, the example of Nicaragua makes it clear how military aggression can inhibit or even ruin a country's development efforts. There is hardly another country in the Third World where the declared aim of the government to pursue ecologically compatible development is considered so important. Nicaragua's constitution accords all her citizens the right to live in a healthy environment; in this respect it is more progressive than the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany. But the war of the last eight years has bled the country almost to death, and when even survival from one day to the next is at stake there will clearly be nomoney available for measures to protect the environment.
In its 26 "lines of action" the Declaration outlines the framework within which future action should be taken. Among others, the following demands are set forth in it:
· setting up of a "just" world economic order recognition of the right to a healthy environment as a basic human right setting up of a world environment tribunal
· setting up of a global environment restoration fund
. immediate withdrawal of all military installations from third countries
· immediate cessation of all military and civil activities involving nuclear devices
The fifth biennial "Fate and Hope of the Earth" congress is to be held in Zimbabwe in 1991.
Detailed information is available from:
Deutsches Unterstutzangskomitee fur den KongreB "Fate and Hope of the Earth" c/o Verein zur Forderung von Landwirtschaft und Umweltschutz in der Dritten Welt (VFLU)
Langgasse 24 H
D-6200 Wiesbaden FPG
The Agroecology Program/ U.C. Extension is offering a six month Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture, April 1 - September 30, 1990, at the Farm and Garden, Santa Cruz.
The emphasis will be on hands-on learning, with instruction in horticultural methods (sowing, cultivation, composting, propagation, irrigation); cultivar requirements (vegetables, herbs, flowers, fruits) and pest and disease identification and control.
The application deadline is December 5, 1989. For further information please write to:
University of California
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
Phone (408) 429-2321