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;



Estimados Amigos:

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;

Lucio Munoz


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 and, See

> 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

if needed.




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

> forests.

``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.


Lucio Munoz

Vancouver, BC.


Rapid Assessment and Planning Under Qualitative Comparative Research: Can

This Method Be Used to Balance Out Methodological Suitability and

Cost-Effectiveness Discourse?

Key Terms Rapid Assessment, Planning, Qualitative Comparative Research,

Non-traditional 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

non-traditional research.


September/08/1999/FAO AGR99-CONFERENCE: Comments by Munoz

Dear Friends.

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.


Lucio Munoz

Vancouver, Canada


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.


Lucio Munoz



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



Lucio Munoz

Vancouver, Canada


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;

Lucio Munoz

Vancouver, Canada


September/13/1999/FAO-AGR99-CONFERENCE: Comments by Munoz

From: Toledo/Lucio Munoz []

Sent: 13 September 1999 04:13

To: agr99-Conference

Cc: ''

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



Lucio Munoz


September/13/1999/FAO-AGR99-CONFERENCE: Munoz Comments on Chapin

From: Toledo/Lucio Munoz []

Sent: 13 September 1999 03:27

To: agr99-Conference

Cc: ''

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.

Lucio Munoz.


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.


Lucio Munoz

Vancouver, Canada


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.


Lucio Munoz


September/14/1999/FOA-AGR99-CONFERENCE: Phase III Summary

Dear Conferees,

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

numbers sequential.

Again, thank you for your contributions and participation.






*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

'intellectual arrogance'.

*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).





*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).


*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).


*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

resolution (Allen).

*Bottom-up approaches don't exclude top-down management (Li).


*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





*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).



*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

advisers (Munoz).

*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,

etc. (Aspelund).

*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

only (Senanayake).



*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,

The eTeam


September/14/1999/FAO AGR99-CONFERENCE: Munoz comment

on Hartzok

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;

Lucio Munoz


September/15/1999/FOA-AGR99-CONFERENCE: Comment by Munoz

From: Toledo/Lucio Munoz []

Sent: 14 September 1999 20:35

To: agr99-Conference

Cc: ''

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.


Lucio Munoz

Vancouver, Canada.


September/15/1999/FAO AGR99-CONFERENCE: Munoz Comment on Rosset 

From: Toledo/Lucio Munoz []

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

agricultural regions:

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.


Lucio Munoz

Vancouver, Canada


September/15/1999/FOA AGR99-CONFERENCE: Comment by Munoz

From: Toledo/Lucio Munoz []

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;

Lucio Munoz

Vancouver, Canada


September/15/1999/FAO AGR99-CONFERENCE: Comment by Munoz

From: Toledo/Lucio Munoz []

Sent: 14 September 1999 16:39

To: agr99-Conference

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

To: agr99-Conference

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

described below:

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:


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:


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:


5) Again, substituting terms, we have:

D = AB = (RA.UA).(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


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

as follows:


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:


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:


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:






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;


Lucio Munoz

Vancouver, Canada.


September/16/1999/FAO AGR99-CONFERENCE: Munoz

comment on Whittaker

From: Toledo/Lucio Munoz []

Sent: 15 September 1999 19:46

To: agr99-Conference

Cc: ''

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

very soon.

Thank you very much for your reply.


Lucio Munoz

Vancouver, Canada


September/17/1999/FAO AGR99-CONFERENCE: Munoz comment on Neuteufel

From: Toledo/Lucio Munoz []

Sent: 17 September 1999 02:38

To: agr99-Conference

Cc: ''

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.


Lucio Munoz

Vancouver, Canada


September/17/1999/FAO AGR99-CONFERENCE: Comment by Munoz

From: Toledo/Lucio Munoz []

Sent: 17 September 1999 02:51

To: agr99-Conference

Cc: ''

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.


Lucio Munoz

Vancouver, Canada


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.


Lucio Munoz

Vancouver Canada


September/17/1999/FAO AGR99-CONFERENCE: Summary of feedback

Days 1-3Topic: Virtual Maastricht Summary

Subject: Days 1-3

From: agr99-Conference

Date: Fri, 17 Sep 1999 14:28:32

Dear Conferees,

The following is a summary of your feedback for Days 1-3 that was shared

with the Maastricht conferees.






* 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.



* "I begin to wonder (and worry about) what will come out of this

conference." (Li)

* 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)


* 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)


* 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).


* 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.


* 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).

Best regards,

The eTeam


September/17/1999/FAO AGR99-CONFERENCE: Summary of Feedback 

Days 4-5Topic: Virtual Maastricht Summary

Subject: Days 4-5

From: agr99-Conference

Date: Fri, 17 Sep 1999 14:41:13

Dear Conferees,

Below please find the summary of the your feedback to the Maastricht

Conference during days 4 and 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

the CyberCafe.



* "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!"


* 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."


* "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)


* "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

sustainability process.(Munoz)

* 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).

Best Wishes,

The eTeam


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 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.