February/19/1999/FAO-MFCAL CONFERENCE: Week 3 Summary

From: agr99-Conference <>

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

future sammaries.

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

(Straka, Bourdel)

- 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

locations? (Grantham)

- 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

protection (Ramseier)

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

conservation? (Norman)

- 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

choices? (Munoz)

- 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

(Q 2)

- 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

(L=F8nning, Balasubramaniam)

- 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

for (Hijkoop)

- 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)

d. miscellaneous:

- 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

social cost.

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.

* Mainstreaming

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.

* Safeguards

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?

Robert Goodland

Environmental Sustainability

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

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

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 sustainability.

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 Sustainability

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)

Dear Lucio,

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)

Dear Colleagues,

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

contributors to-date.

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

been mixed."

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.

Best Regards,



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

the start.

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 (

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

Concluding Remarks

Moderator E-Sust (

Tue, 17 Aug 1999 16:52:22 -0400 (EDT)

Concluding Remarks

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 ( [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 (

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

From: agr99-Conference

Date: Fri, 10 Sep 1999 20:25:44

Moderator's note: This message contains two comments

Dear Conferees:

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,

Jimmy Li


Dear Lucio:

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

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

From: agr99-Conference

Date: Tue, 14 Sep 1999 20:00:55

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/17/1999/FAO AGR99-CONFERENCE: Comment by Primavesi

From: Primavesi

Sent: 17 September 1999 11:46

To: agr99-Conference

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


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.

Best regards,