February/19/1999/FAO-MFCAL CONFERENCE: Week 3 Summary
From: agr99-Conference <agr99-Conference@fao.org>
Date: Fri, 19 Feb 1999 16:01:11 +0100
Week 3 Summary
Dear Ag-Success-L subscribers
We would like to sincerely thank all of you who have taken the time to
contribute your ideas during the last two weeks. Below is an analysis of
our exchange during Week 3 of our E-Conference. The summary is based on
ideas sent in by more than 50 conferees. The analysis is organized around
the elements of the draft conceptual framework that was sent out for
comment at the beginning of week 2. Comments by various authors are noted
below under the corresponding concepts or categories within the framework
(the names of people contributing different ideas are noted in
This analysis is on ideas sent in as of 18 February (the last message
included in this analysis was by Nigh). As all of you know, many more
messages were sent in after this analysis was completed. These ideas, and
those that come in over the next 2 or 3 days, will be included in the
a. Contributions/comments on the first Outline Framework (Q 1)
1. Scale and Geography
- Add cultural variations (Alexandra, Nigh, Gonzalves, Senanayake, De
Vries, Vanclay, Straka, Danderto, Moore, Mares, L=F8nning)
- Add social component (Vanclay, Straka); emphasize agriculture as a human
activity (Jannasch) with their organizations and institutions as
(potentially) enabling actors (Blokland) and age/gender issues (De Vries),
including pressures from external forces including the Green Revolution
- Agriculture is a human activity but land isn't , many functions of land
are not directly related to agriculture (Kazokas); put people and their
well-being on the land central (IGF, Miller, McGarry)
- What makes for both biodiversity and human health and pleasure in what
- Apply site-specific methods, systems, inventions, etc. (Falck)
- Include "aquatic ecosystems" under land (Kazokas)
- Accept perceptions of functions of agriculture and land among
to differ, which lead to incomprehension (Hijkoop, Staljanssens, Nath)
- Consider agriculture as an increasingly also urban activity (Nasr)
- Focus at least also on international consensus and activism to change
things; people working at all levels are important (Benbrook)
- Distinguish on-site and off-site impacts as changes at one scale have
effects on another scale (Staljanssens)
2. Time and Sequence
- transition to multifunctionality is unlikely without subsidy: we have to
figure how to put a value on sustainability, help those practicing it and
penalize those mining the land (Velez, Prreston)
- through scenarios and strategies long-term benefits become clearer than
through optimization (Staljanssens)
- include individual and family development in the short and long term
3. Multiple Functions
- Agriculture and land have not only economic, productive function (Nigh,
Zama): apply something like a Function-Value Matrix approach (Staljanssens)
- Include community agro-forestry (Salazar)
- Take this as starting point, rather than "Scale and geography" (Gulinck,
Meijerink), as other headings are dependent on choice of land use (IGF)
- Seeking multifunctionality may simply be refining our concept of "yield"
- Include aesthetic values (Vanclay)
- Warning: focus on multiple functions distract from the basic problem of
feeding 6 billion people without mining non-renewable resources, primarily
fossil fuels and phosphates, not to mention soil and water (Smith):
agriculture by its very nature reduces biodiversity and destroys ecosystems
(Kock); but sciente has developed ways to overcome this (Velez)
- Include multifunctionality of inputs (Holle)
- It all depends on how farming is done, including appropriate crop
4. Multiple Impacts (measuring, monitoring)
- Add monitoring techniques, including economic tools for non-market
valuation (Alexandra); change the ways in which presently "success" is
measured by FAO and the like(Benbrook)
- Even the most monofunctional types of agriculture are likely to have
hidden other functions (Gulinck)
- Next to the concept "synergism" for impacts of different kinds that
combine, use "concatenation" for impacts that trigger or participate to a
reaction chain of impacts (Staljanssens)
5. Trade-Offs (side-effects? passing expenses?)
- Need for "Ombudsman" for natural creatures (Salazar)
- Environmental accounting/auditing could be a tool, but we need to agree
on assessment criteria (Staljanssens)
6. Cross-functional Benefits
- Discover integrative approaches: practical "win-win" strategies to
achieving balance between agricultural production and environmental
- Can there be synergy between multiple functions? (Hijkoop)
- Develop wildlife as a source of income to farmers and see it as indicator
of health of the environment in which we live ( IGF)
7. Enabling Factors
- Add impediments (Alexandra, Norman, Meijerink), like present economic=
system, prices and markets (Hijkoop, Preston); how can we help farmers to
withstand the pressures undermining their livelihood and development
- Ensure that people in top of governments feel they have important role to
play viz viz local communities (Zama)
- seek for success stories that are not time- or context-specific but could
be globally applicable (Mares)
- Focus on successful cases at local, catchment, regional level: how was it
achieved, is it transferable, what are economics? (Mcgarry)
8. Additional Elements
- see it more as a system: structures, processes and relations between the
two: 3D rather than simple listing (Miller, Munoz, Bourdel, Neunteufel,
- replace the above headings by: "food and food security", "community life
and local culture" and "biodiversity" (Vanclay).
b. Interpretations of the multifunctional character of agriculture and land
- A&LM are human activities that are multifunctional, have multiple
purposes and multiple outcomes; provide critical goods and services;
function as complex set of cultural interactions between humans and
natural systems (Alexandra, Grantham), including affective and
recreational functions (Carretero)
- paradox of obvious role of food security and safe food next to social,
cultural and ethical challenges of modern, affluent, Western consumer
society (L=F8nning): farmers are not the only stakeholders (Grimshaw)
- land is a life supporting system, directly by generating food, feed,
fodder, fuel and fiber, and indirectly by providing a fabric (ecosystem)
for human welfare (Vergunst, van Heemstra Norton, Grantham)
- development of clear contracts between stakeholders all over the world as
our needs of limited resources as a species are growing (Miller, Bourdel,
- Monofunctionality has only been an issue during 20th century and we now
experience "renaissance of multifunctionality"(Gulinck, Senanayake,
Neunteufel, Kleps); MFCAL is stating the obvious (Mares)
- Use Hueting's definition of functions as "possible uses of the
environment for human beings". These can be categorized into 4 groups:
regulatory, carrier, production and information (Meijerink)
- Safeguarding ecological and socio-economic processes makes what we call
multifunctionality, hence such processes are not externalities (Neunteufel,
- MFC of land is determined by diversity of natural flora and fauna it can
support, MFC of agriculture is directed to reproducing the same amount of
biodiversity that the land once supported (Page)
- MFCAL is simply maximum use of land without degradation"(Mcgarry)
c. Why it is important to discuss the issue of the multifunctional
character of agriculture and land?
- often narrow policy agendas dominate (Alexandra, Falck); these are
one-dimensional growth-economic with drawbacks on the other dimensions
- agriculture needs legitimacy that is appealing to next generation
(L=F8nning, Jannasch), applying people-centered technologies (Aspelund)
- use of (scarce) resources has wide-ranging impacts (Nugent)
- monofunctionality leads to 'lose-lose' situations (Danderto): degradation
of natural resources and, through the 'treadmill effect', to
underutilization of human resources (Vergunst)
- get people and their institutions to broaden their focus and see larger
part of the system (Miller, Ramseier)
- let all groups have say in decisions on land use, especially local
people: ultimately a political concept (van Heemstra, Nigh) in the sense
that it supposes political will (Staljanssens)
- land use policies affect agriculture and agricultural policies the use of
land, there is often a mismatch between the two (Zama, Tsuji, Magat)
- the wholeness is more than the sum of the parts; agriculture is more
than a business, it is a way of life (De Vries); holistic view is called
- most common thinking is monofunctional while reality of small or poor
farmers is complex multifunctionality (Holle)
- listing and valuing all functions of the land will increase options to
farmer and policy maker (IGF)
- avoid jargon (Jannasch, Orskov, Grantham, Keeney, Claridge, Thomson,
Kazokas, Lucastoli, Incoing, Uweb, Falck, Grimshaw, Ramseier, Ugas, Kleps,
Wissink) and long texts (Soshana), or have two separate conferences (Uweb)
- but don't exaggerate into using solely simplified language (Nigh) as
theory/policy people and practical people should learn from each other
(Sprinker) as they need each other (Munoz, Velez)
- openly welcome all forms of expression, including poetry, declarations
from NGO's, stories from struggling poor farmers or bureaucrats (Alexandra,
- let's move from the all encompassing conceptual to the grounded specifics
July/08/1999/World Bank: Environmental Sustainability Discussion
Comment made by Lyonette
Thu, 08 Jul 1999 21:22:48 +0200
I think that Lucio Munoz has basically got it right in one go. If all the
elements of development are not joined together, there will not be
sustainability. Environmental sustainability is a sectoral approach which may
guarantee the survival of nature but, in concentrating on that sectoral issue,
it can easily damage social aspects. Protected Area management provides ample
illustration of this.
I believe that the aim must be to take a truly integrated view of development
issues, identify the necessary trade-offs between the economic, the social and
the environmental (to cite only the major sectors) and reconcile those demands
as far as possible in the decision finally taken. This is a qualitative process
in which all sources of knowledge have a place and sectoral approaches or
interests blend into the aim of development ie., the common or societal good.
July/09/1999/World Bank: Environmental Sustainability Discussion
Comment made by Olivieri
Fri, 9 Jul 1999 10:32:26 -0400 (EDT)
As I do not belong to the Bank, I might say that I have recently
become aware in other e-groups that the WTO economists and major scholars
from the United States consider sustainable development as
something just economically sustainable, in other words there will be no
discontinuity for lack of return on investment. That implies in growth and
will not be far from greed and the limiting concept of profit at whatever
Hence the same group of scholars will distinguish various types of
development and will then qualify the "environmentally sustainable" as
important, a recent fact, and thus I was strongly advised to qualify
clearly, by preceding sustainable development with the word ENVIRONMENT.
Similar to the way the Bank's discussion is pursuing now.
For us in the environment and development area in Brazil the words
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (Desenvolvimento Sustentvel) does have the sole
meaning of environmental, social and economically sustainable. Thus I do
not see a clear difference between the ideas of Mr. Potters and the reply
from Mr. Munoz.
Environmentally sustainable development is not a part, it is the whole, and
thus it will have to be economically sustainable, socially good and prudent
towards natural resources. It also requires intragenerational equity and
intergenerational equity. Equity means here not to avoid the opportunities
of other generations (intra-living and inter-future) to a resilient set of
environmental resources. It will certainly imply in giving a value to the
environment, extending the time horizon, and thinking of compensations for
living or futre groups of people, since it will be impossible or
anti-economical to use proactivity at all issues.
In the calculations of benefits and compensations one must be careful on
the discounting rates. It is a menace to use regular banking present value
and future value concepts, since in environmental sustainability one is
talking about life quality topics and not mere coin value of things. Thus
the cost of anticipatory policies should be assessed, though, with the
available calculation systems, in spite that they are in major serious
topics inadequate. The use of normal monetary valuing to environment is
acceptable but with strong care...
Sometimes assessments may be better if one employs energy assessments
instead of monetary concepts. In a previous contribution a participant gave
emphasis to the environmental impact assessment - that is a good tool, with
high time and resource costs--good only for the projcts with significant
potential of impact.
One important requisite of sustainability is that the actions should give
emphasis to prevention, well publicising goals and means, public
participation on major themes and transparency in dealing with the
Environmentally sustainable development means a non declining natural
wealth concept, something tied directly to "resilience". Sustainability
can be imported and exported and that is both opportunity and a menace.
The environmenatally sustainable development can thus be approached
initially by including in the general cost benefit analysis of projects the
social/cultural factors as well as the "natural assets" factors.
Thanks for the attention,
July/09/1999/World Bank: Environmental Sustainability Discussion
Comment made by: Koko
Fri, 9 Jul 1999 16:12:11 -0400 (EDT)
I disagree with previous postings by both Lucio Munoz and Kevin Lyonette.
While the sustainability debate (and the ensuing broil about appropriate
definitions and indicators) must not be a zero-sum game, in the ways that
we understand economic progress, business and industrial production
structures, various environmental sciences, and development, some forms
of sustainability will inevitably be had at the sacrifice of others. Very
few economists would equate all of these various shades of
sustainability. What is most important is to explicitly state what the
highest priorities are for a project, and introduce general guidelines
and goals for these and lesser priorities.
The World Bank will achieve at least better recognition (or more
correctly-labeled recognition) for its efforts when explicit goals of
sustainability are included in its various projects and activities.
Measurement and assessment issues may also then become a little more clear.
July/16/1999/World Bank: Environmental Sustainability Discussion
Summary # 1
Thank you to all the participants during the first two weeks of this discussion
on the Bank's performance in promoting environmental sustainability. We have
had a stimulating discussion due to the high level of participation and
diversity of views expressed on various issues. Academics, researchers,
government officials, NGOs, World Bank staff, and others concerned with
environmental sustainability and development issues throughout the globe were
among the participants. We would also like to take this opportunity to invite
once again the views from people who actually see the Bank's work first-hand or
better, live with the results of the Bank's work and therefore have concrete
impressions and ideas regarding the environmental impact of specific Bank
projects and programs.
This summary of the first two week's discussion highlights the issues, concerns,
and questions raised and suggests topics for further discussion.
*** The World Bank and Sustainable Development ***
There was a general consensus among the participants that development can be
sustainable only if it is economically viable, ecologically sustainable,
socially acceptable and ecologically justifiable. Promoting environmental
sustainability in development alone may guarantee the survival of nature but
could be at the expense of damage to social aspects. A truly integrated view of
development issues will need to identify the necessary trade-offs between
economic, social, and environmental aspects and reconcile those demands as far
as possible before a final decision is taken on a project, program or policy.
The evaluation of the Bank's performance has mostly been focused on the outcome
(unsustainable development) rather than inputs (use of natural resources). The
latter can be more damaging to the environment, one participant argued, and
needs to be taken into account.
Many of the Bank's problems, participants argued, have risen because of the
failure to involve all stakeholders in discussing the objectives, management,
and benefit sharing arrangements of projects and policies. Project financing
without stakeholder involvement in many cases has frequently led to the
impoverishment and disempowerment of the already underprivileged and thereby
shifting of resources to the better-off. The concept of sustainability they
argue has to reach beyond individual projects to embrace the affected population
as a whole.
The Bank can and should take a lead role in promoting sustainable development
(not just environmental sustainability in development), a participant commented,
through promoting consciousness building efforts at the country level through
NGOs, investing in education and training and involving the public and private
sectors through partnerships (e.g. Bahia, Brazil). The Bank should include
explicit goals of sustainability in its various projects and activities and
diminish its insistence on designing projects with a short implementation
There was a view that the Bank has finally caught up in terms of closing some of
the long lasting and critical gap between sustainability and environmental lip
service found in speeches, papers and annual reports on the one hand, and real
action in negotiations and in lending activities (less in training and learning)
on the other hand. This progress has much to do with the strategic
reorientations which President Wolfensohn has initiated. The strategic
decisions and policies made at the top, however, need to be internalized by each
staff in every branch and lending project.
There was another interesting view on sustainability which talked of
sustainability in terms of successful projects/programs beyond Bank involvement.
Too often, sustainability is defined in technical terms completely overshadowing
issues related to sustaining efforts beyond the life of a project/program. In
most cases because of the lack of monetary resources beyond Bank financing, many
activities were prone to wither away. It was suggested that Bank's role as a
catalyst is important in sustaining the benefits of its projects.
The Bank intends to promote sustainable development through its lending policies
and loans as tools. But participants argued that in many a cases SAL by the
Bank has led to environmental degradation (e.g. agricultural reform in Thailand,
SAP/SAL in some African countries, adjustment in Pakistan). There are rarely any
environmental safeguards as a part of the adjustment programs (Pakistan?s
coastal fisheries was cited as a good example of how export incentives ravaged
both ecology and livelihood both directly and indirectly. Increasing poverty in
turn leads to further degradation of the environment).
Also, more often than not, major Bank intervention in a country enhances the
power of the public sector to appropriate surpluses and displace burdens. It is
therefore crucial to evaluate as a part of Bank's SAL interventions, the
political dimensions of the distribution of benefits, costs, and burdens. Any
satisfactory analysis of development impact must be derived from the perceptions
of people most deeply affected. What the Bank needs, a participant argued, is a
radical overhaul of its development philosophy not just tinkering of policy and
practice at the margins which this evaluation might eventually lead to. The
Bank should move away from the idea that development problems are essentially
technical and is capable of being solved by experts (a prescriptive approach).
Another participant commented that although the concept of "Mainstreaming the
Environment" (into macro and sectoral economic policies) has been promoted in
the Bank for quite some time, many macroeconomists at key positions who
influence the Bank's image towards the outside -- its policy recommendations,
CAS, CAR results, etc. -- do not believe really in "Mainstreaming the
Environment." While, for example, CAR and CAS exercises generally include an
analysis of the environment and natural resources management sector, when it
comes down to the overall synthesis reports and recommendations -- written by
macroeconomists -- environmental issues are hardly mentioned and if so in a few
"mandatory" lines in extremely general and non binding terms. There are, for
example, no concrete recommendations as to how ecological values could stepwise
be considered at practical investment decision levels.
The Bank's own environmental experts and consultants also often share a good
part of the responsibility that environmental and sustainability policy
proposals do not survive beyond reports, workshops, speeches and announcements:
Too often such proposals -- for example, proposals for new environmental
legislation in a IDA-developing country -- are not much more than the
"translation" (with only mechanistic and cosmetic adaptations) of concepts,
standards, institutional structures of what these experts know them from
experience in OECD countries with little local content or consultations. Within
the Bank, despite having many coordinating bodies, working groups and
committees, the same occurs -- a participant argued that the Bank entities
responsible for environmental policy in one part of the Bank are often unaware
of important and high level initiatives being prepared in another part.
More money for monitoring and evaluation will not guarantee that safeguards will
be taken care of automatically, another participant argued. Projects from the
beginning should be planned, implemented and evaluated in a participatory
manner. Such a process would elicit the perception of the different stakeholder
groups of what an impact reduction is. Publicly discussing the policies before
putting them into real life cycle is something that the Bank should adhere to.
NGO participation in projects to be facilitated through EIAs. (EIAs themselves
are public documents as confirmed by Mr. Robert Goodland).
* Monitoring and Evaluation
The Bank has multiple objectives. It needs to prioritize its options and be
held accountable for those its policies affect. The Bank, participants argue,
often has shrugged off responsibility for project disasters to consultants,
implementing agencies and governments and withdraws from projects, making it
difficult to invoke the Bank's own inspection process to review Bank management
failures. A participant commented that for every activity that the Bank embarks
on it should have a "exit strategy" based on performance benchmarks that allow
transparent assessment. The Bank should think carefully in terms of
prioritization of scarce resources. A large portion of its research budget goes
to projects that are not implementable and therefore of no use to the Bank's
operations. Despite having a large internal research group, the Bank has been
spending large sums on external advice which, according to one observer, is
Finally, another participant countered that the problem of insufficient funds
and therefore too few studies will remain as long as the Bank finances its
project reviews. Project creation is creating income, while supervision and
review creates cost. Given that the Bank has to break even there will always be
the tension of too little spending on implementation supervision. One suggestion
would be to have international organizations finance such assessments to
insulate the studies from budget concerns.
July/19/1999/World Bank: Environmental Sustainability Discussion
Comment by Robert Goodland
Mon, 19 Jul 1999 14:50:16 -0400 (EDT)
Dear "Environmental Sustainability" correspondents:
Here is the best definition of environmental sustainability that I have been
able to find, contrasting environmental sustainability with the three other
forms of sustainability. All four types of sustainability are essential, but
that does not mean one should conflate them. Then again" sustainable
development" is a whole other ball of wax. I don?t have a good operational
definition of that. Does anyone have any they want to share?
Although ES is needed by humans and originated because of social concerns, ES
itself seeks to improve human welfare by protecting the sources of raw materials
used for human needs, and ensuring that the sinks for human wastes are not
exceeded, in order to prevent harm to humans.
Humanity must learn to live within the limitations of the biophysical
environment. ES means natural capital must be maintained, both as a provider of
inputs (sources), and as a sink for wastes. This means holding the scale of the
human economic subsystem to within the biophysical limits of the overall
ecosystem on which it depends. ES needs sustainable consumption by a stable
On the sink side, this translates into holding waste emissions within the
assimilative capacity of the environment without impairing it.
On the source side, harvest rates of renewables must be kept within regeneration
Non-renewables cannot be made sustainable, but quasi-ES can be approached for
non-renewables by holding their depletion rates equal to the rate at which
renewable substitutes are created.
Human sustainability means maintaining human capital. Human capital is a
private good of individuals, rather than between individuals or societies. The
health, education, skills, knowledge, leadership and access to services
constitute human capital. Investments in education, health, and nutrition of
individuals have become accepted as part of economic development. As human
lifespan is relatively short and finite (unlike institutions) human
sustainability needs continual maintenance by investments throughout the
lifetime. The start of human sustainability is fostered by promoting maternal
health and nutrition, safe birthing and infant and early childhood care. Human
sustainability needs 2-3 decades of investment in education and apprenticeship
to realize some of the potential that each individual contains. Adult education
and skills acquisition, preventive and curative health care may equal or exceed
formal education costs.
Social sustainability means maintaining social capital. It lowers the cost of
working together and facilitates cooperation. Trust lowers transaction costs,
for example. This can be achieved only by systematic community participation and
strong civil society, including government. Cohesion of community,
connectedness between groups of people, reciprocity, tolerance, compassion,
patience, forbearance, fellowship, love, commonly accepted standards of honesty
and ethics. Commonly shared rules, laws, discipline, etc., constitute the part
of social capital least subject to rigorous measurement, but essential for
Social (sometimes called "moral") capital requires maintenance and replenishment
by shared values and equal rights, and by community, religious and cultural
interactions. Without such care it depreciates as surely as does physical
capital. The creation and maintenance of social capital, as needed for social
sustainability, is not yet adequately recognized Violence is a massive social
cost incurred in some societies because of inadequate investment in social
capital. Violence and social breakdown can be the most severe constraint to
Economic capital should be stable. The widely accepted definition of economic
sustainability is "maintenance of capital," or keeping capital
intact. Thus Hicks' definition of income -- "the amount one can consume
during a period and still be as well off at the end of the
period" can define economic sustainability, as it devolves on consuming
interest, rather than capital.
Historically, economics has rarely been concerned with natural capital (e.g.
intact forests, healthy air). To the traditional economic criteria of
allocation and efficiency must now be added a third, that of scale (Daly, 1992).
The scale criterion would constrain throughput growth the flow of
material and energy (natural capital) from environmental sources to sinks.
Economics values things in money terms, and is having major problems valuing
natural capital, intangible, intergenerational, and especially common access
resources, such as air. Because people and irreversibles are at stake,
economics needs to use anticipation and the precautionary principle routinely,
and should err on the side of caution in the face of uncertainty and risk.
July/21/1999/World Bank: Enviromental Sustainability Discussion
Comment made by: Mebratu
Wed, 21 Jul 1999 09:53:41 -0400 (EDT)
Yes, overall sustianbility implies component suatainability but
component sustainability does not imply overall sustainability. I am
not against the 'component' approach. We will always need to have the
in-depth component-wise approach where the disciplinary inputs become
very important. What I am against is to take it as the point of
departure from the point of systems sustainability. If that is the
case, like you said, we will end up in 'compatrtmentalized solutions'
which do not capture the whole dynamics. Then, the challenge becomes
to bring the compartmentalized solutions into terms with each other.
This has not been successful due to the influence of conflicting
priorities that is embodied in each compartments. On the contrary, if
we start with (transdisciplinary) understanding of the 'whole' and the
dynamics at the interface to be followed by an in-depth (disciplinary)
analysis of the parts it will lead us to a solution framework that
would influnece the whole systemic function. This is what results to
an overall sustainability. Hence, it is not a matter of making choices
between the whole or the part. It is rather following the
whole-component-whole chain of thought.
The issue you raised regrading the redefinition of the development
process from sustainability perspective is crucial to global
sustainability. This is particularly important in terms of reorienting
the development process in the developing world. Look forward to learn
more on WB's intiative along this line.
July/21/1999/World Bank: Environmental Sustainability Discussion
Comment made by Flint
Wed, 21 Jul 1999 15:55:35 -0400 (EDT)
Hello from the mid-Atlantic region of the US (Virginia). My
name is Warren Flint. After 25 years of research and teaching in
universities, I am now pursuing something I care deeply about:
encouraging people around the globe to think and act sustainably.
I have just joined this discussion group, but have reviewed most
of the posting up to this point in time. I would like to make a
couple of general comments regarding the stage that has been set
by the World Bank in opening this discussion. Following this
initial submittal, I will make another separate submittal that
will address and/or re-enforce comments made by two other
In the Announcement Document for this discussion forum the World
Bank to open this forum on "Environmental Sustainability", the
following insight was offered. "Considering the magnitude of
environmental issues, the impact of the World Bank Group's
programs on broad environmental trends in the developing world
has been limited, and the achievements of various programs have
This statement is followed in the Bank's Approach Paper by the
statement that the Bank's "..... achievements include the
introduction of environmental concerns into the development
agenda ......." I would like to suggest that the second
statement, and the lack of recognition it demonstrates
("environment as an add-on") for the real importance of
environment in the overall picture of sustainable development
certainly supports the first observation above of why the Bank's
programs have only met with limited success.
Environment should not be "introduced" to the economic
development (and growth) agenda, but rather "integrated" into one
whole entity. I would argue that healthy economies can't sustain
without healthy environments. Economy, environment, and yes also
social equity are interdependent components of sustainable
development. Misleading answers to questions may be obtained by
looking at one of them in isolation.
Sustainability is thus additive. We must have a biologically
sustainable forest to have a biologically sustainable yield, a
biologically sustainable yield to have an economically
sustainable industry, an economically sustainable industry to
have a sustainable economy, a sustainable economy to have
culturally sustainable communities, and culturally sustainable
communities to have a sustainable society.
Many of today's perceived environmental problems grow out of the
incompatibility of human material desires with the sustainable
capacity of the environment. People's frustration about
understanding this and denial in its happening is understandable,
but does not help. What is needed is courage and the will to
accept realities as they are, working with the means we have.
Jeff Burley in his 13 July 1999 contribution begins the dialogue
of what sustainability really is and how economics, environment,
and social/institutional/equity issues are interconnected. I
will add to his discussion in my next submittal because I believe it
is extremely important that we are beginning this discussion from
a sound foundation, not the implications of environment as an
add-on referred to above.
August/02/1999/World Bank: Environmental Sustainability Discussion
Comment made by: Lyonette
Mon, 2 Aug 1999 17:04:02 -0400 (EDT)
What Lucio has said is very well and succinctly said. It reflects the very
widespread acknowledgement today that current theories, whether they be "total
free market" or mixed economy or even "third way", are not effective. Why?
In my view, based on a certain amount of first-hand experience, it is because
two problems - first, economic growth is still regarded as development rather
than as the means towards achieving development. This means, as many people
on this discussion and others (CDF;IKD and certainly many debates and
discussions here in Europe, including the EU Ministers of development
cooperation) have pointed out, that current practices sideline social and
environmental costs. Such costs are now coming back to haunt governments and
banks with a vengeance and will cost much more in compensationory or
mitigatory expenditure than if they had been factored into the equation from
That highlights the second problem - in addition to the dominance
of the economists, there persists a very strong and deep-rooted emphasis not
only on specialized knowledge but on sectoral knowlege. The western culture
and educational values encourage this by giving highest recognition to deep -
indeed often abstruse - sectoral knowledge but making the profound mistake of
attributing overall relevance to such knowledge. Such knowledge is relevant
and necessary but it needs to be complemented by other such knowledge from
other sectors and sources and to be brought together into a holisitic
framework - the sustainability theory which Lucio mentions. In my view, this
debate should not be concerned with "how can the Bank better achieve
environmental sustainability?" but " how can the Bank improve its actions
regarding the environment so as to better contribute to and facilitate the
achievement of sustainability overall?".
There are enormously strong forces of institutional culture and of human
resistance to addressing the challenge posed above but I firmly believe that,
unless the sustainability theory path is pursued steadily, modestly and
professionally, much, if not all, of such discussions as this will in fact be
marginal to real progress on the issue of development.
August/05/1999/World Bank: Environmental Sustainability Discussion
Summary # 2
Moderator E-Sust (Moderator1@worldbank.org)
Thu, 5 Aug 1999 17:39:21 -0400 (EDT)
We would like to thank all the participants during the second two weeks of this
discussion on the Bank's performance in promoting environmental sustainability.
We have had a stimulating discussion due to the high level of participation and
diversity of views expressed on various issues. Academics, researchers, NGOs,
World Bank staff, and others concerned with environmental sustainability and
development issues throughout the globe were among the participants. We would
also like to take this opportunity to thank people for presenting first-hand
accounts of the results of the Bank's work and their impressions and ideas
regarding the environmental impact of specific Bank projects and programs.
The forum will conclude on August 15th. However, we are hoping to resume
discussions in November to present findings from the ongoing OED review. The
ideas and issues generated in this discussion will also be incorporated in the
review. We also seek the opinion of participants on the discussions so far and
suggestions if any for future improvements.
Thanks again for your participation.
This summary of the second two week's discussion highlights the issues,
concerns, and questions raised and suggests topics for further discussion.
** The World Bank and Sustainable Development **
There was a general agreement among the forum participants that the Bank has a
critical role in driving the sustainable development process as its funds are
largely used in leveraging shifts in the existing processes. According to one
participant, while one cannot absolve the developing country governments of
their gross and continued mismanagement, it might be worthwhile for the Bank at
this juncture to consider conceptual aspects of sustainability and reflect upon
a cross-section of Bank programs. Some corporate rethinking towards a basic
framework of the economic, environmental and human variables of sustainability
is urgently needed for the twenty first century Bank financed development
projects, a participant added.
Robert Goodland offered to the discussion what he considers the best definition
of environmental sustainability along with three other forms of sustainability
(Human, Social, and Economic). Goodland argued that while all four types of
sustainability are essential, it is not necessary to fuse them together. The
advantage of keeping them separate -- at least at the concept stage -- according
to Goodland, will facilitate the disciplines to turn their expertise on them.
According to Desta Mebratu, Durval Olivieri and other participants who disagreed
with Goodland, the breakdown of sustainability into its component parts will not
enable us to capture the dynamics of the complex system. The term environment
is much broader than it is perceived in the ecological (natural environment)
sense. There is a need they argued, for an interdisciplinary approach that
works with all the disciplinary domains and knowledge basis including indigenous
practices. According to one other participant, in light of the emerging global
dynamics, the Bank should allow for redefinition of sustainable development not
only in terms of social, economic, political and environmental terms but also in
humanistic, cultural and ethical ones. This should involve innovative forms of
civil society participation in Bank projects and programs leading to
sustainability and well being of the society as well as the environment. The
need for the Bank to take a lead role in developing and promoting a
"sustainability theory" to understand and guide the sustainability practice was
also echoed by some forum participants.
There was also discussion on how to reconcile two differing forms of sustainable
development agenda; the green agenda (emphasis on natural ecosystems) and the
brown agenda (emphasis on poverty alleviation and food self sufficiency). It
was suggested that there is a need to develop and promote a new forms of
"sustainable livelihood" approach which addresses the elements of the green and
the brown agendas.
** World Bank as a Learning Organization **
A view that was constantly echoed during the discussion was that of transforming
the World Bank as a learning organization for the twenty first century.
According to one participant, with the increasing complexity of the global
environment, no organization can survive without embracing "adaptive management
strategies" as a basis for building a learning organization. In order to adopt
a new sustainable development paradigm, it was suggested that, the Bank staff
need to reeducate themselves through training and experience that go beyond the
classical project management and which includes systems thinking, vision
sharing, personal growth and team learning and recognition. For example, if the
objective is to empower participation of local communities in the development
process, the Bank staff and development practitioners in general need to have a
different thinking framework that would enable them to effectively communicate
with local communities. To effectively harness development processes for
sustainability, a participant noted that, the World Bank should increasingly
become the Global Bank: not only for economic restructuring but for the key
dynamics of global evolution.
** Safeguards **
According to one participant, the Bank's effort of addressing the potential
adverse impacts from Bank-financed projects is still very much limited to
after-the-fact remedial actions which comes as an add-on component instead of
being preventive. This approach usually creates resistance on the borrowers side
for economic reasons), besides being less-effective in terms of protecting the
Another participant argued that EIA procedures have no impact on project design
(especially in the area of pest management). EIAs are carried out in isolation
and usually are too late in the project design cycle to make a difference. The
operations staff seeking to move projects through the pipeline often consider
EIA as an inconvenience. The Bank?s capacity to promote sustainability
therefore, the participant added, is closely tied to internal structural reforms
that reduce incentives to move money and encourage operations staff to improve
design and supervision of projects. The current definitions and the current
program for EAs/SAs at the Bank, a participant argued, de facto, protect the
interests of the Bank at the expense of the borrower, and primarily that segment
of the borrower's population (people and resources) which is not represented in
the decisions, even with third party, NGO, advocates.
The case of Chotiari Reservoir Project in Pakistan was cited an example of a
Bank project which displaced scores of people with inadequate compensation and
resettlement resulting in adverse environmental impacts. According to the case
study presenter, the search for cost-effective, equitable and ecologically safer
alternatives were devalued as a fundamental goal in this project.
** Stewardship **
The World Bank has been successful in facilitating the development of
comprehensive strategy documents such as National Environmental Action Plans
(NEAP) and Forestry Action Plans (FAP) according to a participant. However, most
of these documents have led to limited (or zero) implementation results due to
inappropriate consideration of implementation mechanisms. The Bank should move
away from "blueprint" solutions and incorporate local socio-economic,
institutional and cultural dynamics in the implementation process, he added.
** Mainstreaming **
While the recognition of the limitations of the add-on (end-of-pipe) approaches
at the micro-level (the firm level) has led to new approaches of dealing with
the whole product and process systems, environmental approaches at the
macro-level are still practiced as an add-on. It is necessary therefore, a
participant argued, to move beyond the add-on approaches and make environment
part of the mainstream development agenda. The add-on nature of the
environmental programs has led most policy and decision-makers in developing
countries to consider the bank's mainstreaming effort as "unnecessary" Western
imposition. Thus, even with elaborate sections on environment in some documents,
actual effects of mainstreaming is lagging far behind. Furthermore, little has
been done in terms of building synergies between poverty reduction, economic
efficiency and environmental protection especially in SSA.
Another participant argued using the Mexico example that, Structural Adjustment
Loans (SALs), the US-led rescue package and Mexico's entry into NAFTA actually
have impoverished millions of Mexicans -- and enriched a few hundred. The
results did not lead to "sustainable development" but its opposite.
It was highlighted by a participant that the recipient governments very often
have their own priorities and these are concerned almost entirely with the
economic potential of the projects without much regard to its
environmental/sociological impact or long term sustainability. The Bank thus
faces the problem that the Governments it wishes to help are often much more
concerned with factors such as providing employment than they are with long term
environmental needs and resent it when the latter take up too much space. Nor is
it necessarily the case the that at the "grass roots" the people whom the
project is intended to benefit are environmentally aware. There is thus a need,
according to participant, to promote better understanding of environmental
issues at the interface where Bank staff meet, and work with, recipient
Governments and peoples. This can be done, the participant suggested by:
a) organizing an annual international meeting of Ministers and senior officials
from those recipient Ministries which handle Bank business and in particular
projects with clear environmental implications. The meeting would aim to
increase participants' awareness of long term environmental issues and share the
problem of how best to incorporate environmental thinking and considerations
relating to sustainability, in projects which are primarily motivated by
relatively short term development needs; and
b) including in Bank appraisal missions related to those projects which are
expected to have a direct impact on the environment and quality of life of large
populations, a team of experienced NGO based environmentalists (local and
international) whose work it would be (while the members of the main team were
conducting their work) to deal with local citizens, help them to identify their
concerns and include those concerns in the appraisal report.
** Global Sustainability **
According to a participant, there are some activities now that address
environmental issues of global concerns which are directly financed by the World
Bank or through GEF. However, there is no significant WB financing policy shift
in terms of promoting more sustainable production and consumption structures in
the developing world. Some areas where such policy shifts could have significant
global impact are increased infrastructure development for "mass transit"
(railways) and increasing the share of renewable resources such as solar energy.
** Monitoring and Evaluation **
A case study was presented by a participant of the community based monitoring of
a World Bank project (Indonesia: Integrated Swamps Development Project). The
monitoring was done by a local NGO with the help of farmers. While the farmers
expressed appreciation of the project?s efforts to alleviate poverty after the
resettlement, they reported increased use of toxic pesticides and
pesticide-related poisonings including deaths along with a range of other
dissatisfactions with project implementation. A number of concrete
recommendations were then presented to the Bank to improve the project by
undertaking corrections to Phase I and re-design of Phase II of the project.
However, according to the case study presenter, the Bank has since then
continuously delayed its promised fact finding survey and the task team put
together for the survey has little involvement of Bank staff, government or the
farmers. Neither the Bank nor the relevant government departments, the
presenter argues, have shifted disbursement of project funds from toxic
pesticides to support ecological alternatives.
It was suggested that community participation is an effective ingredient of
effective monitoring and evaluation and the Bank desperately needs help on this
front. The Operations Evaluation Department (OED), a participant recommended
can lead the development of a mandatory system-wide institutional process for
(a) ensuring that independent monitoring and evaluation of not just some but all
projects take place and (b) the results of such monitoring are integrated into
swift mid-course project corrections in "real time."
The problem in most cases, according to a participant, is that the dense mass of
documentation, required by both the Bank and the recipient Governments, which
often tends to obscure the human and environmental dimension. One of the ways to
deal with this is to see that the people who write the project documents and
those who implement them are sensitive to holistic concerns The only way to do
this, he added, is for the Bank to involve itself in creating awareness and use
for this purpose not just its own staff but, as it is seeking to do in this
dialogue, look for advice outside its own ranks.
** Participation/Stakeholder Involvement **
Stakeholder involvement has emerged as one of the major themes of the discussion
about World Bank sponsored projects and policies. According to one participant,
in order to be meaningful and effective, it must be part of an integrated
process that includes all stages in the life of a Project; it cannot be an
"add-on" or a human relations exercise. Workers, community representatives, and
other stakeholders must be involved from the outset; i.e., in establishing goals
that reflect their lifestyles, hopes and aspirations, and normative frameworks,
with the expectation of considerable divergence.
A representative of Public Services International (the international trade
secretariat for public sector unions and workers), while applauding the Bank?s
past environmental efforts, called for greater inclusion of trade unions and
working people in the national and international structures and processes. The
need for overall institutional strengthening and policy reform according to the
participant is clear in client countries with poor environmental records. It is
no coincidence he argued that that these are also countries with worst records
in labor or human rights and in terms of having largest Bank-sponsored projects.
According to the participant, many of the countries with elaborate National
Environmental Action Plans have made little concrete progress towards
environmental sustainability because of inappropriate implementation mechanisms.
Key to this lies in the need for broad-based stakeholder involvement and control
that begins at local level.
The need to bring affected parties to the table with the decision makers--those
who are directly and indirectly in the Bank project path and those who bear the
brunt of economic burden for the repayment of loans through currency adjustments
and higher taxes--often came in the discussion. In order to form a practical
basis of sustainable development, it was suggested that, involvement of relevant
critical participation of the key stakeholders is needed to guarantee the
effective sustainability of the environmental, social, and economic projects and
to achieve coordinated short mid and long term sustainability goals.
Another participant urged the forum participants to move beyond academic debate
on sustainability to discuss more practical issues. If the World Bank wants to
really address sustainability, the participant argued, that it should begin by
consulting the people whom it aims to help.
August/17/1999/World Bank: Environmental Sustainability Discussion
Moderator E-Sust (Moderator1@worldbank.org)
Tue, 17 Aug 1999 16:52:22 -0400 (EDT)
We would like to thank all the participants who took part during the last six
weeks of this discussion on the Bank's performance in promoting environmental
sustainability. We have had a stimulating discussion due to the high level of
participation and diversity of views expressed on various issues. Academics,
researchers, NGOs, World Bank staff, and others concerned with environmental
sustainability and development issues throughout the globe were among the
participants. We would also like to take this opportunity to offer special
thanks to some of the participants for presenting first-hand accounts of the
results of the Bank's work and others for leading the discussion with their
impressions and ideas regarding the environmental impact of specific Bank
projects and programs.
Although the forum is now officially closed, we are hoping to resume discussions
in November or December 1999 to present preliminary findings from Phase I of the
OED evaluation. The ideas and issues generated in this discussion will be taken
in account for the OED review. We are also planning to have workshops, one for
each Region (Africa, East and South Asia, Europe and Central Asia, Middle East
and North Africa, and Latin America and Caribbean regions) for the mid-term of
the evaluation (November 1999 - February 2000). These 3-day workshops would
involve 30-40 representative stakeholders from borrower countries, donors, NGOs,
private sector and environmental practitioners in the region. The agenda would
be based on the Phase I Synthesis Paper for the environmental review, the
relevant draft country case study, and invited papers (by selected
participants), to be followed by a facilitated discussion of the Bank's
performance and implications for the future. This component is intended to
provide key stakeholders in the regions a forum to contribute useful knowledge
and feedback at the mid-point of the evaluation process and are the key input to
Phase II. We would like to encourage E-Sust participants to get in touch with
the moderators (mailto:Moderator1@worldbank.org?subject=Re: [E-Sust] Concluding
Remarks) if they are interested in
participating in any of these regional workshops.
The forum messages will continue to be archived at:
and through the New Ideas in Pollution Regulation website at:
Once again, thank you for your input and we look forward to your continued
participation later this year.
August/17/1999/World Bank: Environmental Sustainability Discussion
Summary # 3
Moderator E-Sust (Moderator1@worldbank.org)
Tue, 17 Aug 1999 16:46:27 -0400 (EDT)
This summary of the final two week's discussion highlights the issues, concerns,
and questions raised and suggested topics for future discussion.
World Bank and Sustainable Development
The final two weeks of the discussions raised some specific issues on the World
Bank's role in promoting environmental sustainability. According to one
participant, much of the forum discussion on sustainability so far had been
focused on social/political dimensions of sustainability without any mention of
issues like energy efficiency, renewable resources, and industrial ecology. The
participant argued that decentralized energy and energy market reforms
(elimination of subsidies etc.) are as important and should certainly find a
place in any discussion of the Bank's role in promoting
environmental/sustainability policy. In a related issue, a participant added
that, one of the major challenges that we face today stems from the mismatch
between the pace of technological/technical innovations and socio-economic
context in which they are introduced in the countries. He urged the discussion
forum to help focus in narrowing this mismatch and for the Bank to facilitate
the effective implementation of concrete (technical) sectoral solutions. There
was a disagreement among the participants on whether the mismatch is an issue of
ownership and control or that of participation. It opens up a very important
area for examination of the Bank policy in this area a participant concluded.
There has been extended discussion in the forum in the last six weeks about the
broad-based sustainable development criteria that the Bank should make part of
its lending policies--and how these should include social, economic and
political indicators, in addition to the natural environment. According to one
participant, a country's record in the areas of human and labor rights is
equally important and must also be on the table when Bank assistance is being
arranged. The participation of workers and trade unions in the Bank reform
process, projects and programs was once again stressed.
Mainstreaming and Safeguards
There has been little mention in the forum of the role of the Ministries or
Departments of the Environment (where they exist) in those countries where the
Bank is operating, wondered another participant. He suggested that the
"Mainstreaming" of environment can be best achieved if the Bank always insisted
that they are represented at planning meetings and try, where possible, to
strengthen their capability. In terms of safeguards, he added that provision be
made in project planning for a mechanism for providing mediation (using conflict
resolution techniques already developed) where projects encounter unforeseen
social or environmental conflict.
Another participant called for a list of Bank projects which can serve as good
practices and that the Bank can use as a base to built on for its future work.
Moderators wish to add to this that the ongoing OED review may provide us some
good examples/case studies/success stories which will be presented to the forum
in the second phase of the discussions.
August/13/1999/World Bank: Environmenal Sustainability Discussion
Comment made by Mebratud
Fri, 13 Aug 1999 11:22:03 -0400 (EDT)
It has been an interesting experience to take part in this discussion.
I am encouraged by the fact that the OED of the World Bank took the
initiative to create this forum and I sincerely hope that this
exercise is not done as another version of institutional 'green-wash'
that has increasingly become fashinable in the corporate empire. If
that ('green-wash') is not the case, we can say that WB has started
the process of becoming a 'learning organization' and could be a
source of hope for the billions in the South. This remains to be seen
through the follow-up of this discussion and the actions to be taken
by the WB in the following year(s).
Finally, I would like to express my appreciation to the moderators who
have done a good job in screening and summerizing the inputs made to
the discussion. This discussion would not have been as interesting as
it has been without the informative and thought-provoking inputs of
some of the participants to whom we all owe an appreciation. I look
forward to interact with you on another cyber-forum.
September/10/1999/FAO-AGR99-CONFERENCE: Li and Li comment on Munoz
Li and Li comment on Munoz
Topic: The Way Forward
Subject: Li and Li comment on Munoz
Date: Fri, 10 Sep 1999 20:25:44
Moderator's note: This message contains two comments
Just one word about the sustainability theory: my fear is that it continues
to overwork now with the real danger of one day becoming yet another
generation of very deadly intellectual "opium" ------please do forgive me
for using this dreadful term, which would give you whatever you want IN
ILLUSION ! Once again, we need to place everything in perspective, knowing
that something much better can and will be found, if only we intend to try
our best to do it !!
Many sincere thanks,
So heartened by your wonderful comments and I earnestly wish I could ever be
just as enthusiastic as you are about the (parts of) sustainability theory,
if only to make my bending and parts sustainable !! As to the linkage issue,
I could not agree with you any more that the problem precisely rests with
our inability to be "flexible". I wonder, perhaps for good reason though,
whether all our current ills are not a result of the gone-too-far
reductionist thinking in some quarters. Already, other discussants in this
conference have expressed various concerns over the top-down/bottom-up
dichotomy, the participation VS inventionism thinking and so on so
forth....But top-down approaches are not tantamount to top-down management,
which will be quite useful in our case. Flexibility with wider choices
avaliable does look a good way forward, so do all the linkages between the
parts. After all, it takes more than trees to make an impressive forest and
we can not afford to fail to see the forest for
the trees !
On a less altruistic note, yesterday I did write a very short message to the
eTeam on the sustainability issue, but it did not appear (or at least has
not appeared so far). I resend that message here, perhaps we could develop
further exchanges on that----by the way my e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
That message reads:
"Just a word about the sustainability theory: my fear is that the term
continues to overwork with the real danger of becoming one day a new
generation of deadly intellectual "opium"----please do forgive me to use
this most dreadful word, which would give you whatever you want IN ILLUSION.
We need to place everything in perspective knowing that some thing better
can be found, if we intend to try our best to do so !".
Once again, thank you so much for your most valuable comments and please do
keep the exchange going. And take care...
September/14/1999/FAO-AGR99-CONFERENCE: Phase III Summary
Phase III Summary
Topic: The Way Forward
Subject: Phase III Summary
Date: Tue, 14 Sep 1999 20:00:55
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/17/1999/FAO AGR99-CONFERENCE: Comment by Primavesi
Sent: 17 September 1999 11:46
Subject: last message!
Dear Maastricht Conferees!
Re-evaluating all this what were discused on this conference about MFCAL,
I remember that at the beginning rised the idea to use the main ecological
functions to support all the MFCAL issue: regulatory, carrier, production
and educational. The proposition during the evolution of this conference
was to represent the sustainable development as D=economical x social x
ecological! How to match this equation with the ecological functions that I
think are the only we have to consider as fundamental to a development,
which depends on the natures (including human) activity? So, for example,
how can a spaceman develop anything sustainable flying around the Earth.
At first he need to guarantee his life conditions! Can he do this with a
pocket full of money? Also a tourist who is visiting the amazonian jungle
is not able to sustain himself with a pocket full of money! The same way,
a city cannot sustain itself even with the biggest and richest world banks
acting in it: this city depends on the importation of water and food (I
can also consider energy) from other regions to survive! Is not
sustainable! So, I can consider that a sustainable development did not
depend on money! On money based economy! Because of the actual main
ndependence of money from produced renewable goods (or dependence of not
renewable goods and poker like games results). Sustainability depends on
the production of renewable goods (to guarantee the minimal life functions
of the humans, the base of an economy, because they are consumers, an they
make the money flow in the system), not on poker games. I can also say
that the sustainability of the cities depend on the presence and sustainable
production of renewable goods of the surrounding natural and agricultural
environments. Importation of goods, mainly water and food is not
We can get certainly an artificial development, but not sustainable
development. A artificial development in wich some regions will be richer
and other poorer als they would be. On ecological basis, of renewable
production of water and food and other renewable goods this gap between
development and underdevelopment will be closer. So we CAN NOT consider
the MFCAL of the urban environments aparted from the natural and
agricultural environments! They must be seen as a whole. Somebody did
say that we can practice hidroponic cultures to produce food in urban
areas: God! And that we can recycle the water: very god, then do that!
And we can decompose the wastes chemicaly and recycle the soup: also god!
And what about the microclimate? We have to spend energy to work the air
conditioners because we have no green areas to do this for us! Nor in the
cities nor around the cities! Someone can say that we can create suspended
gardens to do that: very god! And that we can build rain collectors to
conserve the water and so be independent of external water: very god!
Are somebody doing that? We can see that god ideas to solve the problems
for a sustainable development are available, but not realised. What is
laking? Education, awareness of the population on the basal life needs?
So, my suggestion, stimulated by Munoz inputs, was to use some simple
indicators (perhaps qualitative) for sustainable developmeent based on
the 4 main ecological functions: as regulatory we can consider the result
of a healthy production of plant BIOMASS (0-400 t/ha dry matter) with
high BIODIVERSITY, to allow a carrying capacity of a high human POPULATION
with a minimal life standard. And all this can be allowed by a ecological
global view EDUCATION on the regulatory bases of nature to maintain the
main life needs. Money? When we have healthy consumers, and renewable
goods (biomass, biodiversity, and transformed products) production, with
a efficient recycling of the wastes to avoid the sickness of the consumers
and the natural production processes (allowed by ecological education of
human population) the money (representing renewable goods for exchange)
will flow. Money in the pocket did not mean that I get a sustainable
development. MONEY ISNT AN INDICATOR FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT! So
we can write: D= (population x education) x (biomass x diversity), and this
equation will include the social x ecological main results. Each combination
valuated in a scale of 0-10, with an end result of 0-100. Consider
population from low to high, perhaps for each environmental carrying
capacity, interacting with education from modern, traditonal to ecological
with global view; plant biomass production (from 0-400 t/ha dry mass, or
low to high), interacting with plant biodiversity (from low to high). When
D=100 we have the optimal sustainable development conditions, for a given
carrying capacity, which can be increased with increased resident available
water and plant biomass. Be aware that the MFCAL of an desertic area will
be different from a tropical rain forest! Althought I can transform this
forest in a desertic area, because of the climatic well distributed rain
conditions (relative humidity and buffered temperatures) were created by
the produced high diversity biomass.
Education will be the main need for an sustainable development. Education
includes the awareness of people on the need of take care on the natural
and resources (water, soil, air, forests), maintain the consume to a
minimal need, to reduce the waste production, to help the neighbours to
develop, to know and act within ecological principles.
I think that this will be our last contribution, so I will wish all the
best greetings and that we can realize our dreams to create a paradise on
earth, withou hunger, without wars, without stresses, but efficient
managers of our natural resources and life on our ship Earth, optimizing
MFCAL to support 26 billion passangers. When I am bombing the third class
in the ship it will be possible I will sink the ship: so stop! Think
better!. We are all in the same ship, althought in different classes.
Thank you all for give me the opportunity to say all that what I thought.