MY VIEWS 1999 : September
September/02/1999/ELAN: Re: Semantics - Perhaps we
could get rid of "NGOs"
Dear Friends. I totally agree with Ron's comments. Several times I have
tried to indicate, in words and in systematic forms, that the discourse
surounding the use of "medio ambiente" or "desarrollo sustenido" or "NGOs"
may not be related to semantic at all, but to specific, local and
or/non-local development ideologies. I appreciate Prof. Moya's
intentions, but I truely believe that the efforts from academics and
non-academics in Latin America should be focused on "how to make
development sustainable in general", not only environmental or social or
economic or any combination of them because evidence indicates that
unsustainable systems can not be sustained for ever. Let's look for
practical and theoretical ways to achieve sustainability at least to have
an ideal guiding and measuring system. International organizations are
working right now on this, which indicates that it is better to be prepare
before hand with local ideas.
Greetings from Vancouver;
Estoy totalmente de acuerdo con los comentarios de Ron. Varias
veces he tratado de indicar, en palabras y en formas systematicas, que los
desacuerdos relacionados con el uso de "medio ambiente" o "desarrollo
sostenido" or "ONGs" pueda que no tenga nada que ver con semantica despues
de todo sino que son relacionadas con ideologias locales y/o
internacionales, de desarrollo. Yo aprecio las intenciones de el Prof.
Moya, pero yo verdaderamente creo que los esfuerzos de personas academicas
y no academicas de Latino America deven the estar enfocadas en " como
hacer el desarrollo en general sostenible", no solo ambiental or social or
economico or cualquier combinacion de ellos porque la evidencia indica que
sistemas que no son sustenibles no pueden ser sostenidos por siempre.
Tratemos de buscar formas teoricas y practicas de alcanzar la
"sostenibilidad" para asi tener por lo menos un systema de guia y medida.
Organizaciones internacionales estan actualmente trabajando en esto, lo
que indica que es mejor prepararse de ante mano con ideas locales.
Mis mas sinceros saludes;
On Thu, 2 Sep 1999, Ron wrote:
> Jose and other ELANERos/ELANERas -
> Again, I am really not interested in what word is used as much as I am the
> topics. Your semantic campaign is falling upon deaf ears. I will use the
> word "medio ambiente" as my colleagues use this -- as shown in recent posts
> on ELAN.
September/02/1999/ELAN: Re: "Authentic" environmental
Dear Friends, while it is true that the issues of NGO labelling
are important(local/international donors, local/international volunteers,
and so on that may provide degrees of authenticities), what I think it is
more important from the development point of view is NGO type trends in
Latin America. Why is that, for example, environmental NGOs(E-NGOs) have
or appeared to have grown faster and better organized than
social NGOs(S-NGOs) in Latin America, which was, and I think, it still is
considered part of the "back deck of the population bomb"?. Rational
expectations would suggest that in the land of social distress, social
organization would florish, but this hypothesis appeared to have been
violated apparently in most latino american countries. I hope Mr. Meyer
covers these issues in his book and provides possible explanations.
On Thu, 2 Sep 1999, MEYER wrote:
> Dear Colleagues,
> In the first place I agree with Ron that it is important to recognize who
> are the donors of NGOs. This is one of the important points that I treat
> in my new book:
> The Economics and Politics of NGOs in Latin America, Praeger
> Publishers, 1999 (available on Amazon.com and bn.com, See
> www.greenwood.com for endorsements and a description of the book)
September/03/1999/ELAN: Re: Semantics - Perhaps we
could get rid of "NGOs"
Dear Friends: In my opinion, some hard questions have to be addressed on
route to the sustainability quest, but throwing stones instead of old or
new defensive ideas is not the solution. Sooner or later, these questions
have to be addressed.
Queridos Amigos: En mi opinion, algunas preguntas crudas tienen que ser
enfrentadas en ruta buscando sustenibilidad, pero tirando piedras envez de
viejas or nuevas ideas defensivas no es la solucion. Tarde o temprano,
estas preguntas tienen que ser enfrentadas.
On Thu, 2 Sep 1999, Jeffrey wrote:
> Perhaps "development" is the skin in need of shedding?
> Sorry, someone had to open this bola de gusanos.
September/03/1999/ELAN: Re: Honduras Protects
Forests By 'Selling' Oxygen
Dear Friends. This is obviouly, a short to medium term good news for
Honduras, and for all developing countries who still have some remaining
natural forests, and for developed countries trying to ease their "after
development thoughts". However, as far as I know, there are no studies
related to the long term impact of such international policies on land
tenure systems and landlessness, specially on the "beneficiary countries.
Therefore, the policy should proceed with short to medium term
committements too to allow for studies to be carried out to avoid
insticionalizing a worse social situation in the longterm.
A paper written by me, and being process for publication will
hopefully provide some insight on the possible long term scenario of
of this and similar policies if not seen from a sustainability angle, and
implemented. I believe that this type of polices should be implemented
with a learning component attached to it so as to re-adjust them quickly
On Mon, 6 Sep 1999, John wrote:
> Honduras Protects Forests By 'Selling' Oxygen
> 6 Sept
> TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (Reuters) - Honduras is joining other poor nations
> that ``sell'' oxygen to industrialized countries and use the money to
> protect tropical forests, in an agreement with Canada to be signed on
> Sept. 15.
> Such deals are born from concern that developed nations like Canada
> produce large amounts of carbon dioxide, the gas believed to cause global
> warming. Therefore, the thinking goes, these countries are morally
> responsible to help pay for the protection of endangered carbon
> dioxide-consuming ecosystems, such as Honduran tropical forests, by
> symbolically ``buying'' oxygen.
> Honduras, of course, will not deliver oxygen to Canada. Instead, the two
> countries will establish a joint office in Honduras to monitor forest
> conservation efforts and certify programs that are working to save the
``This is a good opportunity to obtain resources from developed
> countries for forest protection,'' Honduran Environment Minister Xiomara
> Gomez told Reuters in an interview.
> The office will certify measures that save the forest and presumably
> conserve the amount of oxygen produced, such as reforestation, growing
> coffee in shady plantations instead of sunny fields, and forest
> protection programs.
> The office will also work on defining the quantity of carbon dioxide
> that Honduran forests consume.
> Gomez said exports estimate that Honduran forests absorb between five
> million and 10 million tons of carbon dioxide a year and that the country
> would try to get between $10 and $30 per ton.
> Gomez said some 266,000 acres (108,000 hectares) of Honduran tropical
> forests are destroyed every year, by timber companies, fires and peasant
> farmers clearing fields to plant crops.
> ``We are going to widen vigilance and control of protected and forested
> zones to guarantee there is wise use of the resource, and natural
> regeneration,'' Gomez said.
> She said another Central American nation, Costa Rica, has been engaged
> in similar deals for several years and that Honduras had its eye on the
> United States and Germany as potential customers for oxygen.
> ``We are taking action to get into the oxygen-selling market. We have
> great potential,'' Gomez said.
September/08/1999/ELAN: Is there any publisher in ELAN
interested in this topic?
Dear Friends, I am looking for a place for these ideas, and I would
appreciate some leads.
Rapid Assessment and Planning Under Qualitative Comparative Research: Can
This Method Be Used to Balance Out Methodological Suitability and
Key Terms Rapid Assessment, Planning, Qualitative Comparative Research,
Abstract There are two types of discourse underlying the best way of
handling research situations related to critical problems, specially in
developing countries. In one hand, quantitative researchers in
Wester-Countries believe that quantitative research approaches are more
scientifically sound than qualitatively based research. This view is
basically based on theoretically and/or validation grounds. On the other
hand, researchers in developing countries believe that western research
approaches are not appropriate for their research conditions, which is a
view mostly based on cost-effectiveness grounds(time, money, skills,
resources, and flexibility). Can the above methodological suitability and
cost-effectiveness discourse be balanced out?. A short review of these
two sources of discourse is used to point out that the answer to the above
question is yes. This short review also indicates that the combination of
rapid assessment research and qualitative comparative research is the
approach that balance out the two sources of discourse mentioned above as
this approach retains the advantages of non-traditional and traditional
research methodologies that form the body of it. Then, a new research
model for dealing with critical problems based on the above view is
proposed. Finally, some conclusions are provided indicating why and
how the proposed research model is capable of closing the methodological
gap between qualitative/quantitative research, and between traditional and
September/08/1999/FAO AGR99-CONFERENCE: Comments by Munoz
I believe that the fact that we are interacting in a very open and honest
environment, it is a step forward toward bringing the theory into practice.
From my angle, I see the proposed FAO-MFCAL approach as a subcomponent of
the "sustainable development framework" used by Agenda 21 practitioners as
it focused in the agricultural domain only, but taken in isolation. I see
that both approaches have a common aim, practicality, and a common base,
sustainable development theory. The issue I think is, how to make those
frameworks consistent with sustainability theory so as to be able to connect
the empirical components that we need to influence to achieve the desirable
change, and how can we use them to develop a validation/measuring device
that allows us to move from system to system component or from system
component to system as needed?. I have written two papers that I hope will
at least encourage discussion on this important issues. One is called "
Beyond Traditional Systainable Development: Sustainability Theory and
Sustainability Indices Under Ideal Present-Absent Qualitative Comparative
Conditions" and the other is called " Linking Sustainable Development
Indicators by Means of Present/Absent Sustainability Theory and Indices: The
Case of Agenda 21." One presents a theory, and the other indicates, a
possible theoretical way of making the agenda 21 components consistent with
sustainability theory, and a possible way of linking them. The same
principles may apply to the FOA-MFCAL approach. I will share some of those
ideas later if appropriate.
Once a theory is widely accepted we only have to be concerned with
the speed of change that a specific system can take or absolve, and move as
fast or slow as needed during the transition process.
September/09/1999/FAO AGR99-CONFERENCE: Munoz Comment of Li
Dear Li. I understand your position, and perhaps I sometimes share your
concerns. However, I wonder if the philosopher also said that to be able to
bend, you need to be "flexible", and that when ones breaks into parts, one
should not forget the linkages between them. Otherwise, the bending
and the parts may not be sustainable.
September/10/1999/FAO AGR99-CONFERENCE: Comments by Munoz
Dear Friends: Neither leaving the farmers alone nor having full control of
their options is the solution to agricultural problems as they struggle with
internal problems (between farmers) and external problems(between farmers
and advisers(researchers too). However, communication between farmers is
usually fluid since it is based in a leveled thinking field, but
communication between farmers and advisers is usually the problem as
communication takes place in unconnected thinking fields. The solution to
this unconnectives appear simple, but they are uncommonly difficult. For
example, if all farmers were brought through education to an equal
theoretical mind with advisers, then farmers and advisers would be walking
away from the practical domain, and a process of erosion of practical
farming knowledge would ensue. On the other hand, if all advisers were
trained to be as practical as farmers are, we would move away from the
scientific domain (loved in western countries), and an erosion of
theoretical values would ensue.
Out of reason or ignorance, if you ask an average farmer if he
Wants to be a "theoretical adviser", he or she must likely will say no.
If you ask the average PhD adviser if he wants to be as practical
as a farmer is, he or she must likely will say no. However, if
you ask the average farmer or the average PhD if they would like to
be understood by the other party, all of them probably will say that
yes. Hence, working together in unison farmers and advisers appears
to be a mutually desirable way, which happens to be "the sustainability
way". At least in my native El Salvador, traditional farmers always
appeared to be ready to work with their advisers, but the advising
professionals did not appear to be working comfortably for farmers
when they became bosses as they were not trained to work for traditional
September/10/1999/FAO AGR99-CONFERENCE: Munoz Comment on Milz
Estimados Amigos: Mr. Milz menciona unos puntos muy buenos en su
contribucion, pero tambien resalta ciertas contradiciones. Unas de e stas
son las siguientes: es cada dia mas aceptado que tenemos que abandonar el
reduccionismo, pero es el "detallismo" la solucion?. Yo creo que NO.
El concepto de sostenibilidad yo propongo balancea el detallismo y el
reduccionismo al proponer soluciones en el rango central de el dominio de
las soluciones existentes; b) expresado como anteriormente, sustanibilidad
es el processo que balancea lo anthopocentrico, lo econocentrico, y lo
ecocentrico, y por lo tanto es un proceso basado en optimizacion; c) su
concepto de sostenibilida aparece basado en la parte viva de la
sociedad y de el ambiente, y parece dejar fuera bienes inanimados
economicos(man made), sociales(cultura), y ambientales(diamantes, piedras,
arena, CO2...) que bien sino vivos cumplen una funcion de sostenimiento
social, economico y ambiental; d) su concepto de sostenibilidad se basa en
"en intervenciones con resultados positivos", lo cual aun cuando el impacto
fuera un impacto neto positivo, existe la posibilidad que no sea sostenible.
Por ejemplo, el resultado neto de el modelo neoclassico economic
aparentemente ha sido netamente positivo en terminos economicos a pesar de
procesos de degradacion social y ambiental; e) todas las soluciones
tradicionales y technologicas de desarrollo han sido implementadas desde un
punto de vista reduccionista o detallista, y usualmente en contradiccion total;
f) la puesta en practica de procesos basados en teoria de sostenibilidad es
fisible, pero va a tomar un poco mas de tiempo. No nos olvidemos que el
obstaculo mas importante para el abance cientifico fueron los canones
religionos. I peor obstaculo para el avanse de el pensamiento de
sostenibilidad se encuentra en los canones tradicionales de el metodo
cientifico, y los practicadores de estos canones controlan los procesos de
toma de decision actualmente, pero el cambio, parece inevitable en el largo
Mis mas cordiales saludes;
September/13/1999/FAO-AGR99-CONFERENCE: Comments by Munoz
From: Toledo/Lucio Munoz [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: 13 September 1999 04:13
Subject: Re: Daily Report, Sunday 12.9.99
Dear Friends, several aspects got my attention when quickly reading
This daily report:
a) the world today is more urban than rural, yet the link of MFCAL
and urban agriculture is not clear or does not exist, which justifies
one of my postings; b) the MFCAL is a tool designed to support Agenda 21,
because both are based on sustainable development theory, sustainable
development will be promoted, not "sustainability"; c) a strong link
between MFCAL and rural poverty is assumed, but it may not exist: more
food per capita may implied better nutritional state, but more production
per capita can not be assumed to lead to more income as the majority of
farmers are either very small or landless; d) the MFCAL is being linked
to many different approaches that needs to be implemented at the same time,
yet it does not allow for ways of linking them so as to evaluate specific
or over all progress at the same time; e) the MFCAL representatives at
the conference seems to represent the environmental and economic communities,
but I did not see any even reference to social NGOs or farmers organization's
September/13/1999/FAO-AGR99-CONFERENCE: Munoz Comments on Chapin
From: Toledo/Lucio Munoz [email@example.com]
Sent: 13 September 1999 03:27
Comment on Chapin
Dear Friends. Under sustainability, the resource allocation problem
Remains unchanged, and invisible hands are still at work. However,
Mr. Chapin's analysis, while correct according to my understanding,
is incomplete. He has left out, the environmental stakeholders, who
just as the landowner or the social groups; it also has an interest
in maximizing its share of MFCAL values. A paper written by me on the
way of publication called "an overview of the policy implications of
the eco-economic development market" highlights in simple terms this
situation and its political implications.
Greetings to all.
September/13/1999/FAO AGR99-CONFERENCE: Munoz comment on Earle
Dear Friends. I agree with Mr. Earle with the need of reintegrating social,
economic, and environmental systems to make them sustainable, but can the
MFCAL approach as it is help in that direction? Unless the MFCAL is made
consistent with sustainability theory, we should not expect to see
sustainability outcomes. Yes, the next stage of the conference is here, but
the weaknesses identified still remain. Let's not forget that.
September/13/1999/FAO AGR99-CONFERENCE: Munoz comment on Smith
Dear Mr. Smith. I agree with you that much could have been learned here
about system thinking and sustainability, but it seems that this is not the
time. Just to bring some curiosity into your thoughts expressed here, I
could say that if you define a system starting from its ideal conditions,
some of the "cannons" that you list below may be broken. If this is true,
it should not be a surprise since I believe that there is not a one to one
match between traditional system theory and sustainability theory. I am
addressing this issue in one of my papers directly.
September/14/1999/FOA-AGR99-CONFERENCE: Phase III Summary
Thank you so much for all of the valuable contributions to the questions
for the week on "The Way Forward". The following is the summary of all of
the comments received up to 14 September, 1999. This same summary was
distributed to the main Conference today and people found it very useful.
Please note that the numbers of questions in this document (as well as the
one distributed to date)have been changed from 7-11 to 6-10. Our apologies,
there was no question 6 during Phase I-III, so we have reordered to keep the
Again, thank you for your contributions and participation.
SUMMARY, THE WAY FORWARD
QUESTION 6: WHAT WOULD BE YOUR PRIMARY RECOMMENDATION(S) FOR LOCAL LEVEL
IMPLEMENTERS TRYING TO BALANCE FOOD SECURITY AND ENVIRONMENT OBJECTIVES?
*Start from the local demands, capitalize the local institutions and retake
traditional values. Then look at the whole landscape (Zelaya).
*Let the rural people teach us; the solutions to this complex problem can
only come from people who have a very real and personal stake in its
success. As many of them may not understand how to deal with the issue as a
whole, we (as researchers, planners, governments) need to help them or get
out of the way (Kazokas).
*Plans only work if they come from the ideas of the people from the ground
and will be implemented by them (Charlebois).
*Strengthening local capacity will be important to correctly ascertain and
incorporate local needs in planning and project delivery (Mallawaarachchi).
*The biggest obstacle for the advance of thinking about sustainability is
found in the traditional canons of the scientific method, the practitioners
of which control the current decision making process (Munoz). Smith calls it
*However, in our enthusiasm for bottom-up development we should not discard
"expert-driven development" completely: if our anti-elitism turn into
anti-intellectualism, we'll be stuck in parochialism (Hamilton).
*It requires strong local organization and institutional support, both
private and public (Magat).
*Measures to prevent small farmers in developing countries mining the land
should not compete for their labor with outside employment (60% among small
farmers in Honduras and 70% in the central part of Colombia) unless such
measures provide them with a larger income than the outside work (Velez).
*Find a small local but secure market for your organically produced wares,
don't rely on the world market and federate with others to get
decision-making power over your micro-regions (Guijt).
*Local producers and the local market could include religious groups as
these 'care about creation' (Aspelund).
QUESTION 7: WHAT WOULD BE YOUR PRIMARY RECOMMENDATION(S) IN DEVELOPING
NATIONAL LEVEL GUIDELINES FOR IMPLEMENTING MFCAL ?
*Producers have to be made responsible for a proper management of the soil
*Retrain the agricultural professionals in more holistic approaches to
development. Let local civil society be the articulation agent (Zelaya).
*On the other hand, we won't have a "living landscape" if farmers can't make
a living: farm income is a necessary but not sufficient ingredient
regardless of what multifunctional dish you want to cook (Hamilton).
OWNERSHIP OF LAND AND EFFICIENCY IN RESOURCE USE
*Efficiency in resource use, particularly land, is key to allocating a
limited and finite resource among various competing options. Nothing
accomplishes this better than private ownership of resources, particularly
land. Private ownership motivates people and encourages innovation
(Chapin). He gives the example of Ukraine and Russia, centrally planned
economies that are undergoing transitions to market economies, where lack of
land ownership has led to the inefficient land use and a low level of
resource conservation. However, regulatory controls are needed to prevent
market abuses (Chapin).
*In order to maintain a diversity of production systems and biological
integrity, defend local/regional production systems against the destructive
effects of globalization and the "commoditization" of agriculture (Dickson).
*National level guidelines must be flexible so as to accommodate change as
well as varying needs of local people (Mallawaarachchi).
MANAGING THE INVOLVEMENT
*Emphasize the skill required to manage the constructive involvement of
stakeholders. Closer partnerships need to be built between technical experts
and specialists in change management, relationship building and conflict
*Bottom-up approaches don't exclude top-down management (Li).
THIRD WORLD NATIONS AND FIRST WORLD BANKS
*Third world nations are under the economic yoke of the first world banks.
The knowledge and the technologies to turn the Earth into paradise are all
available, but in a hell it is easier to make money (Primavesi).
*National governments should just address the basic issues of preservation
of the quality of the environment, without the distortion of external agents
QUESTION 8: WHAT IS THE ROLE OF INTERNATIONAL LEVEL INSTITUTIONS IN PAVING
THE WAY FOR MFCAL?
*Document, theorize and socialize the MFCAL concepts as well as promote the
approach in their projects (Zelaya, Magat), and something feasible in the
different agricultural units of the world (Cuchi). Close monitoring will
reveal deficiencies and provide clues to achieving success
(Mallawaarachchi). Information sharing and celebrating success stories
*Apart from working on a global agenda international organizations should be
monitoring and evaluating the implementation of MFCAL in pilot projects
*With a global education, principally good willing of the world government
and the money of its banks, a strategy for recovering the vital functions of
the Earth can be implemented. In that case we will work locally with
optimism and certainly get excellent results, including welfare and money
*It is foolish to fight the trend of globalization: "accept it and make it
work for you" (Chapin).
*Hand over some power and aim projects at farming communities rather than
national governments (Guijt).
QUESTION 9: WHAT SHOULD BE THE PRINCIPAL MESSAGE COMING OUT OF MAASTRICHT?
*Work from the bottom up (Zelaya), or more precisely: towards a two-way
communication in order to make the bottom view comprehensible to the top and
vice versa (Mallawaarachchi), also in the communication between farmers and
*Be a start point for people to challenge, modify and experiment with new
options, or (following Taoist thought): "Use all our ways as NO way, then
the sky will just be our limit" (Li). Allen explains this as stakeholders
developing solutions co-operatively as opposed to acting as advocates purely
of their own lines. According to Li "sustainability theory" could become an
example of one such line.
MFCAL creating various educational programs ranging from permaculture to
environmentally conscious shopping habits (Earle).
*Awareness that improving the situation of agriculture in one country via
subsidies at the expense of other countries is a zero sum game for humankind
*A clear definition of MFCAL, a sketch for one ecological worldwide
environmental and social management program with related specific projects
to provide guidelines for the banks and national governments (Primavesi).
*Some light and hope in a more logic (and better?) future (Cuchi).
*Gaps are identified where private costs need to be supplemented to get
socially desired outcomes, for example rights and markets in contamination
of air and water. How can we turn markets round to give incentives to
harness initiative, technology and entrepreneurship at all scales (King)?
*MFCAL contributing to a global strategy and campaign towards sustainable
development for the social and economic needs of mankind in millenium 2000
*That MFCAL is in fact a recollection of valuable old ideas that have never
been picked up in earnest (Guijt).
*Let's stop talking and ACT NOW, before there are only global corporations
left telling us what to plant, when to plant, when to harvest, what to buy,
*In the interest of farmers the world over we should look at the real value
of a farmer instead of the present trend to consider the value of labour
QUESTION 10: ANY ADDITIONAL COMMENTS?
*There is a challenge for scientists to make MFCAL's aim of practicality
consistent with sustainability theory (Munoz), possibly with theory of
dynamic systems as a tool (Smith).
*Whatever complex, agricultural production systems need to be based on
natural ecosystems, whereas technological solutions and market mechanisms
tend to aggravate the crisis (Milz).
*There should be a work group in the frame of FAO, which disseminates
summaries of conclusions from relevant (international) scientific
conferences as work documents to authorized organs in the member countries
*One of the benefits of this conference has been the networking that it
affords: the prospect of sharing research findings with colleagues met
through this forum (Chapin).
*Make sure that the operational and legal guidelines of WTO are compatible
with MFCAL and that the latter's benefits and disadvantages are specified
for weak, average and strong economies (Magat).
*Sustainable agriculture is supported by untaxing labour and productive
capital while increasing the tax on land values (Hartzok).
All the Best,
September/14/1999/FAO AGR99-CONFERENCE: Munoz comment
Dear Friends, these proposal of taxing "concentrations of land holdings"
provides a very interesting case related to the implications of these type
of policies in my article about the eco-economic development market. The
following is important to mention: a) this framework would work perfectly
under the deep economic market as the increase in tax would be expected
to lead to land sells toward the most productive economic use, which is
the "mine" behind today's development concerns; b) this framework would
not work as expected under "the eco-economic development market" because
now you have the grounds for competition between economic uses and
environmental uses; c) the framework apparently would not lead to
"sustainability situations" as it has the potential to lead to losses in
the levels of land in the hands of social stakeholders to either economic
or environmental uses compressing more existing social pressures.
It appears that we have to start right now, at least partially,
putting more of our investments on the MOST ABUNDANT AND NEGLECTED
CAPITAL(human capital), and less and less on the LIMITING
capitals(man made and environmental capital) to achieve the
optimising development point, as argued in my paper called "Eco-Economic
Development Under Social Constraints: How to Redirect it Toward
Sustainability". Otherwise, the most abundant and neglected capital, HUMAN
CAPITAL, will lead to a social induced "sustainability failure".
Greetings from Vancouver;
September/15/1999/FOA-AGR99-CONFERENCE: Comment by Munoz
From: Toledo/Lucio Munoz [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: 14 September 1999 20:35
Subject: Re: Day 2, Points Raised in 13.9.99 Discussions
Dear Friends. I am surprised to see that the "precautionary principle" has
not been used by any of the delegations making the comments below. Because
of incomplete knowledge, and because of the obvious limitations of the
actual structure of the FAO-MFCAL approach, short to very medium terms goals
should be pursued, to allow all the different parties some "room" to look at
the "sustainability implications and accommodations" of long term agreements
soon after implementation. Then, move gradually toward the local/global
optimum development path chosen.
September/15/1999/FAO AGR99-CONFERENCE: Munoz Comment on Rosset
From: Toledo/Lucio Munoz [email@example.com]
Sent: 14 September 1999 20:19To: agr99-Conference
Cc: Odo PrimavesiSubject: MFCAL and SMALL FARMERS(fwd)
Dear Friends. The Report from Dr. Peter Rosset called "small farms more
productive than large farms, but threatened by trade agreements" indicates
several aspects with respect to the role of small farmers and "big farmers"
in tersms of MFCAL production indicating that small farmers may support a
more sustainable MFCAL funtion. However, small farmers usually work under a
regional classification of MFCAL type/Market type that has been apparently
totally missed in he MFCAL framework proposed. I do not think that this
"miss" is intentional as it is almost impossible to see the hole picture
from an additive framework. This would not have happened under a system
To make my point clear, we have the following situation:
M = Market is strong
n = Market is weak
F = High MFCAL content
f = Low MFCAL content
R = agricultural region
The above terminology leads to four scenarios when classifying
a) strong market(M) and high MFCAL content(F)
R1 = MF
b) strong market(M) and low MFCAL content(f)
R2 = Mf
c) weak market(m) and week MFCAL content(f)
R3 = mf
d) weak market(m) and strong MFCAL content(H)
R4 = mH
The FAO Classification of agricultural regions provided cover
regions types R1, R2, and R3. Hence, this FAO Classification misses region
type R4, which in my opinion it constrains the conditions faced by most
small farmers specially in developing countries. These type of agricultural
regions are the ones that according to the report from Mr. Peter Rosset
below may have the best impact of the FAO-MFCAL model in sustainability
terms. Hence, this issue of incompleteness of the FAO-MFCAL model has to be
addressed since if not, it will be leaving out of the analysis the core of
the agricultural development problem.
September/15/1999/FOA AGR99-CONFERENCE: Comment by Munoz
From: Toledo/Lucio Munoz [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: 14 September 1999 21:30To: agr99-Conference
Subject: Independent researcher
Dear E-team. It seems to be that some participants are interested in
knowing the institutional backing I have, and in my apparently overboard
optimistic view of development. Can you please past this message to the
participants?, I will appreciate that.
First, all ideas shared are the result of my independent opinion
based on my independent research as I have no institutional backing at this
point: I am on my own. On the other hand, I believe that humans, in
general or in groups, when facing death threatening situations are capable
of doing things that under normal conditions may be considered "irrational".
Given the imminent social and environmental threat facing humanity, perhaps
the time for the irrationality of sustainability to be embraced may come
soon, which is the basis of my optimism.
Greetings to all;
September/15/1999/FAO AGR99-CONFERENCE: Comment by Munoz
From: Toledo/Lucio Munoz [email@example.com]
Sent: 14 September 1999 16:39
Cc: Odo Primavesi
Subject: Resending contribution
Dear organizers, I am impressed with the openesses you have shown to a
variety of ideas, and I commend that. I have received many inquires on how
MFCAL made be expressed in "system terms" and linked to other systems.
Instead of replying one by one, can you please let everybody see this so I
can answer any questions that my come. I believe that the posting sent in
September/09/99 will be of interest to the people following the discussion.
I will appreciate that.
September/09/1999/FAO AGR99-CONFERENCE: Comment by Munoz
Date: Thu, 9 Sep 1999 14:32:16 -0700 (PDT)
From: Toledo/Lucio Munoz
Subject: Looking Forward: The sustainability wheel
Dear Friends. As people appear to be getting weary about "too much theory",
I will be making this posting now to leave my contributions from now and on,
to questions that may come. I trust that you at least will find these ideas
interesting. And I hope, that all my previous contributions not posted yet,
are posted for consistency.
A new look at development requires the ability to express
sustainability in terms of different and consistent models of
development,which could be arranged in a sort of sustainability wheel, as
1) Development(D) can be defined as the result of the interaction of two
components, deforested area based development(DFA) and forest area based
development(FA), which can be stated as follows:
D = DFA.FA
See that the type of development(D), sustained or sustainable,
depend on whether or not each of the components of the system acts in active
form. For example, if we assume that forest area based development (FA) is
in passive form, we have the following:
D = DFA, since FA = 1 = passive = no impact
Hence, we have deforested area based development(DFA) only as
forest area concerns(FA) does not matter.
2) The two component of the system above can be decomposed into
subcomponents as follows:
a) Deforested area based development(DFA) can be decomposed into
agricultural development(A1) and non-agricultural development(B1), which can
be stated as follows:
DFA = A1B1
Hence, deforested area based development (DFA) is the by product of
the interaction of agricultural(A1) and non-agricultural(B1) development.
b) Forest area based development(FA) can be decomposed into
agricultural development(A2) and non-agricultural development(B2) too, which
can be stated as follows:
FA = A2B2
By substituting terms, we have the following:
D = DFA.FA = (A1B1)(A2B2)
D = (A1A2)(B1B2)
D = DFA.FA = (A).(B), where A = A1A2 and B = B1B2
Therefore, development(D) can be thought as the result of the
interaction between deforested area and forest area agricultural
development(A) and deforested area and forest area non-agricultural
See that if B = 1, then we have:
D = A ,
Then, development(D) is a function of agricultural development(A)
3) However, if the impact of non-agricultural development is not
neutral, then, the above implies that development(D) can also be
expressed in terms of agricultural based development(A) and
non-agricultural based development(B), which is expressed as follows:
D = AB
Here, development is a function of agricultural development(A) or
non-agricultural development(B) or both.
4) Now, the components of the above development model, can
also be expressed in terms of subcomponents as follows:
a) Agricultural development(A) can be expresed in terms of rural
agriculture(RA) and urban agriculture(UA) interactions as follows:
A = RA.UA
b) Non-agricultural based development(B) can also be stated in terms of the
interaction of two components, rural non-agricultural based development(RNA)
and urban non-agricultural based development(UNA), which is expressed below:
B = RNA.UNA
5) Again, substituting terms, we have:
D = AB = (RA.UA).(RNA.UNA)
D = AB = MFCAL.MFCNAL, since MFCAL = RA.UA and MFCNAL= RNA.UNA
Here, development is a funtion of MFCAL or MFCNAL or both
Please, see that MFCAL can not be in isolation unless we assume that MFCNAL
= 1, which implies that it has no impact on development.
6) Reorganizing terms again to put everything in terms of rural
development(R) and urban development(U), we get the following:
D = AB = (RA.RNA).(UA.NUA)
D = AB = R.U, where R = RA.RNA and U = UA.NUA
Here, development(D) depends on rural sources(R) or urban
sources(U) or both.
7) Now, the components of the above rural/urban development model can be
separated as follows:
a) rural development(R) can be expressed in terms of its locality in
two interacting types, rural development in developed countries(R1) and
rural development in develoing countries(R2), which can be expressed as
R = R1.R2
b) The same way, urban development(U) can be defined as the
resulting product of the interaction of urban development in developed
countries(U1)and urban development in developing countries(U2), expressed as
U = U1.U2
8) substituting terms to express the model in terms of developed country
development(DC) and developing country development(LDC), we have the
D = R.U = R1.R2.U1.U2
reorganizing terms we have:
D = (R1U1).(R2U2)
D = R.U = DC.LDC, where DC = R1U1; and LDC = R2U2
D = DC.LDC
Here, development(D) is the result of the interaction of developed
country based development(DC) and developing country based
development(LDC). Notice here, that assuming that LDC = 1 is obviously not
a good assumption given the interwined nuture of development.
9) At this point, the componets of the above model, can also be
divided into subcomponents as follows:
a) developed country based development(DC) is can be defined as the
outcome of the interaction of social(W1), economic(I1), and
environmental(N1) agents, which is expressed as follows:
DC = W1I1N1
b) developing country based development(LDC) can also be defined in
terms of social(W2), economic(I2), and environmental(N2) development as
LDC = W2I2N2
10) Substituting terms to express the model in social(W), economic(I)and
environmental(N) terms, we have the following:
D = DC.LDC = W1I1N1.W2I2N2
D = WIN, where W = W1W2 ; I = I1I2 ; and N = N1N2
10A) D = WIN,
Therefore, development(D) takes place when we have a WIN
combination of social, economic, and environmental goals. Notice thatif
development is optimal(D*) and the combination is optimal(WIN*), then we
have a sustainability model that can be expressed as follows:
10B) D* = WIN*
11) To close the cycle, the three components of the model in formula 10a can
be uncouple as follows:
a) Social development(W) can be defined as social development in
deforested areas(DFA1) and social development in forest areas(FA1), stated
W = DFAW.FAW
b) Economic development(I) can be defined in terms of the interaction of
economic development in deforested areas(DFAI) and economic development in
forested areas(FAI), expressed as follows:
I = DFAI.FAI
c) Environmental development(N) can be stated as the outcome resulting from
the interaction of environmental development in deforested areas(DFAN) and
environmental development in forested areas(FAN),indicated as follows:
N = DFAN.FAN
12) Substituting terms to go back to the original model based on
deforested area based development(DFA) and forest area based
development(FA), we have the following:
D = WIN = DFAW.FAW.DFAI.FAI.DFAN.FAN
D = WIN = (DFAW.DFAI.DFAN).(FAW.FAI.FAN)
D = WIN = DFA.FA, where DFA = DFAW.DFAI.DFAN
FA = FAW.FAI.FAN
D = WIN = DFA.FA
Finally, the WIN development model can be expressed back into
deforested area(DFA) and forest area(FA) based development.
The above framework shows that the MFCAL model could be expressed in
systematic terms, and it would make not just more sense, it would be easier
to communicate, and to monitor in a holistic manner.
My warm greetings to everybody;
September/16/1999/FAO AGR99-CONFERENCE: Munoz
comment on Whittaker
From: Toledo/Lucio Munoz [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: 15 September 1999 19:46
Subject: Re: Feedback day 2, Comments by Whittaker
Dear Mr. Whittaker. Your point on the apperance of bias is well taken, and
perhaps I created this perception of biased because English is my second
language. However, to clarify, the perception of biased usually affects
conflicting positions, specially sustainable development positions such as
which deep paradigm is better or what type of partnerships is better.
However, my position is NOT a conflicting position: I am attempted to use
sustainability theory to show that even though the partnership approaches
seem better than the deep approaches, a careful look at the situation may
indicate that " we may be just transferring the social neglect problem to
future generations, which is exactly one of the main points that Agenda 21,
and the MFCAL approach are supposed to prevent". I believe that open
dialogue like this will trickle practical solutions to these situations
Thank you very much for your reply.
September/17/1999/FAO AGR99-CONFERENCE: Munoz comment on Neuteufel
From: Toledo/Lucio Munoz [email@example.com]
Sent: 17 September 1999 02:38
Subject: Re: Feedback Day 4, Comment by Neunteufel
Dear Marta. I agree with your possition that ethic is important in
sustainability as it can be framed as one of the most common sources of
sustainability failures, one for which usually there is not a quick fix
because there are not ombudsmans monitoring the sustainability process.
If I assume that humanity is not part of "biology", then I would agree
that "fairness" and equality of outcome are not a concerned since we
should not expect "irrational beings" to desplay/follow ethical rules.
However, hamans are part of biology, and therefore, fairness, equality of
outcome, and ethical values become important considerations. On the other
hand, under today's patterns of degradation, the theory indicates that
even the fittest may not survive if the trend continues indefinatly, which
is what I think is one of the common elements that is inducing us to
participate in this type of forum. As one of my papers indicates, if
there where not humans, there would be no economy, but there still would
be development. And as we know, once there were not formal economies, yet
human development and environmental development persisted.
September/17/1999/FAO AGR99-CONFERENCE: Comment by Munoz
From: Toledo/Lucio Munoz [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: 17 September 1999 02:51
Subject: Re: Day 4, Position Document from IFOAM
Dear Friends. I would suggest to the IFOAM group that organic
farmers could make a better case by claiming that it can be "a sustainable
practical approach", not that it is "sustainability put into practice".
If it was sustainability put into practice, it would imply that the
non-organic functions of agriculture do not matter and that
non-agricultural functions also do not matter. Using a system approach,
perhaps they could document, that non-organic functions and
non-agriculural funtions may be the sources of unsustainability, and
therefore they should be addressed together with promoting more the
already sustainable funtions.
September/17/1999/FAO AGR99-CONFERENCE: Comment by Munoz
Dear friends: Some how I was not expecting to see an full agreement on the
MFCAL Approach as its methodological cavities may work to the disaddvange
of specific groups in different circunstances, but I was expecting the
principles and the need for an MFCAL TYPE framework which could
integrate all development concerns to be accepted. The content of
the report below indicates to me that we may not get either as conflicting
views are being put forward without clear indications on how they affect
the proposed MFCAL framework. I believe that criticizing is not enough.
We need to move a little forward and suggest changes, and the implications
of those changes, so as to be able to identify conflict effects. On the
positive side, I am glad to see contradicting views interacting actively.
September/17/1999/FAO AGR99-CONFERENCE: Summary of feedback
Days 1-3Topic: Virtual Maastricht Summary
Subject: Days 1-3
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 1999 14:28:32
The following is a summary of your feedback for Days 1-3 that was shared
with the Maastricht conferees.
CONFERENCE FEEDBACK DAYS 1-3
* After the three WebForum reports on "The Road to Maastricht," we are now
able to distribute a first set of quotes and summaries of comments from the
outside world on what has happened here during the first few days of the
* Late in the evening of each day, the IISD daily conference reports were
sent to the e-conference participants. Also, one of the participants here in
Maastricht shared with the virtual participants his views on what is going
on, and we encourage others to do the same.
* You can share your insights by clicking on the link to the Virtual
Maastricht E-conference at the CyberCafe. Below is a summary of the
comments contributed thus far. All comments and views can be read in full
at the CyberCafe.
COMMENTS AND VIEWS
PERCEPTIONS OF THE CONFERENCE
* "I begin to wonder (and worry about) what will come out of this
* Chambers observed notable input to the Conference from food exporting
nations who assert that they do not receive fair prices and are therefore
being exploited by prosperous nations. "The conference certainly needs to
encourage on-ground viable food production and impact issues for the
survival of our civilisation", says Chambers.
* Rosset relates that "NGO participation has thus far been frustrating.
[T]he rules of engagement are such that the floor is first given to each
government who wishes to speak, then to each multi-lateral agency who wishes
to speak, and finally, if there are a few minutes left over, the NGOs,
unions, and other civil society actors may get a word or two in edgewise
(when everyone is already exhausted and ready to leave!)".
* Munoz believes that open dialogues like this will trickle practical
solutions to these situations (transferring social neglect problems to
future generations) very soon.
* Preston concurs with Rosset that "the pressures being brought by the
grain exporters and the lack of opportunities for the NGOs and civil society
to state their case reflect precisely the 'business as usual' lobby."
* "The main challenge I find in drawing the various comments into an ordered
framework lies in the very broad range of interpretation and use of the
MFCAL. ... [T]he choice of a loosely descriptive term for the nature of
agriculture and land is leading to on-going confusion of meaning. The fact
that there can be a particular interpretation for trade purposes and other
interpretations for other purposes suggests that these words do not
encapsulate any common idea and thus confound, rather than clarify the
process of communication and debate." (Russell)
MFCAL AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
* Whittaker, a farmer in England, has been managing a 135-hectare beef,
sheep and arable land operation on the MFCAL principle for almost 20 years.
There are a number of rare species living on his land, which has led to the
development of relationships with conservation institutions and to the
designation of his farm as a site of biological importance.
* Whittaker urges sceptics of MFCAL to take a look at the successful
experience in Britain. County-level institutions, including Farming and
Wildlife Advisory Groups (FWAGs), Wildlife Trusts, and Young Farmers' Clubs,
are effectively providing advice on conservation matters, working to promote
species regeneration, fostering voluntary environmental activities, and
educating rural and urban youth about the environment.
* "When it comes to MFCAL, you can push us, you can persuade us, bribe us,
threaten us, drag us kicking and screaming into the MFCAL camp, but never
try to force us. We will resent it very much. We will not be happy, and we
will not do it. We farmers are like that. It is called independence"
* "Time and money are the biggest hurdle faced by MFCAL." (Whittaker)
* "The MFCAL is a tool designed to support Agenda 21. Both are based on
sustainable development theory. However, one should not expect too much from
MFCAL in terms of reducing rural poverty" (Munoz).
* In the "ecosystem" of economics, aren't we seeing a decline in diversity?
The broad diverse, middle class (especially in agriculture) is shrinking.
What are we trying to preserve? (Kazokas)
* Milz warns of the superficiality of trying to describe something complex
in few words. He goes on to say that we need to transcend reductionism and
analytical science for a more global and above all, more systemic vision.
Agricultural science to date has not achieved consensus regarding the
function of ecosystems. All of our interventions provoke regulative
reactions in nature to return the system to equilibrium. In not
understanding these processes as such, we believe that we have to neutralize
these reactions that, in our ignorance, we call pests, weeds, and
* Rosset contends that representatives of the major grain exporting
countries (the "Cairns Group") are attempting to focus the discussion on the
presumably negative impact of MFCAL on free world trade.
* "Your [Rosset's] comments are welcomed by this farmer, and, I am sure, any
others who may have read your words. MFCAL needs people like you."
* Reacting to Rosset, Smith writes "that those who closed their borders tend
to implode or stagnate", whereas "those that maximise inputs and outputs
across their borders by building complexity within tend to persist".
* "Blatant trade protectionism of [some European countries] has almost
succeeded in destroying the small family farms here [in Britain]..."
* "How many beneficiaries are there in the "Grain Cartel" agenda?
(relatively few) What is their primary motive? (money and power) Measure of
success? (short term). It seems that their goals are polar opposites to
what we have been discussing in this forum. How could anyone expect there to
be common ground? (Kazokas)
* "This is a battle between big business, and those that have, and those who
have not. Corporate farmers and the big corporations are only interested in
sustaining their own power base and returns to shareholders. Only market
forces can bring about change because very few governments have the
political will to do it by decree, but we can take faith that in the fact
that in the end the 'market' is the consumer. "(Preston)
GOVERNMENT SUPPORT FOR SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE
* There is considerable enthusiasm for organic farming in England, but, says
Whittaker, "government aid to organic farmers...has been an under-funded
* "Some farming communities may not be [able] to identify causes ...of
farming problem[s]. Thus, there is a need for an "outside intervention" to
serve as the "top push" so that the "bottom up" approach can work well"
* "More and more I'm getting worried about the amount of time we need to
join this circus instead of doing our job" (Schaap).
SMALL AND LARGE SCALE FARMS
* In his report The Multiple Functions and Benefits of Small Farm
Agriculture in the Context of Global Trade Negotiations, distributed at the
Maastricht conference, Rosset, a conference delegate, makes a strong plea to
support small farmers all over the world.
* Preston agrees, telling us to "recognise the comparative advantages of
integrated small-scale farming systems that use natural rather than
fossil-fuel derived resources".
* Chambers speaks of the concern for the economic viability of farming, and
consequently, its social and environmental viability (farming "smart"). He
advocates encouraging greater production diversity, better utilisation of
natural resources, and more "industries" per farm (large farms), thereby
bringing higher returns per hectare and increased migration back into the
rural areas. The Land Management Society in Australia, for example, was
formed by farmers to help each other with practices (tools and training for
managing the farm eco-system) that enable them to take responsibility for
the whole eco-system within which they produce. With financial and
management capability, farmers can take on this responsibility.
* For Chambers high chemical-use systems (high input costs and negative
downstream effects) should be increasingly replaced by "eco-logical"
solutions (greatly reduced or no chemical input).
* Chambers argues that the mass production paradigm of getting bigger to
survive is a road to nowhere, in that it is not economical to mass produce
something that is in excess, which reduces the return per hectare. This
brings about environmental and rural community destruction.
* Munoz points out that small farmers are subject to regional variations
resulting from both level of market development and complexity of functions.
He posits that agricultural regions characterised by weak markets and high
complexity of functions are typical of the conditions faced by most small
farmers in developing countries and are a critical area of consideration.
* Endorsing this view, Russell asserts that MFCAL is significant for
developing countries with small holder agriculture supplemented by fishing,
hunting, gathering and local harvest of forest products.
* According to Kasokas, Rosset makes an excellent point that small farms are
inherently more productive on a per hectare basis than large farms.
"However", he adds, "one should always keep in mind that the scale of
operation (though very productive) may not be sufficient to economically
support the farmer".
* "As the world today is more urban than rural, greater attention should be
paid to the link between MFCAL and urban agriculture" (Munoz).
* On the theme of taxation policy as it relates to land tenure and
sustainable agriculture, Hartzok refers to recent FAO correspondence on the
subject of assessing land values and modernising land taxes in the context
of increasing government decentralisation and economic liberalisation. He
posits that land and value taxation systems address the problem of
increasing concentration in the ownership of land by: 1) securing land
rights without confiscation 2) providing a source for provisioning of social
services and 3) balancing the roles of the market and the state.
* Whittaker notes that if MFCAL were imposed through taxes, farmers would
have no option but to increase production and intensify to remain viable.
* Muñoz predicts that an increase in land taxation would indeed lead to
productive economic use of land in markets in which only economic factors
were valued. However, the policy would be neither effective nor sustainable
in markets where multiple factors were valued because of competition among
uses. He predicts that because of bias towards environmental and economic
interests, social interests would be the ultimate losers of such a
competition. He advocates greater investment in what he considers the most
abundant and neglected capital, human capital.
ON MARINE FISHERIES AND AQUACULTURE
* Whittaker notes that "fish stocks are on the verge of total collapse due
to mindless over-fishing and a total disregard for the future well-being of
our seas and oceans. A close look at this area would be of benefit to
everyone." He also points out that "pesticides in some southern nations are
causing problems for fresh water aquaculture to such a degree that many
small farmers are abandoning the systems..."
* "All the MFCAL principles in the world mean little or nothing if ...
[population growth] continues unchecked" (Whittaker).
September/17/1999/FAO AGR99-CONFERENCE: Summary of Feedback
Days 4-5Topic: Virtual Maastricht Summary
Subject: Days 4-5
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 1999 14:41:13
Below please find the summary of the your feedback to the Maastricht
Conference during days 4 and 5.
CONFERENCE FEEDBACK, DAY 5
This document provides a collection of quotations from the Virtual
Maastricht participants based on the sessions of Wednesday and Thursday. You
can share your insights by clicking on the link to the Virtual Maastricht
E-conference at the CyberCafe. All comments and views can be read in full at
COMMENTS AND VIEWS
PERCEPTIONS OF THE CONFERENCE
* "It is indeed discouraging to see such beautiful ideas consigned, time
after time, to the filing cabinets of world bureaucracy and have such little
apparent effect on the lives of small farmers and the rest of us who depend
on farmers for "multiple functions." (Nigh)
* Munoz had expected the need for an MFCAL type framework, integrating all
development concerns, to be accepted [by the delegates]. "I believe that
criticising is not enough. We need to move forward, suggest changes and
(consider) the implications of those changes, in order to identify
conflict(ing) effects. On the positive side, I am glad to see contradicting
views interacting actively."
* Reacting to Rosset's report, Velez "wonders if we are not being used as
'fig leaves'. In any event, the publication [of Rosset's message] says a lot
for the transparency of the reporting, if not of the meeting."
* Neunteufel concludes that "we have arrived at a very important point in
our discussion about multifunctionality: the political dimension.... has not
received the necessary attention until now. Our discussions about functions,
bottom-up-approaches etc. have been far too theoretical. His (Rosset's) mail
made us conscious - at least I hope - about the 'political power-play' that
is going on. How would some well-intentioned elaborated theoretical
framework be ever realised, if (in) political reality, the weights of
interests (WTO, Cairns-Group etc.) are so different!"
IMPORTANCE OF RESEARCHERS' OPINIONS
* Kleps emphasises "the importance of the researchers' opinion in [the
formulation of] local, regional or global policies and the valorisation of
the International Conferences' conclusions."
* Delawie clarifies that "the Cairns Group, formed in 1986, consists of 15
agricultural exporting nations: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile,
Colombia, Fiji, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Paraguay, the Philippines,
South Africa, Thailand and Uruguay. The United States is neither a member
nor 'the leader' of this group."
SMALL AND LARGE SCALE FARMERS
* "The benefits of farming and a rural existence (i.e., all those things
that economists can't or won't quantify because they aren't "traded" in
markets) make enough of a difference that these people still farm even
though on a spreadsheet it doesn't make sense, especially to those in
industrial agriculture or academia." (Dickson)
* Reacting to the IFOAM statement, Munoz states that "Organic farmers could
make a better case by claiming that it can be 'a sustainable practical
approach', not that it is 'sustainability put into practice'. If it were
sustainability put into practice, it would imply that the non-organic
functions of agriculture do not matter and that non-agricultural functions
also do not matter."
* "The most important thing for us all to do is to keep the options open for
those farmers and help empower them to be actors in setting agricultural and
development policies in their countries and regions. This means defending
farmers' rights and farmers' human rights, being vigilant against those
interests that seek to close down those options, be they local, national or
the new international mechanisms of governance such as WTO. In other words,
there is always a certain 'political' dimension that must be considered if
good ideas are to make it into practice." (Nigh)
* "Farmers, especially 'smallholders' in all their variety, have feed us and
will feed us, yes all 6 billion of us, in the future, techno-scientific
malarkey to contrary. They will use the best of our science and technology
to do that but they will not be simply reduced to unifunctional contract
suppliers of cheap commodities to a corporate 'global food system.' Not only
will they feed us (with quality food) but also they will continue to be the
primary social and culture link of humans with our natural environment, the
weavers of our ecological nets. We must care for them--farmers, farm
families and farm cultures--and for agriculture in all its multiple
functionality, so that agriculture can care for us and our world." (Nigh)
ECOLOGICAL AND ETHICAL PRINCIPLES
* "Ecosystems, which develop functional and structural capacities (e.g.,
diversity and redundancy) that optimise energy and matter flow (recycling
within the system and minimising losses out of the system) that are the most
resistant to disturbance, have the greatest ability to recover following
perturbations and are therefore able to persist over long periods of time.
This is certainly not the case for high intensity, industrial farm
operations that require massive energy inputs, experience high rates of soil
loss, leak nutrients, and negatively impact adjacent ecosystems." (Dickson)
* Ethics are important in sustainability as it can be framed as one of the
most common sources of sustainability failures, one for which usually there
is not a quick fix because there are not ombudsmen monitoring the
* Reacting to an earlier contribution by Smith, Neunteufel states that "
Social Darwinism is no more than a theory that has been already falsified!
...Human populations have been concerned with one issue, with which other
species have not: ethics. And this is also a non-neglectable point in the
whole debate! If in a social discourse ...this dimension is disregarded,
which evolution are we striving for? (Since we are taking part on this
E-conference, I assume we are trying to influence our evolution, aren't we?)
....[T]he whole debate about sustainability (from which multifunctionality
is a specific agricultural feature) shows that social ethics is a crucial
element, and an ethics based on social Darwinist principles may be, and most
probably IS counterproductive. I would like to remind you what Einstein
said: "The world, as we made it, is the result of an out-moded way of
thinking. The problems which have arisen from this, cannot be solved by the
same way of thinking."
* "Under today's patterns of degradation, the theory indicates that even
the fittest may not survive if the trend continues indefinitely, which is
one of the common elements that is inducing us to participate in this type
of forum" (Munoz).
September/22/1999/ELAN: Sustainability views
Dear Friends. One of my articles was published as a guess article in
the newsletter called "SUSTAINABILITY REVIEW". It is called "
Understanding Sustainability versus Sustained Development by Means of a
WIN Development Model". In this article I attempt to differenciate in
simple terms sustainability thinking and sustained development thinking.
The conclusions of this article are:
There can be development even when one or two sources of development
are in passive form. However, these are sustained development or
"sustainable development" positions resulting from specific
sustainability failures. The sufficient and necessary condition for
sustainability to take place is when all sources of development are
present in active form at the same time. Hence, sustainability is
optimal development, a "WIN" approach where all development concerns
and potential actions are considered at the same time. Therefore,
sustainable development is not sustainability, as illustrated by these
simple formula representations.
The full article can be seen at http://www.eeeee.net in
"sustainability review/Issue 1/September in the GUEST ARTICLE SECTION.
You can find there information on how to subscribe. I could forward the
newsletter to those interested, and I would welcome positive or negative
takes on it.