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					                           WORLD RAINFOREST MOVEMENT
International Secretariat                                                                        Ph: +598 2 413 2989
Ricardo Carrere (Coordinator)                                                                  Fax: +598 2 418 0762
Maldonado 1858; CP 11200                                                                   Email:
Montevideo - Uruguay                                                                Web site:

                                                                                                   WRM Bulletin # 72
                                                                                                           July 2003
                                                                                                     (English edition)
In this issue:


- A positive reaction from CIFOR                                                                             2


- Chad/Cameroon: Impacts and broken promises of oil-pipeline project                                         3
- Madagascar: Rio Tinto mining project goes ahead... for the worst                                           4
- Sao Tome and Principe: Promises and dangers of oil wealth                                                  5
- Senegal: Government limits mining as a means to protecting forests                                         7

- Bangladesh: Local people react at possible seismic survey in the Sundarbans                                7
- Indonesia: Mounting opposition to mining in protected areas                                                8
- Laos: French company pulls the plug on Nam Theun 2                                                         10
- Thailand: Certified firm is in breach of FSC Principles                                                    11

- Honduras: Forest defender murdered in Olancho                                                              13
- Second Meso-American Forum against Dams                                                                    14

- Mexico: Women suffer the effects of market opening doubly                                                  15

- Brazil: The Alert Against the Green Desert Network demands a change in the forestry model                  16
- Chile: Forests for people or monoculture plantations for companies                                         17
- Paraguay: Uncontacted Indians in danger                                                                    19
- Venezuela: Tourism development causes serious impacts on mangroves                                         20

- Aotearoa/New Zealand: Spraying chemicals on people to protect tree monocrops                               21


- Asian Development Bank joins World Bank in promoting industrial scale carbon sinks projects in the South   22
- Plantar: The saga continues                                                                                23
WRM BULLETIN # 72                                                                                            July 2003

                                                  OUR VIEWPOINT

- A positive reaction from CIFOR

Two weeks ago, the WRM and Oilwatch disseminated an open letter to David Kaimowitz, Director of the Center
for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), expressing our concern over a CIFOR research paper "which
appears to give green credentials to two activities that are at the core of deforestation and forest degradation: oil
and mining." (see letter at )

The resulting reactions have been very positive, particularly from CIFOR itself. In spite of the strong wording of
our letter, both Kaimowitz and one of the authors of the paper (Sven Wunder) responded constructively to our
concerns. At the same time, CIFOR posted in its web page our letter and their responses to it, thus enabling
everyone to have a complete picture of the discussion. We greatly appreciate this open attitude and we have also
linked the full responses to our web site (see "WRM News" section).

More importantly, our letter gave CIFOR the opportunity of clarifying its views on the oil and mining industry by
stating that "Our study in no way discounts nor minimizes the negative direct consequences of oil and mineral
activities for forests and we certainly do not support either the oil and mining industries large contribution to global
warming or their frequent role in promoting corruption and undermining the rule of law."

Additionally, Kaimowitz's response further clarifies CIFOR's position by saying that "Our goal was definitely not to
justify the oil and mining industry. It was to show that the macroeconomic policies typically associated with
structural adjustment programs such as exchange rate devaluations can have very negative impacts on forests.
This helps to strengthen the argument that the World Bank and national governments must do environmental
impact assessments of their structural adjustment policies. The methodology used in the book also shows that it
is in fact possible to do environmental impact assessments of structural adjustment policies."

By clarifying the above, CIFOR has now made it very difficult for the oil and mining industry to use its study as a
greenwashing tool. We also appreciate this very much.

However, it might be very useful if CIFOR were to carry out a specific research on the social and environmental
impacts of oil and mining activities in the same countries addressed in the study that motivated our reaction. To
go beyond the mere "forest cover" issue and document the widespread impacts on people and the environment
(human rights abuses, loss of livelihoods, cultural impacts, disempowerment, water and air pollution, biodiversity
loss and so on), which can be described as forest degradation. We would certainly be willing to collaborate with
CIFOR in this endeavour.

It is now perhaps necessary for us to clarify our position regarding CIFOR in general. Contrary to what our letter
may have led people to believe, we have great respect towards both CIFOR and its Director. We reacted against
a specific research paper and not against the institution. We would have probably not reacted at all if an oil
industry consultant had produced the study. CIFOR holds a well-deserved credibility among forest activists and
we would certainly not like it to lose it. Hence our strong and immediate reaction to what we considered --and still
consider-- to be a huge mistake on its part.

We believe that our letter was necessary and that --fortunately-- the resulting discussion has been extremely
useful. There has been only one loser: the oil and mining industry. David Kaimowitz ends his response saying
that: "CIFOR remains as willing and interested as ever in working closely with both WRM and Oil Watch on the
very many issues where we strongly agree." And so do we.

Ricardo Carrere (WRM) and Esperanza Martínez (Oilwatch)


WRM BULLETIN # 72                                                                                                 July 2003

                                           LOCAL STRUGGLES AND NEWS


- Chad/Cameroon: Impacts and broken promises of oil-pipeline project

We have already reported extensively the pervasive environmental and social impacts that the Chad-Cameroon
oil-pipeline is likely to have (see WRM Bulletins 66, 45, 41, 35, 14 and 2), but there‟s already a lot to be said of
the present impacts of the three-year long World Bank-sponsored project to build a 670-mile pipeline. The
pipeline will channel oil from fields in Chad, through thick rainforests inhabited by Pygmy people in Cameroon up
to this country‟s shores at the Atlantic Ocean.

The consortium formed by ExxonMobil Corp and its partners ChevronTexaco Corp. and Petronas of Malaysia,
came to the area with rosy promises of “development”, employment and progress. However, most of the jobs
have been temporary and lasted not more that a few weeks or months. Only some 400 Chadians will get regular
low-paid jobs (as drivers, security guards and the like), while in Cameroon the figure would not surpass 100.
Average wages for Chadians working on the pipeline reach $225 a month, much less than the income of foreign
workers though three fold Chad‟s minimum wage. Now that the works --scheduled to be completed by July 2003--
are almost finished, the promises made about the pipeline's economic and social benefits seem elusive.

An article from Los Angeles Times journalist Ken Silverstein reported: “In Mpango, a village of about 600 people a
few miles from the pipeline's end on the Atlantic coast of Cameroon, a bulletin board nailed to the wall of Chief
Savah's mud-and-wattle hut offers jobs on the pipeline. But the chief, wearing the matching shorts and jersey of
England's national soccer team, said only 10 residents were able to land jobs, all short-term. The consortium has
promised to replace Mpango's one-room schoolhouse, a termite-damaged, tin-roofed building, to compensate the
village for the loss of land to the pipeline and disruptions caused by construction, including pollution of a stream
used for drinking water. „The new school is badly needed, and that's what we'll remember most from the pipeline,‟
said Savah. „There have been some positives and some negatives, but the changes have not been great. We
thought this was going to be a development project, and that is not what has happened‟.

Silverstein goes on to say that: the centerpiece of the consortium's social efforts is its compensation plan, which
has paid $10 million to thousands of people in Chad and Cameroon. Anyone displaced by the pipeline, or whose
farming is temporarily disrupted, is eligible. Recipients can take cash or select goods from a glossy catalogue of
items that includes plows, carts, sewing machines, bicycles, water pumps, peanut de-hullers, mattresses, cooking
pots and construction material. However, most of the compensation payments are spent to cover short-term

The Pygmy living in Cameroonian rainforests have been also affected by the oil pipeline since it has disrupted
their communities with negligible economic benefits on return. The referred article conveys the feelings of the
Maboulo village‟s chief: “During construction of the pipeline, the chief said, small game fled deeper into the bush,
communal fruit trees were cut down, and medicinal plants were lost. Only three men out of about 20 in the village
got temporary work. The chief said the oil consortium sent representatives to Maboulo several times and has
promised to build new housing as compensation. „They have been making promises for two years, but we are still
waiting,‟ he said. „It's like a tree that dies and falls in the forest. You can wait and wait, but it will never rise again‟.”

Lately we are witnessing a sort of conjuring on the part of transnationals. It seems that now they are not profit-
driven any more but go into business moved by their social commitment towards poor people. They claim to bring
development projects –not business. They want to look nice.

But people are not deceived so easily. Oliver Mokum, of the Cameroonian offices of Catholic Relief Services, a
U.S.-based organisation that is monitoring the pipeline, interviewed by the Los Angeles Times, acknowledges that

WRM BULLETIN # 72                                                                                           July 2003

"The consortium made all sorts of claims about this being a 'development project,' and how it would reduce
poverty. In the end, this is just an oil project."

Article based on information from: “Pipeline's Profits May Bypass Africans”, Ken Silverstein, June 17, 2003, Los
Angeles Times,

- Madagascar: Rio Tinto mining project goes ahead... for the worst

Madagascar is widely recognised as one of the most ecologically rich countries in the world, hosting unique plant
and animal species. However, dating from French colonisation, the export-led production pattern was introduced
in the country. Logging of primary rainforests for use in railroad construction and timber exports, and major forest
clearance of the most fertile areas for cash-crop plantations was carried out, throwing a mainly subsistence
farming society into famine and scarcity (see WRM Bulletin 66).

Now, Madagascar is amidst the poorest countries. However, it would be wise that language reflects the truth: the
Malagasy people are not poor but have been impoverished, as has happened with most of the southern peoples.

At present there are no foreign countries overtly holding reins of the government, but colonialism still has its clutch
deeply rooted in the country‟s economy. The modern pirates have come to “save” the country: the IMF has paved
the way (through liberalisation requirements conditioning credits) for the Anglo-Canadian mining giant Rio Tinto to
implement a project in the island (see WRM bulletins 22, 54 and 55).

QIT Madagascar Minerals S.A., (QMM) a Malagasy company owned 80% by Rio Tinto and 20% by the State,
began to carry out a feasibility study and in November 2001 was granted an environmental permit for the project.
The proposed project will require that hundreds of millions of tonnes of soil over 6,000 hectares will be dredged to
extract ilmenite, a mineral that is usually treated with sulfuric acid to obtain titanium dioxide which is used to make
pigment, which, in turn, is used extensively for paint and plastics manufacture. It will mean carving an artificial
lake in what is left of the woodland and moving it, at about a metre a day, while a machine sucks up the earth and
another sifts the ilmenite. The mining could last 60 years.

Within the framework of the new “greenwash” push of transnationals, Rio Tinto is eagerly trying to prove the
unprovable: that mining is sustainable for the environment and the people! But everybody knows (or should be
aware of) the real aim of any business company: to make profits. According to The Handbook for Corporate
Action, this project “forms a key part in maintaining Rio Tinto‟s future share of the titanium dioxide feedstock

Madagascar's government has given the go-ahead and the company has spent US $ 41 million in anticipation of
work starting in 2005. The election last year of Marc Ravalomanana brought to the presidential palace a young,
self-made tycoon promising progress. A darling of the west, he is keen on Rio Tinto's proposed ilmenite mine, in
the hope that it will generate jobs and funds for the exchequer. Marc Ravalomanana has recently met with U.S.
Secretary of State Colin Powell on May at the US. Powell said Washington would support President
Ravalomanana in his “efforts to institute political and economic reforms”. The news a month later is of the World
Bank granting $32 million International Development Association (IDA) credit to “help Madagascar manage its
mineral resource more effectively”.

Interviewed by a journalist from The Guardian, Serge Lachapelle, executive director of QIT, announced that: "We
will keep going, no matter what". The warning came as the project has arisen strong opposition from
environmental organisations such as Friends of the Earth, Conservation International, and WWF.

The company‟s “sustainable scheme” is that each of the three proposed mining sites would leave untouched a
conservation area totalling 10% of the mined area. In addition, the company would restore another 10% of forest
and in the remaining area plant fast-growing trees, such as eucalyptus, to provide charcoal and timber for local
WRM BULLETIN # 72                                                                                        July 2003

people. Rio Tinto hopes that it “will help create ecosystems from scratch.” What took nature millennia could be
restored with a recipe: save top soil from the dredger, plant 50% so-called pioneer trees which like the sun,
followed later by 40% which like sun and shade, followed by 10% which like just shade. It just makes seem so
easy to play God!

Friends of the Earth has already made a report where it concluded that the mining project would not be
compatible with true sustainable development in southeast Madagascar, or for the country as a whole. During a
decade and a half of intensive preparation and study, this supposedly "green" project, backed by an impressive
array of global experts, has failed to prevent the escalating degradation of the environment which the company
claims the mine will address and dramatically mitigate. Is this intentional? Is QMM/Rio Tinto deliberately holding
back on initiation of conservation and restoration measures now, in order better to promote the idea that the mine
project is indispensable to this purpose?, asks Friends of the Earth.

Also WWF will issue a report on the mine later this year. A member of the organisation living in Fort Dauphin, a
town which will be affected by the mining project, said that the research stations shown to the Guardian amounted
to a "dog and pony show". The conservation areas were too fragmented to be viable and would pressure certain
species. Nor had the company thought about the potentially explosive conflict of placing at least 800 foreign
labourers in a small town of 3,000 unemployed young men.

A tour of the surrounding villages yielded conflicting views: most people, barefoot and in rags, knew a mine was
planned, but exactly where and when, and its likely impact were a mystery. "It will destroy traditional agriculture,
no way," said Karae, head of Houtotmotre village. After conferring with other elders he added: "Though, with the
drought we don't have any crops, so then again maybe we have nothing to lose." Albert Mahazoly, 45, was
recently laid off from a sisal plantation which was just about the only way of making money in Ankitry village. Now
his family were among those queuing up for sacks of maize from the World Food Programme. This was a
humiliation Mr Mahazoly was not planning to tolerate for long. "I'm ready to go to the mine. I'll do whatever they
ask me," he said. The possibility that his unskilled labour might not be wanted came as a shock. "But I'll do
anything," he said. And so the circle is closed: deprived, impoverished and plundered.

Article based on information from: “Mining giant threatens to scar island paradise”, Rory Carroll, The Guardian,
June 23, 2003,,3604,982989,00.html ; “The case against QMM/Rio
Tinto in Madagascar”, Nostromo Research, London, November 12, 2001, report commissioned by Friends of the
Earth, ; QIT Madagascar Minerals Ilmenite
Project, ;
“Rio Tinto in Madagascar”, Rio Tinto homepage, ;
“Malagasy President Meets With Colin Powell”, VOA 27.05.2003, ; Madagascar: World Bank credit will help manage
country's mineral resources, IRIN,

- Sao Tome and Principe: Promises and dangers of oil wealth

Sao Tome and Principe is an archipelago covering 1001 km², a tropical paradise located in the oil rich Gulf of
Guinea, approximately 300 km from the west coast of Africa. It is made up of the islands of Sao Tome and
Principe, which are 150 km apart. The islands of the Sao Tome and Principe archipelago are of volcanic origin,
with steep slopes clothed in dense and varied vegetation due to the high rainfall. The country gained its
independence from Portugal in 1975.

Sao Tome and Principe is one of Africa's poorest countries, thanks to the plummeting of revenue from the cocoa
industry and the break-up of the cocoa plantations, the mainstay of the islands' economy. Within that context,
discovery of oil in this small country has raised both hope and fear in the former Portuguese colony.

WRM BULLETIN # 72                                                                                         July 2003

Oil has been found in waters within the Gulf of Guinea. As there does not exist a bilateral agreement on the exact
delimitation of the maritime borders between Nigeria and Sao Tome, both countries decided to exploit the limited
part of the Gulf jointly.

In 2002, both governments signed an agreement to go ahead with the explorations and investments related to oil.
They established a Joint Development Zone in waters between the giant experienced oil producer and the small
state of Sao Tome. The two countries were to jointly explore and exploit the oil resources in the zone, with most of
production controlled by Nigeria (already the biggest oil producer of Africa). Nigeria, having the infrastructure for
offshore oil development, would receive a 60 percent of the revenues and 40 percent going to Sao Tome and

However, under the advise of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) the Sao Tomean
government asked to re-negotiate the deal shortly before it was going to be signed, on the grounds that it was
disadvantageous. Nigeria reacted by cancelling the entire deal. Finally it seems that the differences have been re-
negotiated and the deal re-established. It is said that the President “was thought to have benefited from the re-
negotiations of oil contracts."

The twin islands of Sao Tome and Principe are believed to be sitting on about two billion barrels of crude oil. They
have already attracted the attention of multinational oil companies as well as powerful countries like the United
States and Nigeria. The United States are considering setting up a military base in Sao Tome, and there have
been exchanges of visits between officials of the two countries.

Maria das Neves, Prime Minister of Sao Tome and Principe declared while opening an international conference
on Africa's extractive industries: “We, in Sao Tome, will be very careful. We are not going to repeat the mistakes
of other African nations where natural resources turned into a curse rather than a blessing for them”. “We will be
transparent as much as we can in our dealings and ensure that the people of Sao Tome directly benefit from their
country's oil wealth,” she said.

Raul, a political commentator in Sao Tome, added: "we have seen how such revenue from natural resources end
up destroying other African states, so we will rather stay poor than being plunged into anarchy.”

A look at neighbouring Nigeria is sufficient to conclude that in oil producing countries it is not the communities
which benefit from this activity. On the contrary, the beneficiaries are tiny elites. Even worse, human rights
violations, displacement of communities, environmental destruction, high levels of corruption, destabilization of
democracy are among the "riches" that this fossil fuel generates for the vast majority of the population.

Unfortunately enough, the warnings contained in the above paragraphs were proven correct. Shortly after they
had been written, a coup d‟etat took place in Sao Tome. A military junta seized power in the island. The rebels
declared a "junta of national salvation", saying the deposed leaders had no solution to the nation's problems and
that they had acted in response to the "continuing social and economic decline of the country" and also
denounced corruption in the government. According to declarations from experts to the BBC World, it is
suspected that control of the oil money is behind the coup.

The bloodless coup has threatened the $200 million bidding round for nine oil blocks put on offer by the Sao
Tome-Nigeria Joint Development Zone (JDZ) in May this year. Investors including Royal Dutch/Shell Company,
ExxonMobil Corporation, ChevronTexaco Corporation, ConocoPhillips and Devon Energy Corporation among
others, may have decided to watch the turn of events in the island nation before making any commitment to the
bidding round.

On July 24th and as a result of concerted diplomatic efforts, democracy was restored, but for how long? Maria
das Neves' warning that oil can be more a "curse rather than a blessing" and Raul's fears about being "plunged
into anarchy" are now much clearer --and ominous-- than before.

WRM BULLETIN # 72                                                                                         July 2003

Article based on information from: “Sao Tome and Principe: Oil raises hope and fear”, by Lansana Fofana, Inter
Press Service (IPS), 30. June 2003 ; ; Afrol News, ; BBC News, ; AllAfrica ,

- Senegal: Government limits mining as a means to protecting forests

Senegal has announced it will not grant any new permits for quarrying and mining in the country's 233 forest
conservation areas. The government of Abdoulaye Wade has said it will encourage companies already operating
there to move out as part of efforts to reduce deforestation and protect the environment.

Environment Minister Modou Fada Diagne said that his department would begin talks soon with quarrying
companies that already operate in the country's five million hectares of forest reserves and national parks with a
view to moving them elsewhere. He added that the granting of all new mining and quarrying permits would be
conditional on the approval of social and environmental impact studies and an undertaking by the firms involved
to restore the environment to its original state once the extraction of minerals ceased.

The new policy is particularly aimed at reducing deforestation around the capital Dakar and the towns of
Tambacounda, Louga, Thies and Kaolack. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, Senegal lost
over 45,000 hectares of forest between 1990 and 2000. According to environmental experts, the uncontrolled
expansion of quarrying in Senegal has led to coastal erosion, a reduction in the area of available farmland and
skin and lung problems for people who live nearby. However, President Abdoulaye Wade has not granted any
new mining or quarrying permits within Senegal's forest reserves since he was elected three years ago.

It is hoped that the stance of President Abdoulaye Wade and his Environment Minister Modou Fada Diagne
encourage other African leaders to follow suit and struggle to not let their countries bleed to death. The so called
African "conflicts", who actually are outright wars with hundreds of thousands of people killed, in most cases are
triggered and fuelled by mining interests, where in many cases foreign corporations play a leading role.

Excerpted from “Government bans quarrying in conservation areas”, 14 July, IRIN , sent by ECOTERRA
International, Nairobi Node, e-mail:


- Bangladesh: Local people react at possible seismic survey in the Sundarbans

The Bangladeshi organisation BanglaPraxis, together with other local groups, have reacted against a reported
move from Shell Bangladesh to conduct an aerial and seismic survey in the Sundarbans mangrove forest from
September 27.

Bangladesh is primarily agricultural, although urbanisation is proceeding rapidly, and it has moved increasingly
towards a market-oriented economy since the mid-1970s, making industrial development a priority and following a
path towards privatisation, free market reforms and incentive to foreign investment, most of which goes to the
natural gas, electricity, and physical infrastructure areas.

Until the beginning of the 1990s, state oil and gas company Petrobangla, along with its eight operating companies
(OCs), was the sole player in the Bangladeshi oil and gas sectors. Over the past few years, however, Bangladesh
has encouraged foreign oil companies to do business in the country. At present, Shell, Texaco, Scotland's Cairn
Energy PLC; Holland Sea Search, Unocal, Rexwood-Oakland, and UMC Bangladesh Corporation are active in
exploration under six Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) partnerships with Petrobangla.

WRM BULLETIN # 72                                                                                              July 2003

One of the most affected areas by the “development” push is the Sundarbans mangrove swamp forest, in the
country's southwestern coastline, considered a world heritage and the world largest mangrove forest. More than
four million people who live around the Sundarbans derive part of their subsistence extracting resources of this
forest --wood products, non-wood products, fisheries and other services like tourism. And millions of others are
indirectly dependent on the Sundarbans.

Recently, SBCP Watch Group, a network of organisations monitoring Asian Development Bank funded projects in
the Sundarbans, organized a programme on conservation of the Sundarbans. When the co-ordinator of the Watch
group raised the issue of the Shell survey in the forest, the multinational company responded by sending a media
briefing pack to every participant of the programme. There, Shell Bangladesh authorities explained that they
would not explore the Sundarbans forest itself but that they will conduct an aeromagnetic survey in block 10,
which is just beside the Sundarbans, and has a patch of forest in it. The blocks are land divisions leased out by
the government for oil/gas exploration and extractive activities by multinational companies.

The company also claims that the survey will be conducted 10 kilometres away from the forest. However,
environmentalists consider 20 kilometres as the impact zone of the forest. 'Tremors' to be generated for the
seismic survey would have far reaching consequences for the Sundarbans, destroying the fragile ecosystem. Any
drilling in the upstream of the forest is bound to carry polluted waters downstream in the Sundarbans. Drilling in
block 10, next to the forest, carries the same risk, because many rivers flow into the forest from the areas of block

Local organisations feel that if it were true that Shell does not plan to drill in the forest then there is no need to
conduct any survey. However, they have evidence that the multinational company is going ahead with the
exploration and that it has been conducting some biased people's consultation in the region through BETS, a
local firm recruited by Shell.

The huge peoples' movement in Bangladesh against export of gas has built up awareness. Local people are now
fighting back and the local organisation AOSED --a member of the network Coastal Development Partnership
(CDP), which has been working on the Shell issue-- is launching a campaign against Shell's move. They demand
that Shell should not start any initiative within or around the forest, in block 5 or in the nearby block 10, without
consulting people's groups concerned. The multinational should consult not only the organizations who are
working with them but also other organizations who are critical of Shell.

Concerned people feel that they don‟t need any “scientific” information since it is their home where the survey or
drilling may be done, and they know too well that the impact on them and their livelihood will mean depredation,
destruction, and displacement.

Article based on information from: “Grave concern over move to explore gas in Sundarbans”, M Shafiqul Alam,
The Financial Express, ; State Of
Sundarbans, Anisur Rahman, Bangladesh Door, ; “Sundarban Threatened
Anew By Shell Oli”, Late Friday News, 117th, Urgent Notice Addendum, sent by Alfredo Quarto, Mangrove Action
Project, e-mail: , ; direct information
from Zakir Kibria, BanglaPraxis, e-mail: , and Alfredo Quarto, e-mail: Late Friday News,
117th Urgent Notice Addendum

- Indonesia: Mounting opposition to mining in protected areas

The “Coalition to oppose mining in Indonesia‟s protected areas” has issued a media release to expose how
mining activities are encountering strong and mounting opposition at various levels. The Coalition is composed of
the following ten groups: JATAM; WALHI-Friends of the Earth; Indonesian Center for Environment Law; WWF
Indonesia; Kehati; PELANGI; Forest Watch Indonesia; MPI; POKJA PSDA; PELA.
WRM BULLETIN # 72                                                                                           July 2003

Reactions at open pit mining in protected forests have been coming from civil society in Sumatra, Kalimantan,
Java, Sumbawa Besar (south-east Indonesia), Sulawesi. These include letters of protest, postcards,
demonstrations, declarations and statements by provincial governments, students, academics, indigenous
peoples, ordinary Indonesians and by the international community.

It seems that public perception is that things have gone too far with mining activities. That‟s how the Canadian
mining company Placer Dome's plans to mine for gold in the protected forests of South Kalimantan‟s Meratus
Mountains --home of the Dayak peoples and the orangutans-- have sparked a passionately worded letter of
protest by Indigenous Dayak representatives, a demonstration in the South Kalimantan provincial capital on the
1st of July demanding government action to reject Placer Dome's lobbying and a declaration of the Provincial
Government calling on the Indonesian national parliament not to permit mining in the Meratus protected forest. It‟s
high time, since 44% of Dayaks' forests have been degraded in just 12 years!

In Palu, capital of central Sulawesi island, sustained community opposition have included protests directly against
Rio Tinto and Newcrest's plans to build a gold mine in the Poboya Protected Forest Park. Actions have yielded
statements by both the provincial House of Representatives (2 July 2003) and by Prof Aminuddin Ponulele,
Governor of Central Sulawesi, that they will refuse any central government attempts to permit the mine to go
ahead. The threat posed by heavy metals, dust and other mine wastes to the Poboya Protected Forest Park and
the water supply for 200,000 residents of Palu is too great a risk according to Governor Aminuddin, who was
quoted by local paper Radar Palu on 3 July 2003 requesting Rio Tinto / Newcrest's joint venture company PT
Citra Palu Minerals to leave Central Sulawesi province.

Even the usually apolitical UNESCO Asia Pacific office in Jakarta (United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organisation) have appealed to Indonesian parliamentary committees currently considering government
plans to mine in protected areas. They sent a letter with specific reference to tiny Gag island in West Papua
where BHP Billiton plans to build the biggest nickel mine in the world and dump mine waste into the sea. An IUCN
/ UNESCO International Workshop held in Hanoi in February 2002 had chosen the Raja Ampat archipelago
including Gag Island as one of seven sites to consider for World Heritage listing from a field of 25 potential sites in
Southeast Asia for its high biodiversity: 505 species of coral --which is an extraordinary 64% of all known coral
species in the world--, 1,065 fish species --amongst the highest fish diversity in the world. UNESCO's intervention
is a blow to BHP Billiton's lobbying to overturn protected forest status and the company's plan to use STD -
Submarine (ocean) Tailings (waste) Disposal, despite it's claims to have reformed after the Papua New Guinea
Ok Tedi disaster. BHP's Ok Tedi mine in Papua New Guinea caused severe, long-lasting pollution of the Fly
River, and local communities successfully sued BHP for multi-millions of dollars in damages.

The international community has also reacted. Over 1,100 letters have been sent by individuals and organisations
in 43 countries addressed to Indonesian President Megawati and including testimonials such as this from Beth
Partin, who heard of US mining company Newmont's push to expand into Indonesia's protected forests: "I live
near Denver, Colorado where Newmont is based. In Colorado, we live every day with the damage caused by
mining, for example, the Alamosa River was poisoned more than a decade ago by a cyanide leak and after years
of cleanup is only beginning to show signs of life."

To date around 6,000 sets of three postcards, one addressed to the House of Representatives, another to the
Forestry Department and the third one to the Minister for Mineral Energy and Resources have been signed and
sent by ordinary Indonesians as an expression of support for existing environment protections against mining.
Student environmentalists have staged protests at the Australian Embassy in anger at Australian and other
foreign government lobbying on behalf of mining companies. Protests have also been held at the House of
Representatives and the Forestry Department, with more planned. Heads of forestry education at five prestigious
universities: Bogor Institute of Agriculture, Gajah Mada University, Mulawarman University, Hasanuddin University
and Lampung University Groups, have issued a declaration of opposition to mining in protected areas on 3 July
2003. Students and academics highlighted the total economic contribution made by sustainable forestry and
environment protection, which according to Indonesia's national budget, outweighs that of mining, with much

WRM BULLETIN # 72                                                                                         July 2003

more potential untapped.

Article based on information from: “Indonesia regional govts, civil society: More speak out for forest protection
from mining”, 13 July 2003, statement by Coalition to oppose mining in Indonesia's protected areas, e-mail: , sent by Mauricio F. Ferrari, Forest Peoples Programme, e-mail: ,

- Laos: French company pulls the plug on Nam Theun 2

Electricité de France has pulled out of the Nam Theun 2 dam project in Laos. EDF announced its departure on 17
July 2003, a day before the consortium developing the dam, the Nam Theun 2 Power Company, was to have
signed a power purchasing agreement with the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT).

The French state-owned EDF was the biggest investor in the proposed dam. In June 2001, EDF and Harza
Engineering (now Montgomery Watson Harza) formed a joint venture as head contractor to build the dam.

EDF‟s pullout followed a French parliamentary commission which reported that EDF‟s expansion plans were “a
failure” and involved taking unnecessary risks with taxpayers‟ money. Last year, the Financial Times described
EDF as “a loss-making state-controlled group which faces years of work to dig itself out of the hole in which it has
landed after a string of overpriced international acquisitions.”

The remaining members of the consortium are Electricity Generating Company of Thailand (25%), Ital-Thai
Development of Thailand (25%) and the Lao government (25%). The Lao government has given the project
developers three months to find a replacement investor, after Thailand issued a one-year ultimatum to sign the
power purchase agreement.

EDF‟s exit has left Nam Theun 2‟s future looking shaky. “This raises some questions over the future of the project.
EDF was more than just the main investor, they were also the lead technical agency,” World Bank spokesperson
Peter Stephens told Reuters.

Without a US$100 million partial risk guarantee from the World Bank, commercial investors are unlikely to risk
getting involved in the project. In 1997, Jack Cizain, president of EDF International told the Bangkok Post that
without the Bank‟s guarantee, it would be difficult for the developers to continue with the project.

Although the Bank has supported the project since it funded a feasibility study in 1989, it has repeatedly put off
taking a decision on whether to provide the guarantee.

According to an August 2001 World Bank Aide Memoire, the Bank will not make a decision on the guarantee until
the Lao government has met a series of conditions. Among these is “The development of a full PRSP [Poverty
Reduction Strategy Paper] to underpin poverty alleviation and progress in meeting program targets.”

Enter the International Monetary Fund. The IMF‟s advice to the Lao economy is identical to its prescription for all
governments: “financial, fiscal, and trade reforms”. In 2001, IMF staff wrote, “Real GDP growth of about 7 percent
by 2003 is achievable, if structural reforms are pursued in earnest and the country‟s considerable hydropower
resources are tapped for further development.” In other words, force open the economy and dam the rivers.

As is often the case, however, the IMF‟s medicine is making the patient sicker. Last year, the IMF pressured the
Lao government to increase revenue collection. The government increased tariffs on goods from Thailand. Far
Eastern Economic Review correspondent Bertil Lintner described the results as “counterproductive”. Smuggling
increased and inflation shot up from 7 to 16 per cent. Government revenue improved only slightly and budget
shortages meant no pay for teachers and other civil servants –more poverty rather than less.

WRM BULLETIN # 72                                                                                        July 2003

In May 2002, Electricité du Laos increased the price of electricity. At its annual meeting this year EDL announced
that its clients owed it almost US$8 million. “We cannot cut the electricity, because most of the debtors are the
state organisations,” an EDL official told the Vientiane Times.

Over the past two decades, EDL has received a huge amount of “aid”. By the end of 1999, as a result of this
generosity, EDL owed a total of almost US$300 million. The Asian Development Bank alone had lent EDL more
than US$200 million. ADB‟s consultants Electrowatt estimated that servicing this debt in 2000 would cost EDL
more than US$28 million.

Hans Luther is a German economist who worked since the early 1990s at the National School of Administration in
Vientiane. Before he returned to Germany recently, the Lao government awarded him the prestigious Labour
Medal. In an interview published in the Bangkok Post, he offered some advice to the Lao government: “Foreign
aid is like a drug. . . . Instead of putting up your own money for building roads and repairing them, you get rich
foreigners to do it for you. There are also kickbacks and all kinds of other benefits. It is the easy way out in
economic development. Now what should a poor country like Laos do? They should be modest and have some
clear priorities. But most opt for foreign aid as it seems to promise everything at the same time. . . . I believe
hydro-electricity will not help. Firstly, there is the matter of demand; there is only one customer, Thailand. Also,
once the investment is done there are ongoing costs for repair and maintenance and these costs are high, so I
don't think this is a sustainable solution.”

By: Chris Lang, e-mail:

- Thailand: Certified firm is in breach of FSC Principles

Two plantations managed by Thailand‟s Forest Industry Organisation (FIO) are currently certified as well
managed under the Forest Stewardship Council system (see WRM Bulletins 48 and 64).

When FSC‟s assessor SmartWood awarded a certificate for FIO‟s plantations at Thong Pha Phum and Kao Khra
Yang in July 2001, it also issued 26 conditions which FIO had to meet in order to retain the certificate. The
following year, SmartWood‟s auditing team found that FIO had failed to meet five of the conditions and had only
“partially met” seven more conditions. However, instead of revoking the certificate, SmartWood issued 13
“corrective action requests” (CARs), six of which had to be met within six months.

In January 2003, SmartWood‟s audit team was back. This time, they found that FIO had met two of the CARs but
had only “partially met” the remaining four. SmartWood issued six new CARs which were to be “effective
immediately”. SmartWood‟s report of the audit states that “If [FIO] is not able to close out the significant CARs
issued, the certificate will be suspended until that time by which FIO can demonstrate compliance.”

Jeff Hayward, SmartWood's Asia-Pacific Regional Manager, explained that a SmartWood auditing team was in
Thailand in June to check whether FIO had met the latest series of CARs. The auditing team will write up a draft
report by the end of July, which will be sent to SmartWood and then to FIO for comments. A public summary of
the report will be available “hopefully by mid-August 2003” according to Hayward. “We will also make clear
whether or not we have suspended or terminated the certificate,” he added.

Based on the record so far, it seems unlikely that SmartWood will suspend or terminate FIO‟s certificate. It also
seems unlikely that FSC will put any pressure on SmartWood to make it do so.

While visiting FIO‟s Thong Pha Phum plantation in January, SmartWood‟s audit team found a 14 year old boy
working in the plantation. This is in breach of Thailand‟s Labour Protection Act of 1998 which states that
employers must not employ children less than 15 years old. It is also in breach of FSC Principles and Criteria.
SmartWood‟s public summary comments, dryly, “Some informal employment without proper identification and
official age details for a younger contracted individual would be outside of FIO policy and ILO conventions.”
WRM BULLETIN # 72                                                                                         July 2003

Instead of withdrawing the certificate, SmartWood issued a corrective action request stating that FIO should
“terminate all employment of any person under the age of 15 years”.

At the same time SmartWood was carrying out its audit of FIO, FSC‟s Accreditation Business Unit was also in
Thailand, to conduct an accreditation monitoring audit of SmartWood. FSC found that SmartWood was in breach
of several FSC rules.

As a result, FSC issued six minor and five major “corrective action requests” which must be addressed “in a timely
manner” according to Hubert de Bonafos, FSC‟s Accreditation Officer.

FSC confirmed that SmartWood‟s public summary on FIO indicates “a number of significant shortcomings in FIO‟s
level of compliance with FSC Principles and Criteria.” In other words, SmartWood awarded the certificate to FIO
despite the fact that FIO‟s management of the two plantations does not meet FSC Principles.

FSC‟s audit also confirmed that SmartWood awarded the certificate to FIO based on an assessment using
guidelines which do not conform to FSC rules. Before an assessment can be carried out in a country without FSC
recognised national standards for forest management, FSC rules require that the assessor must develop an
“interim standard” for assessing forest management.

FSC requested that SmartWood produce an interim standard “through an appropriate stakeholder consultation
process”. Thus, in May 2003, almost two years after awarding the certificate to FIO, SmartWood produced an
“interim standard” for Thailand.

It is difficult to see how FSC can consider the consultation process to be in any way “appropriate”. FSC‟s Hubert
de Bonafos claimed that SmartWood has already translated its interim standard for Thailand “into the national
official language”, but according to SmartWood‟s Jeff Hayward, “We are in the process of getting this document
translated into Thai.” Apparently FSC and SmartWood expected “stakeholders” to comment on a 21-page
document written in a foreign language. Hayward confirmed that “input has been rather limited.”

SmartWood‟s interim standard for Thailand is very similar to SmartWood‟s Generic Guidelines for Assessing
Forest Management. The section on Indigenous Peoples (FSC Principle 3) is word for word identical to the
corresponding section in SmartWood‟s Generic Guidelines. It fails to address important issues faced by
Indigenous Peoples in Thailand, such as, for example, the fact that the Thai State does not recognise many of
Thailand‟s Indigenous Peoples to be Thai citizens.

In May 2003, Veerawat Dheeraprasert of the Foundation for Ecological Recovery, a Thai NGO, wrote to FSC.
Veerawat explained that FIO is in breach of Thailand‟s 1989 Logging Ban and the 1997 Constitution. “The
SmartWood report contains a number of flaws and omissions that reveal the numerous problems surrounding the
SmartWood certification of the two teak plantation areas,” he wrote. Veerawat concluded by demanding that “FSC
cancel the FIO certification with immediate effect in the two plantations in order to prevent the further destruction
of the ecosystem, local culture, local economy and livelihoods by the FIO.”

Two weeks later, FSC‟s Hubert de Bonafos, replied to Veerawat. Instead of responding to Veerawat‟s request that
FSC cancel the certificate, de Bonafos thanked Veerawat and his organisation for their “positive contribution to
this FSC monitoring process”.

By: Chris Lang, e-mail:

WRM BULLETIN # 72                                                                                           July 2003


- Honduras: Forest defender murdered in Olancho

Around the year 2002, the forests in the department of Olancho were being devastated by the action of logging
companies. Forest destruction was done to feed many saw-mills (both legal and illegal), and in some of them,
several parliamentarians were directly involved. While the companies got richer, the local populations received
the impact of timber exploitation, in particular the disappearance of water resulting from felling the forest and the
ceasing of its function regulating the water cycle.

Faced with this situation, the local population started to organize itself and in 2002, the Environmental Movement
of Olancho was created, with the aim of ensuring forest protection. For this purpose, they requested the
government to regulate timber exploitation, to apply appropriate management methods, to carry out the necessary
monitoring of felling and to protect protected areas. In some areas of particular cultural and biological value, they
demanded that logging be banned for a 10-year period.

In order to achieve these objectives, the local population organized a series of actions, leading up to the March for
Life, held on 27 June. This march, from the provincial capital (Juticalpa) to the national capital (Tegucigalpa),
involved thousands of people marching for 7 days and covering some 200 kilometres to submit their demands to
the president of the Republic. This march was supported by 27 organizations of students, workers, peasants,
indigenous communities, pro-human rights activists and the Catholic and Evangelical Churches.

However, on reaching the Presidential House, they found that it had been surrounded by tens of anti-riot police,
armed with metal shields, rubber truncheons and protective helmets. President Ricardo Maduro refused to
receive them, although they waited for three hours outside his office.

One of the movement‟s main leaders, the priest Jose Andres Tamayo, summarised the situation, saying “For
seven days we have peacefully marched to demand the government to eradicate the unmerciful logging of
Honduras‟ forests, and specifically those of Olancho…and Maduro did not respond to our demands.”

Faced by the government‟s lack of response, the local inhabitants were forced to take measures, among which
the prevention of entry of loggers into forest areas. In four communities, a total logging ban was achieved this

The response was not long in coming. Threats and attacks were started and the preparation of black lists, and
attacks on logging company facilities, carried out by people hired by the companies themselves as part of a
strategy to blame the environmental movement for these attacks.

This went on until 17 July, when the Committee of Families of People Detained-Disappeared in Honduras (Comité
de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras - COFADEH) issued a communiqué denouncing “that
terrorism in Olancho is placing at risk the lives of those defending the environment.” The communiqué ended by
stating “no one wants to mourn the death of a forest martyr, what we want is to defend everyone‟s life, even those
who live planning and executing death every day.” The following day, Carlos Arturo Reyes, one of the people
mentioned by COFADEH on the list of people threatened by sawmill owners was murdered in his own home.

Olancho and its forests are now mourning a martyr they never wanted. Will President Maduro now be willing to
listen to the population of Olancho? Or will he continue to turn a deaf ear to their claims while the life of those
defending the forest continues to be cut down by murderers paid by economic interests? No one wants any more
martyrs, what is wanted is justice and forest protection. Is it too much to ask?

Article based on information from: interview to a member of the Olancho Environmental Movement, La
Esperanza, Honduras, 20 July 2003. "Llegó a la capital 'marcha por la vida' que encabeza cura salvadoreño",

WRM BULLETIN # 72                                                                                          July 2003

Rebelión, 27/6/03 ( ) "Terrorismo en Olancho pone en
riesgo la vida de defensores del Medio Ambiente", COFADEH, 17/7/03

- Second Meso-American Forum against Dams

The Second Meso-American Forum against Dams “For the Peoples‟ Water and Life” was held from 17 to 20 July
in Honduras. One hundred and fifty delegates participated, “concerned over the increasing invasion by dam-
building projects imposed by large transnational companies and multilateral bodies, in partnership with the corrupt
governments of the Meso-American region.”

The Forum‟s main objective was to “share and analyze our experience to strengthen the struggle in defence of
our natural resources, our culture, our territories and even our very life, which are being threatened by the
imposition of economic and military plans attacking the self determination of our peoples.”

In their assessment of the situation, the participants identified the existence of some 500 projects for hydroelectric
dams in the region and noted that “the proliferation of hydroelectric projects in our countries is not due to the
energy needs of our peoples but responds to the need to set up the necessary infrastructure to develop the neo-
liberal economic model through the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), the various Free Trade agreements
on a continental level, the Puebla-Panama Plan and the Colombia Plan, among others.”

They also emphasized that the projects “are located in indigenous and peasant communities, characterized by
their considerable natural and cultural wealth. Such projects attack the survival of our peoples and cause the
disappearance of their territories.”

One of the participants in the Forum (Mauricio Alvarez from Costa Rica), underscored other important results, in
particular the fact that the meeting had made it possible to meet with and identify people affected by the dams,
both in the region and outside it (such as Brazil and Thailand). It also enabled joint strategies to be prepared,
networks to be set up and meetings among countries to be held, leading to the preparation of national and
regional plans in opposition of what he called “a hydrogarchy basically comprising transnational companies that
appropriate whole watersheds in the region. For this hydrogarchy, hydroelectric energy is secondary, as the
process of appropriating water legitimises greater domination of all the other resources contained in the

In the final part of its declaration, the Forum demands that the governments “immediately halt construction of all
the hydroelectric projects that are in process and do not grant any more concessions of any water body to private
companies. Furthermore, we demand that the use of water be guaranteed and respected as community-
benefiting collective property.”

The Forum thus puts forward an alternative and opposing vision to the model presently in force, which gives
priority to economic profitability over environmental conservation and social equity, tending to privatize all
resources and in particular water and energy and their handing over to transnational companies. The Forum will
meet again in one year‟s time in El Salvador, where actions carried out in the framework of the Action Plan
approved at this meeting will be assessed.

Article based on information from: interview with Mauricio Alvarez, FECON, Costa Rica; Declaración del II Foro
Mesoamericano contra las Represas "Por el Agua y la Vida de los Pueblos", La Esperanza, Intibucá, Honduras,
17-20 July 2003

WRM BULLETIN # 72                                                                                          July 2003


- Mexico: Women suffer the effects of market opening doubly

Chiapas, in southern Mexico, is home to peasants, mestizos and indigenous Tzontal, Tzontzil, Chole, Zoque and
Tojolabal peoples. There, bananas, cacao, sugar cane, and rice are planted. Each family has its own agricultural
plot, where they plant maize and beans for subsistence. These communities, like many others in Central America,
feel that “we were born among flowers and in the warmth of the 'temascales' (sweat lodge); from the time we were
toddlers we learnt to walk up the mountain and to keep water among the stones; we prayed to the hills and we
had feasts with the sky,” --as expressed in the final declaration of the Second Biological and Cultural Diversity
Week held in 2002-- but now commercialization and depredation have reached what for them is their mother --the
earth-- and their home --the forests. For them, the forest is life. It is a sacred place. The forest is where they get
their fire and their water, their seeds, medicines and the material to build their houses.

Large-scale logging eats up the forest and dams either drown it or dry it up, wounding to death the community
populations. Behind this are the companies that see the forest as a timber resource to be exploited to obtain large
sums of money that they do not share. They see the rivers as an energy resource to profit from, flooding whatever
is in their way. The communities are left as orphans of the forest, with nothing in exchange. In Chiapas, abundant
electric energy is generated but it does not reach local communities because the services are too expensive.

Women, responsible for seeking and providing water, suffer from these depredations twice over. The streams
where they used to find abundant water for consumption and domestic use are drying up. However, they must
continue to find water to cook and to do the washing. In some cases the communities organize themselves to
seek together a well or a spring from which they install long hoses to reach the village. But in other places women
have to walk to the woods and streams or rivers that are increasingly distant, carrying their pitcher or their
amphora to bring back water.

Market opening and free trade have reached Chiapas on the heels of the North American Free Trade Agreement
(NAFTA). This has implied a change in the societies‟ economic life, which had previously relied mostly on
exchange. Now money has become essential, markets are flooded with subsidised products from the North and
the communities must practically give away their crops. “There is no fair price,” states Maria Angelina, from San
Cristobal de las Casas. “Peasants have been paid up to two pesos a kilo for coffee when in the cities, processed
coffee costs forty.”

Emigration is just a step away, and usually it is the man who leaves. When this happens the women are left in
charge of looking after the plot and the children, of doing the housework and providing water and firewood and,
very often, of obtaining money to cover other needs when the men do not come back, a frequent situation. There
are cases in which, through collective organization with groups working with women, they have developed
projects for poultry raising, vegetable growing and handicrafts for sale. This happens in a social context in which
women have traditionally been in inferior conditions vis-à-vis men: they do not have any power of decision, they
cannot study, they have no right to land, and they must not go out because they are destined to do the

On the other hand, the danger of total breaking up of the communities hangs over them, in the form of the Puebla
Panama Plan (PPP) with its mega-projects for highways and dams crossing the whole of Central America, further
increasing the process of acculturation and family disintegration. Propaganda encouraging them to change their
traditional corn plantations for oil palm is advancing, leaving the communities tied to markets they do not regulate.
The maquilas --factories based on imported inputs used for the production of goods for export under unsafe,
precarious and badly paid working conditions-- are just another consequence of the PPP. In San Cristobal de las
Casas one has already been installed, where the workers are mostly women, nearly all indigenous.

But women do not remain passive. They have become aware of their social function and have taken on their
responsibilities. For this reason, they have participated in the Third Biological and Cultural Diversity week held
WRM BULLETIN # 72                                                                                         July 2003

from 17 to 20 July in La Esperanza, Intibuca, Honduras. Here they have made their voices of denunciation and
demand heard, sometimes with humour and irony. They are winning a place that they must take to make another
world possible.

Article based on information from: interview with Maria Angelina Miranda, Diocesan Women‟s Coordinator
(Coordinadora Diocesana de Mujeres - CODIMUJ), e-mail:


- Brazil: The Alert Against the Green Desert Network demands a change in the forestry model

One hundred organizations from Espirito Santo, Bahia, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais gathered on 28 and 29
June in Porto Seguro, Bahia, at the Second National Meeting of the Alert Against the Green Desert Network.
These organizations prepared a letter which shall be sent to President Lula, parliamentarians and to the World
Bank, demanding that greater attention be paid to the problem we describe here below.

 “We the undersigned, representatives of Quilombola,* Tupinikim, Pataxo, Guarani, fisher-people and peasant
communities, and tens of organizations present at the II National Meeting of the Alert Against the Green Desert
Network, a movement that struggles against the expansion of monoculture eucalyptus plantations for the
production of cellulose and charcoal in Espirito Santo (ES), Bahia (BA), Rio de Janeiro (RJ) and Minas Gerais
(MG), denounce the serious violation of economic, cultural and socio-environmental rights committed by this
exporter agro-industrial complex.

Over the past four decades, this complex has destroyed the local communities‟ way of life. The companies in this
sector continue to invade their lands and have caused rural exodus with the consequent dispersion of many
communities. In such regions, the rivers have been degraded by pollution caused by wide-spread use of
pesticides and a process of desiccation, linked to large-scale plantations, compromising fishing and the quality
and quantity of drinking water. The Aracruz Cellulose Company diverted the Doce River to ensure the abusive
consumption of 248 thousand cubic metres of water per day, free of cost, by its three pulp mills.

With their development discourse, the companies have encouraged an enormous migration of workers seeking
the promise of employment. Today, the results are thousands of former workers, many of them mutilated by
unhealthy work, dismissed as a result of a violent and noxious process of automatisation and out-sourcing. These
peoples‟ loss of dignity is manifest through the existence of a high rate of child prostitution in the neighbourhoods
where the abandoned former workers now live. In the midst of eucalyptus tree monoculture plantations, people
opposing and resisting them are loosing their cultural identity and wealth and are literally suffering a process of
deep isolation. Those who oppose this inhuman project are exposed to attempts at co-option and even threatened
with death.

Unfortunately, the State has been an accomplice to these companies‟ practices. For four decades now, it has
been granting loans through the National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES) and illegal
permits for plantations --not respecting permanent preservation reserves-- and factories, one of them built on a
former indigenous village. Furthermore, the exporting companies have debts with the Social Security (INSS in
Portuguese) and benefit from the Kandir Law, giving rise to dramatic situations such as that of Espirito Santo,
where the government of this State owes the Aracruz Cellulose Company over 100 million reales on credit from
the ICMS (Tax on the Circulation of Goods and Services). At the same time, the State has not given the local
population any options, on the contrary, it is increasingly showing its complicity with company interests to the
detriment of its social responsibility and in view of this vacuum, the companies have taken on some State
functions, generating a perverse relationship of dependency and de-structuring the local communities‟ social

WRM BULLETIN # 72                                                                                        July 2003

The signatory organizations consider that the consequences of all these problems are related to the present
development model funded by the central government and by international organizations whose only objective is
to profit from funding in detriment to the way of life of these populations.

Attempts to revert damage caused by perverse company strategies, for example the introduction of the Forest
Stewardship Council (FSC) Green Seal for sustainable management of monoculture tree plantations, have not
been able to revert such negative impacts and, what is worse, have been insufficient to reorient the rationale of
this agro-industrial model. We recall a recent publication, prepared by a group of Alert Against the Green Desert
research workers, showing the flagrant lack of sustainability of the Plantar and V&M Florestal Company
eucalyptus plantations in Minas Gerais, both of which have been certified by the FSC.

Furthermore, the Network states its opposition to the application of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), to
the large-scale plantations of these same mining companies, because it considers that such a mechanism
continues to favour the countries of the North, insofar as they would not have to reduce their release of pollutants
contributing to global warming and because, by increasing the area of plantations, CDM is worsening the
impoverishment of the populations of the South.

We affirm that there are contradictions between investment in this agro-industrial complex and the Central
Government‟s Zero Hunger Plan. On the one hand, considerable investment, such as that of the factory Veracel
Celulose plans to build in Bahia, continues to favour monoculture tree plantations that are mainly aimed at
production for export to rich countries, creating very few jobs, legitimising large-scale land-holding, preventing
agrarian reform and further increasing rural exodus and the despair of thousands of families that will be left with
no land and no subsistence. On the other hand, the Government has launched a Zero Hunger Plan, attempting to
encourage food production, while the best arable lands continue to be occupied by tree plantations. Macro-
economic policy goals cannot be achieved by sacrificing the living conditions, health and work and the way of life
of workers and communities that need water, land, fish and hunting in order to avoid becoming part of the growing
contingent of the unemployed in the cities.

It is not enough to come up with provisional ways out of the present economic model. The route taken by a model
revolving around capital accumulation and unrestrained consumption must be radically changed. Another
development rationale must be built, in which the central aspect is the human being --men and women-- as a
whole, and the way in which the planet‟s natural resources are being used is changed. Aware of the lack of
sustainability of the present model, the movements and communities members of the Alert Against the Green
Desert Network have discussed and implemented new production experiences that value biodiversity and local
knowledge and therefore, build up a different relationship with the environment.

In view of the dramatic and unsustainable socio-environmental picture we have drawn and which directly affects
many thousands of people, we, the communities and organizations signing here below consider the proposal
made by the sector to increase plantations from 5 million hectares to 11 million hectares over the next 10 years to
be unacceptable. Furthermore, we consider that it is an imperious and urgent necessity that the preparation of the
new Pluri-Annual Plan (PAP) and the government‟s industrial policy should contemplate the suspension of the
expansion of fast-growing monoculture tree plantations in Brazil. Porto Seguro, 29 June 2003 (signatures follow)”

* From the word “Quilombo”: a refuge for slaves running away from their masters. (Translator‟s note)

By: Rede Alerta Contra o Deserto Verde, e-mail:

- Chile: Forests for people or monoculture plantations for companies

Lying to the population is one of the tools most commonly used by governments and forestry companies all over
the world to impose the model of large-scale monoculture tree plantations. Chile has wide experience in this type

WRM BULLETIN # 72                                                                                            July 2003

of deception. However, increasingly people are becoming organized to struggle against the unjust government
policy which favours the companies and to defend the true Chilean forests.

For the third time now and supported by the Timber Corporation, the deceitful campaign “Forests for Chile” has
been launched. This campaign appears on television and in the mass media, showing the importance and value
of forests, but with pictures showing alien radiata pine plantations. The government also continues to give its
support to this deceit. In a local newspaper, with reference to this advertising campaign, one may read “The
Ministry of Agriculture considers that this initiative represents an interesting opportunity to highlight one of Chile‟s
most relevant environmental and productive resources, as are forests and their related activities. Additionally, with
this initiative, Chilean society is being invited to get to know and to value our forests, to make them part of our
daily lives and our action as a society.”

The article goes on to state that “due to their wide distribution throughout a considerable part of our geography, to
the rich diversity of forest types and species, to the fact that they host a considerable part of our biodiversity and
that they are a source of water and soil conservation as well as spaces for recreation and tourism, forests are a
substantive part of our social and economic reality.”

Reading these first two paragraphs, anyone could believe that this is a worthy initiative, if it were not for the fact
that what is really being promoted is monoculture pine tree plantations, as from then on, the article continues to
refer to forests and plantations without differentiating which are the ones that provide the benefits referred to
earlier on.

This confusion does not arise at the time of deciding who should be supported. As analysed in detail in our
Bulletin No. 70, plantations of alien tree species continue to be subsidised, while the government is still
considering what type of support should be given to forests.

Motivated by the injustice of this situation, on 26 June 2003, some 450 representatives of indigenous communities
and small forest landowners from the Ninth and Tenth Regions met in the city of Temuco at the First National
Meeting of Small Forest Landowners of Chile, with the aim of sharing needs and proposals to promote forest
conservation and sustainable management and to inform the country of the situation. A good starting point for
what they have called Social Movement for the Chilean Forests.

As a result of this meeting, a declaration was prepared which we have published in our web page at: (available only in Spanish). We have extracted some of the basic
ideas of the communities‟ feelings, regarding forests and the support they are demanding from the authorities:

The native forest in the south of Chile is an economic, cultural and biological heritage of tremendous value, both
for the country and for the world. However, small forest landowners, some 90 thousand families in the Ninth
region alone, are presently suffering from a very deteriorated economic situation and have no access to public
programmes or resources to conserve their forests, which cover over 1.5 million hectares.

This contradiction is mainly due to the lack of policies and strategies supporting and promoting indigenous and
peasant economies, or forest conservation and sustainable management, and to the absence of a Native Forest
Law in the country, a law that has been waiting for 12 years now to be adopted. This is also a consequence of
economic policies giving priority to the exploitation of natural resources and large scale private investment geared
to export. Added to this, are the lack of understanding and sensitivity regarding the Mapuche, Huilliche and
peasant peoples, turning them into an underprivileged sector, weakly integrated to the national economy.

Small forest landowner organizations are demanding that the Native Forest Law be promoted in Chile and
propose giving priority to a subsidy for small forest landowners and to the promotion to the payment of
compensation by transnational forestry companies to the small landowners, as a way of repairing the effects of
forest substitution.

WRM BULLETIN # 72                                                                                          July 2003

While opposing subsidies granted to companies or large landowners, they also demand the promotion and
practice of appropriate management of the specific situation of forests, culture and forms of traditional
management and that an opportunity be given to peasants and Mapuche and Huilliche communities to conserve
their forests. Finally, they demand the implementation of educational activities at all levels in order to achieve
respect for the values and contributions of the forest in all its meanings, for the benefit of people.

Faced by these demands, the government will have to decide between continuing to encourage the monoculture
tree plantation model, promoted during the Pinochet dictatorship (for the almost exclusive benefit of large
economic groups) or to support indigenous and peasant communities in sustainable forest management. An
essential step in this respect is the acknowledgement that plantations are not forests. When this happens, the
slogan “Forests for Chile” will start to have some meaning.

Article based on information from the Declaration “Bosques Nativos para la Gente” sent by Rodrigo Catalán from
the “Fondo Bosque Templado” , e-mail: ; Angélica Hernández M., Agenda Regional de la
Araucanía (Grupo AGRA), e-mail: ; El Mercurio, 22 June 2003,

- Paraguay: Uncontacted Indians in danger

The last uncontacted Indians south of the Amazon basin are being squeezed from all sides. With their last refuge
being gradually overrun, they have nowhere left to hide. But if the Paraguayan government acts, the Indians can
keep hold of their land and avoid the diseases that threaten to decimate their population.

The Indians are members of the 5,000-strong Ayoreo tribe which once occupied much of north Paraguay and
south-east Bolivia. This region is part of the Chaco, a sparsely-populated expanse of scrub forest, grasslands and
swamp. The Ayoreo are hunter-gatherers, living off the abundant natural resources of their homeland; they hunt
wild pigs and armadillo, collect wild honey, and plant squash, corn and beans in the rainy season.

During the last century most of the Ayoreo's land was taken over by outsiders. In Paraguay ranchers cleared the
forest of valuable timber, and set up vast cattle ranches. From the 1920s, thousands of European Mennonites
established colonies in the Chaco; their ranches and dairy farms in turn attracted land speculators, whose
companies now hold title to much of the Ayoreo's territory.

More recent arrivals to the Ayoreo's land are the fundamentalist missionaries of the American New Tribes Mission
(NTM). The NTM has tried to convert many Ayoreo, and established a colony at a place called Campo Loro.

In 1979 and 1986 'evangelised' Indians, with the backing of the NTM, went into the forest to bring out uncontacted
Ayoreo, from a group known as the Totobiegosode – 'people from the place of the wild pig'. At least five of the
'evangelised' Ayoreo died during these expeditions, as the uncontacted Indians tried to defend themselves from
capture. Several of those brought to Campo Loro died soon after through ill-health. Campaigns by Survival and
others brought a halt to these 'manhunts'.

An unknown number of Ayoreo-Totobiegosode remain in the forest, actively resisting contact with outsiders. From
evidence such as footprints and abandoned huts, there are known to be several distinct family groups living in a
wide area.

In 1993, those Ayoreo-Totobiegosode who had been forced out of the forest submitted a land claim to the
government on behalf of their relatives still in the forest. With the assistance of a local NGO, the Totobiegosode
Support Group, the Indians requested title to, or protection over, 550,000 hectares of their land – less than a fifth
of their ancestral territory of 2.8 million hectares.

WRM BULLETIN # 72                                                                                           July 2003

Since the claim was submitted the government has titled 67,400 hectares to the Indians, with another 116,000
hectares promised. Injunctions have also been placed on the whole 550,000 hectares, preventing landowners,
ranchers and other settlers from clearing forest or carrying out any other work on the land. But despite these
injunctions, there has recently been a frightening wave of incursions, some of them causing the Totobiegosode in
the forest to flee, abandoning their huts, which have been found empty.

In June, bulldozers cleared paths into forest in the south-east of the Indians' territory on land owned by the
Veragilma and Falabella companies. The paths were cut to give access to stands of palo santo, a valuable
hardwood. At the same time, the authorities in the regional government of Alto Paraguay are pushing for new
colonisation of these lands. A huge track has also been bulldozed by Mennonite settlers on an estate called Yvy
Pora: this disturbed the Totobiegosode in the area, who fled. Still other paths have been cleared on the Nieto and
Gorostiaga ranches in the south and west of the Ayoreo territory.

The Ayoreo-Totobiegosode have been fleeing incursions onto their land for decades, and have made it
abundantly clear they do not want contact: in 1994 and 1998 arrows were fired at bulldozers operating on their
land. The clearing of their land is illegal – and if it continues, puts the isolated Ayoreo at great danger of being
caught up in violent conflicts or again falling victim to disease.

Article reproduced from E-news from Survival International, 23/7/03

- Venezuela: Tourism development causes serious impacts on mangroves

Over the past 15 years, the Colina municipal authorities backing tourism development have granted lands
bordering the De la Vela Mangrove. The consequent building of housing and shops has implied that these lands
were filled with rubble at the expense of the ecosystem and the space necessary for mangrove growth.

As a response to this situation and concerned over the impact of tourism activities on the fragile ecosystem,
representatives of Voluntary Environmental Monitors (Vigilante Voluntarios Ambientales) and the Ecologist
Association for Environmental Preservation (Asociación Ecologista para la Preservación Ambiental – AEPA-
Falcon) have lodged a series of complaints. An eye inspection of the De la Vela Mangrove (la Salinita) with the
presence of authorities from the Municipality and the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources, the
owner of the land and a representative of the AEPA-Falcon NGO was carried out, resulting in a stoppage of land-
filling activities in the zone near the bridge accessing Vela de Coro until such time the owner of the land submits a
project for tourism development which he intends to implement in the wetlands.

The mangrove is a fundamental ecosystem for coastal protection against climatic inclemency. It is also the refuge,
home and source of food for many species of fauna and flora and provides a series of goods and services to the
people who inhabit its vicinity and who largely depend on the mangrove for their subsistence.

The development of the tourism industry, implying the construction of highways, roads, large buildings, mangrove
felling or land-filling, will generate major impacts insofar as it will substantially modify this ecosystem.

Today, over a year after these complaints were lodged, there are people who are still determined to promote this
tourism development in the Municipality of Colina at the expense of the mangroves, without questioning the
environmental and social costs involved. No Environmental Impact Assessment of the De la Vela Mangrove,
evaluating the damage caused to the ecosystem has yet been made.

While awaiting a valid decision by the national authorities, lands close to the mangrove are being filled to build
housing with permits granted by the Colina Municipal authorities.

With the support of the Latin American Mangrove Network and Greenpeace International, in defence of coastal
ecosystems and community life, those who are affected by tourism activities are demanding greater protection of
WRM BULLETIN # 72                                                                                         July 2003

mangrove systems. They also demand from the authorities the implementation of an Environmental Impact
Assessment and, according to the results obtained, that the damage caused to the environment be repaired.
However, more important is that the final results should be made known to the institutions and organizations
involved in the environmental conflict and to the community in general.

Local inhabitants continue to wait for the preparation of a “plan for the sustainable environmental management of
the De la Vela Mangrove.”

AEPA-Falcon demands that the Colina Municipal authorities and the authorities guaranteeing environmental and
human rights in the country, prepare regulations or decrees protecting the mangrove ecosystem and that they
come up with a valid solution for this environmental conflict, guaranteeing protection of mangroves, their diversity
and respect for Human Rights and fundamental liberty of the affected communities.

Article based on information from: Anelis Teolinda Moya, e-mail: "A un año del conflicto
AEPA-Falcon exige mayor protección al Manglar de la Vela"


- Aotearoa/New Zealand: Spraying chemicals on people to protect tree monocrops

Two tiny moths are at the centre of a social and environmental confrontation in New Zealand. In West Auckland,
people and the environment are being subjected to aerial spraying with dangerous chemicals to protect pine
plantations against the attack of the painted apple moth (Teia anartoides). In South Auckland, eucalyptus
plantations are under attack from the gum-leaf skeletoniser (Uraba lugens) and it is yet unknown if chemical
control will be used there.

Pinus radiata and eucalyptus are alien trees in Aotearoa and so are the two moths whose caterpillars are now
actively eating their leaves. What's happening now had been foreseen years ago when the WRM published
"Pulping the South". We then said that "the homogeneity of extensive tree plantations constitutes a serious
problem for the plantations themselves. The great initial advantage of exotic trees --the absence of local fauna
accustomed to using them as food-- can become an Achilles heel in the long term, when predators adapted to this
species do begin to appear. At that point the food desert becomes a feast for one species, which can expand
exponentially and seriously damage or annihilate whole plantations."

There were also warnings in New Zealand itself. In 1994, local activist and researcher Grant Rosoman published
"The Plantation Effect" and in reference to the intrinsic vulnerability of monoculture tree plantations stated that
"the biggest uncertainty with pest and disease invasion is not IF but WHEN will it happen?"

The foreseen pest invasion has now happened, but the price is not being paid by the plantation companies --who
originated the problem-- but by the New Zealand people. Their health is part of the price and they have even been
denied the full information about the details of what they are being sprayed with. Although they know the name of
the product (Foray 48B), the manufacturer refuses to divulge its components. Overseas, some of these have
been found to include toluene, parabens, sulphuric acid, phosphoric acid, sodium hydroxide (lye) and a long list of
other potentially harmful or carcinogenic substances. At the same time, the taxes they pay are being used to
implement the spraying programme.

West Aucklanders are increasingly reacting against chemical spraying. They have organized themselves under
WASP (West Aucklanders Against Aerial Spraying) and have carried out a number of actions to oppose the
government's control programme. They stress that the moth "has already cost the taxpayer over $23 million and
now the government intends to spend another $90 million. The only potential threat appears to possibly be to the

WRM BULLETIN # 72                                                                                        July 2003

forestry industry's monocultured crops of cloned GE pine trees. We are asking why WE should have to pay to
protect private forestry." A good question indeed.

Article based on information from: One News. "City at war: Battle over aerial raids", 19/12/02 (,1227,156946-1-7,00.html ); One News " Skeletoniser upsets
foresters", 27/2/03 (,1227,171566-1-7,00.html );
Grey Lynn News. "Aerial spraying a health risk" ( );
Rosoman, Grant.- The Plantation Effect. An Ecoforestry Review of the Environmental Effects of Exotic
Monoculture Tree Plantations in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Greenpeace, 1994; Carrere, R. and Lohmann, L.-
Pulping the South. Industrial Tree Plantations and the World Paper Economy. U.K., Zed Books, 1996.

                                           THE CARBON SHOP FILES

- Asian Development Bank joins World Bank in promoting industrial scale carbon sinks projects in the

It sometimes takes many little pieces to recognize the full picture. In the case of the continued debate about the
benefits or otherwise of carbon sinks projects linked to the Kyoto Protocol‟s Clean Development Mechanism
(CDM), many still like to envisage it as the long-sought-for funding source for community-driven, small scale forest
restoration projects. However, recently published information about feasibility studies carried out by Japanese
Sumitomo Forestry and the Asian Development Bank‟s involvement in promoting carbon sinks projects in
Indonesia provide further indication of what the future CDM carbon sinks market will have on offer: carbon credits
generated by industrial monoculture tree plantations. And if the comments made by Malaysian Primary Industries
Minister Lim during his recent tour through Europe are an indication of what‟s being discussed, CDM carbon
finance could subsidize not only industrial eucalyptus plantations such as the World Bank‟s PCF Plantar project in
Brazil, but also the expansion of oil palm plantations in Southeast Asia.

Funded by the Canadian Cooperation Fund for Climate Change, the Asian Development Bank's “technical
assistance” to the Indonesian government will include “a position paper on CDM-carbon sequestration projects for
Indonesia for discussion at COP9” and two pilot sinks projects. COP 9 --the 9th conference of the parties to the
Convention on Climate Change-- will have to come to a decision on the rules for carbon sinks projects that intend
to claim credits through the Clean Development Mechanism. There is still wide disagreement by governments as
to the shape of these rules, and funding of this ADB project by the Canadian government begs the question of
how purely „technical‟ such assistance will be. This question arises even more strongly from the „Outline Terms of
Reference for Consultants‟, which states that the consultant is expected to ensure that „output on land use
inventory and LULUCF [Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry] modeling are in keeping with objectives of the
T[echnical] A[ssistance]”.

But Indonesia is not the only country where ADB is promoting carbon trading of climatically worthless sinks credits
(see and for a detailed critique of the
flaws of trading carbon sinks credits). In Laos, the ABD hired carbon consultancy Ecosecurities to assess whether
ADB-funded plantations in Laos are eligible under the Kyoto Protocol‟s CDM. Ecosecurities is a major CDM
project developer who was involved in designing the Plantar project in Brazil. This decision to contract one of the
major consultancies providing services essential for CDM carbon sinks projects raises the question of conflict of
interest: hiring someone commercially involved in CDM forestry to advise ADB on the feasibility of CDM sinks
prospects in Laos is like asking a dairy farmer whether milk is good for you.

And then there is the history of ADB-funded plantations in Laos, which have replaced natural forest with
monoculture eucalyptus trees for the production of wood chips, thus contributing through its policy advice and
implementation to the release of carbon into the atmosphere. Whilst ADB claims that planting was only carried out
on „degraded‟ lands, the reality is that the ADB has been funding the replacement of villagers‟ community forests,
swidden fields, grazing land and commons with monoculture eucalyptus plantations. (see also WRM Bulletin No
68: "Laos: Secrets, lies and tree plantations").
WRM BULLETIN # 72                                                                                           July 2003

With regards to Indonesia, the ADB describes 12% of Indonesia‟s 108 million hectares of forest land as „presently
idle and unproductive‟ and as „potential areas for carbon sequestration through forestation under the CDM‟. The
potential volume of credits that could be generated is huge --as is the danger that these lands are neither „idle‟ nor
„unproductive‟ in villager‟s views.

Those figures, added to the ADB‟s track record in promoting industrial tree plantations across Asia and the keen
interest in these initiatives of both the Canadian and the Japanese Governments, both stern advocates for a
widest possible carbon sinks loophole in the Kyoto Protocol, doesn‟t bode well for those envisaging the CDM as a
source for small-scale, community driven forest restoration projects.

By: Jutta Kill, SinksWatch, e-mail: ;

- Plantar: The saga continues

What‟s wrong with a company pursuing a green seal for „sustainable forest management‟ and a climate-friendly
credit for planting trees that help soak up carbon from the atmosphere? Potentially a lot, especially when both of
these claims are rather dubious, as the WRM Bulletin coverage on the Brazilian company Plantar S/A indicates.
And even more problematic if a company, when faced with criticism about its carbon sinks project, resorts to such
tactics as the distortion of facts to discredit its critics.

And yet again, Plantar serves as a case in point: In a letter to prospective buyers of Plantar‟s „carbon‟ credits, the
company claimed that a Brazilian civil society letter dated 26 March 2003, which was critical of the company‟s
envisaged sale of „carbon‟ credits, included signatures which had been added to the civil society letter without the
signatories having been informed about this. The allegation was then repeated unquestioningly at public
conferences in Europe by the Management of the World Bank‟s Prototype Carbon Fund, under whose auspices
Plantar‟s „carbon‟ credits will be sold.

This is a rather serious allegation, clearly aimed at tarnishing the reputation of those raising their voices against
the company‟s activities. The allegation is false, and a simple comparison of names mentioned in the different
letters would have revealed the falsehood of the company‟s allegation. Given the impact that the repetition of
these false allegations by a senior World Bank official had on their credibility, 77 Brazilian groups have recently
demanded a written apology and public correction of facts from the PCF Management.

What the PCF will learn from this episode, and a recently announced investigation into the “NGO allegations
raised in the civil society letters” remains to be seen. For SinksWatch, such unquestioning repetition of company
information certainly raises even more questions about the scrutiny the PCF applies to project information
received from project proponents. Following the PCF approach of „learning by doing‟, SinksWatch has learned
that the PCF‟s Plantar project‟s „carbon‟ credits are doing nothing to help avert dangerous climate change but
increasing hardship for local people. The lesson: no „carbon‟ credits from Plantar are good „carbon‟ credits.

By: Jutta Kill, SinksWatch, e-mail: ;


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