Further by 1tHm83


									                            WORLD RAINFOREST MOVEMENT
International Secretariat                                                                        Ph: +598 2 413 2989
Ricardo Carrere (Coordinator)                                                                  Fax: +598 2 418 0762
Maldonado 1858; CP 11200                                                                   Email: wrm@wrm.org.uy
Montevideo - Uruguay                                                                Web site: http://www.wrm.org.uy

                                                                                                WRM Bulletin # 75
                                                                                                    October 2003
                                                                                                  (English edition)

In this issue:


- Looking in the Bolivian mirror                                                                    2


- Congo, Republic: Deals and partnerships between loggers and conservationists                      3
- Nigeria: Shell is back to wreck the environment and the people                                    4
- South Africa: Renewed call for a moratorium on timber plantations                                 5
- Uganda: World Bank attempts to keep the Bujagali dam project alive                                5

- Bangladesh: A forest stolen for cash                                                              6
- India: Local villagers rallied against polluter paper mill                                        7
- Malaysia: Logging company encroaches and abuses Penan villagers                                   8
- Sri Lanka: The US Tropical Forestry Conservation Act, a question of sovereignty                   9

- Costa Rica: Oil extortion                                                                         10

- Argentina: Victory of the Wichi community against logging company                                 11
- Ecuador: Sharing experiences against monoculture tree plantations                                 11
- Uruguay-Argentina: Joint struggle against a pulp-mill                                             12
- Venezuela: Government plan endangers the Imataca forest                                           14

- Australia: A testimony of the loss of forests to Eucalyptus plantations and much more             15


- Women react to a male-dominated World Forestry Congress                                           16
- The Vth World Parks Congress: Parks for People or Parks for Business?                             18
WRM BULLETIN 75                                                                                       October 2003

                                                 OUR VIEWPOINT
- Looking in the Bolivian mirror

In a world dominated by CNN-style news, it is difficult for people to have access to real information. Needless to
say that serious analysis on almost anything (except perhaps football) is particularly absent. Train accidents,
sports results, wars, Hollywood stars, hunger, biotechnology, human rights abuses or whatever mix of chaotic bits
and pieces of news appear to be more an excuse to inflict advertisements on people than to provide them with
relevant information to understand the world we are living in.

Within that situation, it is possible that for most people –even within Latin America- the news about the ousting of
the Bolivian government has not meant much. We believe it to be, however, one of the most important events that
has happened in the recent years.

Eagerly and happily responding to the US government's demands, the fallen government decided, on the one
hand, to crack down on coca cultivation and on the other hand to open up the country's natural gas reserves to
supply the US with extremely cheap gas through a Chilean port.

The Bolivian people reacted strongly and decided to take the country's sovereignty into their own hands. Coca
cultivation has since time immemorial been part of the Bolivian culture, while cocaine is a foreign invention alien
to this culture. Eradication of coca is thus perceived as a US imposition having no legitimacy within the country.
On the other hand, natural gas is one of the last remaining economic resources the country still has, all the rest
(from silver to tin) having already been exploited first by Spanish conquerors and later by transnational
companies, leaving the country poorer than before. The detail that gas would be exported through a Chilean port
–which in a past 19th Century war left Bolivia without access to the Pacific Ocean- added insult to injury.

The people thus took to the streets against the government. The cost was very high -some 70 dead and more
than 400 injured- but the result was a President fleeing to where he belongs –Miami- and his hard-line ministers
escaping to a number of different countries. The new president has pledged to introduce radical changes to the
policies implemented by his predecessor, in line with popular demands.

Why do we think this news is so important? Firstly, because it shows the inherent weakness of power based on
elites alienated from their country's peoples. Secondly, because it proves that the apparent weakness of
impoverished peoples hides their true and enormous strength. Thirdly, because it provides the rest of the world
with a mirror of our own realities and possibilities for change. Not to copy what the Bolivian people did, but to
realize that change is possible –if we try.

What is the relevance of this news regarding forests? Many of the articles contained in this bulletin show that
resistance against the destruction of forests is mostly in the hands of local peoples and civil society organizations.
While governments argue –with or without conviction- that little can be done in a world dominated by
overwhelming economic and political powers, peoples still believe that resistance is possible –and act
accordingly. While governments open up our countries to logging, oil and gas exploitation, large scale tree
plantations, dams, shrimp farming, genetically modified crops and other "development" projects, people continue
fighting all the way down the line. In some cases succeeding and in others failing. But always trying.

Within the prevailing economic model implemented by governments following the advice of the International
Monetary Fund and similar institutions, the future of forests is –to say the least- problematic. What therefore
needs to be changed is precisely that model. It will certainly not be easy, but neither was or is the ongoing
struggle in Bolivia.

WRM BULLETIN 75                                                                                       October 2003

                                        LOCAL STRUGGLES AND NEWS


- Congo, Republic: Deals and partnerships between loggers and conservationists

Three years ago a deal between the authorities of Gabon and a French logging company traded away 10,352
hectares of the Lope Reserve in return for 5,200 hectares of a previously not protected area of remote upland
primary forests being added to the reserve (see WRM Bulletin Nº 38). The highly controversial deal was arranged
by officials of the US-based organization Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

In 2001, the stage moved to Congo Brazzaville. Wildlife Conservation Society announced a deal involving the
Goualogo triangle, bordering the Nouabale Ndoki Park, but this time the only reference to compensation for the
involved CIB logging company (Congolaise Industrielle des Bois) was in form of strong statements to the effect
that there was NO trade off involved (maybe they have learnt).

There have been a lot of public relations around that. Dr. Stoll, the Chief Executive Officer of CIB, stated the
following: "CIB has shelved its plans for exploitation of the Goualogo Triangle. There can be no question
regarding as this having been some kind of commercial transaction/trade off!"

On August 27th 2002, John Robinson, Vice President at WCS, responded to an inquiry regarding the triangle
compensation by stating in an e-mail to Dale Peterson, author of the book "Eating Apes": "The questions that you
pass along from Karl reflect his lack of understanding. … this is the first time I have heard any discussion of
'compensation' between CIB and WCS on the Goualogo (the idea is in itself insulting)."

When questioning the then ITTO (International Tropical Timber Organization) president in a telephone
conversation on the deal in 2002, Karl Ammann was told: "The original proposal to cede the southern corner of
the park, so that CIB would not have to build expensive roads through swamp, was rejected in a meeting in
January 2002, and it was agreed to compensate CIB with a piece of forest along the Central African Republic

In December 2002, one of the few tourist visitors which managed to get uninvited through to the concession and
the WCS headquarters in Kabo told that the new concession that was given lately in compensation of the triangle
is called Pikounda. The information that CIB received sixty thousand hectares towards Pikounda was confirmed
by the National Reforestation Service (SNR).

The final conclusion is that a compensation deal has been completed and that, as in the Lope transaction, the
loggers won in terms of area gained.

As Karl Ammann incisively puts it: “It is clear that a wide range of players, having in one way or the other been
sucked into this 'success' story, had to now evaluate any response to any of the above questions and had to do
so within the context of a range of conflicting interests. Deciding on how ecologically or economically important
these areas are or were and then to compare them, would most likely end in a never ending and inconclusive
debate. The question which arises is: Can conservationists and NGOs afford to be painted with the same brush
when it comes to basic transparency? Are there any established policies and procedures in place when
negotiating such partnership deals. If not, why not? If there are, what are they? Are we walking into a situation
where, while logging is green-washed, the timber industry successfully manages to further "black-wash" the
conservation establishment?”

All readers, listeners, watchers and consumers of mass media, all the paid journalists and Public Relation
companies should have some dignity left and say: Enough is enough!

WRM BULLETIN 75                                                                                       October 2003

Adapted from: “Compensation or no compensation? – That seems to be the question”, by Karl Ammann, 14 Oct.
2003 (full text at: http://www.wrm.org.uy/countries/Congo/question.html), sent by ECOTERRA International, e-
mail: NATURAL_FORESTS@ecoterra.net

- Nigeria: Shell is back to wreck the environment and the people

The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) --which was responsible for the crude oil
leaking from June to December 1998 of a pipeline into the Oyara mangrove forests and its dispersion into
surrounding water streams, farms and sacred sites of the Otuegwe community-- is now implementing the SPDC-E
major oil Trunkline Replacement project. Major operations involved are land take, route clearing,
trenching/excavation, stringing, welding, radiograph, back filling, hydro-testing and re-instatement.

Major rural communities and areas in the Niger Delta such as Diebu Creek, Nun River, Rumuekpe, Nkpolu,
Ogale, Bomu, Soku, Buguma, Oribiri, Alakiri, Nembe-Tie, Nembe main, Tora, San Barth, Krakama, Cawthorne
and Bonny would be adversely affected during project execution and implementation. SPDC will wreck the
ecology at both ends, thereby throwing creek dwelling families, ecology, rural people and the mangrove forests
and other resources of the Niger Delta into massive disequilibrium.

In the months of March, May and June, 2003, SPDC in collaboration with the Nigerian authorities organized
Public Hearings, as requested by Nigerian Law’s Oil Pipeline Act Cap 338. Concerned environmental groups
working in the area flayed the processes, and asked the Nigerian government not to give license to Shell because
they have demonstrated their inability to operate the pipelines and reduce negative impacts on the environment
and peoples of the area. However, the project is about to commence without regard for the people and their

Niger Delta Project for Environment, Human Rights and Development (NDPEHRD) is concerned about the
devastation that Shell is about to unleash on the tall and abundant mangrove species in the area. The cutting of
trees will lead to loss of mangrove vegetation of different types, sizes, classes and shapes that will run into
several hectares.

When SPDC eventually carries out their project, the decaying mangrove plant material will eventually foul the
surrounding environment, particularly areas with limited capacity to flush. Generally, in mangrove environment
and related human communities, associated attributes such as environmentally reserved areas, sanctuaries,
shrine and archaeological sites are numerous. The negative impacts of the pipeline project will be enormous on
the people and their environment.

During the replacement exercise, the pipelines containing crude oil will inevitably spill a huge quantity on the
environment. At Peterside community in Bonny, members of the Bonny indigenous fishing co-operatives told
NDPEHRD officials that they have protested against the project, but SPDC ignored them. They said they are
more concerned about the impacts the project will pose to their activities.

NDPEHRD has launched a campaign and invites to write letters to SPDC asking them to obey Nigerian
Environmental Laws and be mindful of the impacts of their activities on the peoples' environment

Extracted and adapted from: “SPDC Commences Destruction of Hundreds of
Mangrove forests in The Niger Delta Again”, The Late Friday News, 125th Edition, Mangrove Action Project, e-
mail: mangroveap@olympus.net , http://www.earthisland.org/map/map.htm

WRM BULLETIN 75                                                                                        October 2003

- South Africa: Renewed call for a moratorium on timber plantations

Timberwatch, a coalition of environmental NGOs and individuals, has renewed an appeal made during the World
Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002, calling on the South African government, as well as on the timber
industry, to halt the planting of new industrial timber plantations in naturally vegetated areas, especially

Existing industrial timber plantations in South Africa cover more than 1,500,000 hectares concentrated in the
higher rainfall areas of the provinces of Kwazulu-Natal and Mpumalanga (see WRM Bulletin 44). There is a
further estimated 1,700,000 hectares which have been invaded by alien plantation trees, mainly Pine, Eucalyptus
and Wattle, in a country which is home to unique and endemic species.

In a large-scale commercial pattern of monoculture which is being applied worldwide, extensive woodlots related
to pulp and paper mills are established on communal or public lands, displacing communities. In the search of
cheap wood, typically with the support of public money (direct and indirect subsidies) under the guise of helping to
uplift rural people, huge corporations take over land and water resources.

And the rule is that, failing to the promises, as timber plantations expand, rural people are impoverished, and are
forced to leave their traditional homes in search of underpaid work in cities, or settle in sensitive natural areas
such as the Dukuduku forest near Lake St Lucia.

Timberwatch denounces that the timber industry in South Africa is viable only because it fails to take responsibility
for all the costs and impacts that arise from its activities. The Coalition demands a full investigation of the industry
to show how it is artificially subsidised at the expense of other far less harmful, established and sustainable
traditional land uses. The cost borne by society of controlling the invasion of alien trees from plantations, in
particular species such as Wattle is one example of how the timber industry is subsidised.

In line with the above and with the call for a moratorium on new industrial tree plantations, Timberwatch demands
that before more industrial timber plantations are allowed on virgin land, unmanaged stands of trees must be
felled and used to supply the timber industry.

Article based on information from: “Renewal of NGO Call for a Moratorium on New Timber Plantations”, October
15, 2003, issued on behalf of the Timberwatch coalition by Wally Menne, e-mail: plantnet@iafrica.com ,

- Uganda: World Bank attempts to keep the Bujagali dam project alive

In August 2003, US-based power producer AES Corp pulled out of the World Bank sponsored dam project in
Uganda, based on economic reasons. The decision --which implied that the company wrote off $75m it had
invested in the project-- has raised questions about the future of the controversial dam.

The $580 million project at Bujagali on the Nile river encounters strong opposition from concerned organizations
and individuals because it would flood the Nile all the way to the base of the Owens Falls Dam, destroying the
living space of thousands of local dwellers --a gorgeous landscape which is also a site of special spiritual
significance to the local population. Critics of the dam point at serious economic, social, health impacts on the
population, which have not been adequately taken into account when considering the project (see WRM Bulletin
Nº 42).

The US envoy to Uganda Jimmy Kolker tried recently to reassure that the US government considered Bujagali
was a viable project and AES's withdrawal "has nothing to do with environmental concerns".

WRM BULLETIN 75                                                                                      October 2003

The World Bank has also stepped in to help fund the hydropower project, though it has put it on hold until
investigation on corruption carried out in US courts is over. The bank's private lending arm, the International
Finance Corporation, said in mid-October that the government of Uganda and the AES were establishing a
working group to ensure the smooth transition in the development of the $520m project. The government of
Uganda fears "a panic" following the pullout by AES.

The proponents of the "costly white elephant", as many label the hydropower dam project, argue that it is aimed
at providing Uganda with a cheaper source of power.

Opponents to the project have long been urging the government to look for alternative energy sources, and
promoting a wise use of river-based environmental goods and services. As the "Save Bujagali" Campaign says,
"the real issue in Uganda is not electricity but poverty”.

Article based on information from: “World Bank Steps in to Save Hydropower Project”, by Ronald Muwanga,
Business Day, October 15, 2003, http://allafrica.com/stories/200310150307.html , sent by Pambazuka News 128,
e-mail: pambazuka-news@pambazuka.org ; “AES pulls out of $580 million Uganda dam project”, Reuters, August
13, 2003, published by Probe International,
http://www.probeinternational.org/pi/wb/index.cfm?DSP=content&ContentID=8315 ; National Association of
Professional Environmentalists (NAPE), e-mail: napesbc@afsat.com


- Bangladesh: A forest stolen for cash

Plantation of exotics --rubber, acacia and eucalyptus in particular-- is one major factor that has changed the
Modhupur sal forest (Shorea robusta) for ever, with severe consequences for the ethnic communities --Garos and
Koch-- who have lived in the forest for centuries.

With loan money from the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank in particular, the government has
actually established plantations of alien species all over the public forestland. Except for the Sundarban, only
fragments of native forests remain in Bangladesh.

Pineapple and banana plantations have also expanded in the Modhupur sal forest in the recent times, with too
much use of pesticides, including DDT and imported hormone to make the fruit bigger and ripen quicker, posing a
serious concern. Now both pineapple and banana production and trade are controlled by the Bangalee traders.

In Bangladesh “social” forestry on public forest land means big cash deal with loans coming from international
financial institutions. The practice of “simple plantation” forestry has been passed for “social”, “community” or
“participatory” forestry. The land belongs to the Forest Department (FD); loan money comes from the Asian
Development Bank (ADB); and the FD establishes the plantations on public forestland, cutting native forests and
bushes with the argument that the local species are less productive and grow slow. The locals and often
outsiders are drawn into it as the so-called participants or beneficiaries who have no say about the selection of
species, while the production and trade are controlled .

According to some appalling statistics about the state of the Modhupur forest given by the Tangail Forest Office,
out of 46,000 acres in the Tangail part of the Modhupur forest, 7,800 acres have been given out for rubber
cultivation, 1,000 acres to the Air Force, 25,000 acres have gone into illegal possession and the Forest
Department controls only 9,000 acres.

In Modhupur, once abundant with medicinal plants, one can hardly find native species such as Gandhi Gazari,
Ajuli (Dillenia pentagyna), Dud Kuruj, Sonalu (Cassia fistula) (Golden shower), Sesra, Jiga, Jogini Chakra
(Gmelina arborea), Kaika, Sidha, Sajna, Amloki (Emblic myrobalan), and Gadila.
WRM BULLETIN 75                                                                                      October 2003

Currently, the Forest Department is implementing the second rotation of fuelwood plantation throughout the
country with loans for the Forestry Sector Project from the ADB. The controversy, debate and protest that the first
rotation of plantation (beginning in 1989-90) generated are still alive. The Forest Department continues to ignore
all these protests and controversies around plantations.

Article extracted from: “Modhupur. A stolen forest, robbed Adivasis”, by Philip Gain, Society for Environment and
Human Development (SEHD), sent by the author, e-mail: sehd@citechco.net

- India: Local villagers rallied against polluter paper mill

The Kali Bachao Andolan (Movement to Save the Kali) made a dramatic move against the serious pollution that
the West Coast Paper Mills (WCPM) is causing to the Kali River by discharging untreated effluents. For long local
people have suffered enormously from the pollution as they were repeatedly threatened with job losses if WCPM
was pressurized to be environmentally responsible.

On 30 September, villagers from worst affected Kariampalli, along with representatives of Environment Support
Group, Parisara Samrakshana Kendra, Alternative Law Forum and Samvada, rallied through the Dandeli town
and entered the WCPM campus in time for the Annual General Meeting.

Shareholders were met with individually and pressed to hold their company's leadership accountable for their lax
environmental management and criminal neglect of affected communities. Clearly caught off guard, and deeply
embarrassed, Mr. Chandak, Executive Director of WCPM, offered to meet with key 'leaders' of Kali Bachao
Andolan. He was told that he must meet all, or none would meet him.

In over two hours of deliberations that followed, Leo Saldanha, speaking for KBA and the affected villagers,
charged the company with:

* Willful negligence causing serious pollution of the Kali River, and its ecology and extracting water far in excess
of consented quantities.
* Causing grievous injury and harm to villagers downstream of the effluent discharge point.
* Criminal neglect of villagers affected by the pollution incident which on 29/30 June 2003 led to an epidemic
outbreak of gastroenteritis and death (see
* Lax approach to statutory warnings requiring the company to install a state of the art effluent treatment plant.
Further, carelessly discharging fly ash from the power plant, including in a local college campus.
* Gross violation of production limits set, as the company was on record that it was producing more than twice the
consented quantity. This resulted in more fresh water intake, and doubling of pollution, with consequent adverse
impacts on public health and environment.
* The regulatory authority appears to have colluded with the company by not examining report details and failing
to take appropriate action.
* The company has behaved in a manner as to threaten the local communities with dire action if they questioned
its errant behaviour.

Mr. Chandak had little to offer in explanation. He was also unable to deny any of these charges. Consequently he
made the following commitments:

1. WCPM will undertake the expenses of providing drinking water to all villages affected by pollution of Kali due to
discharge of effluents.
2. WCPM will invest in a mobile medical unit to provide immediate health relief to affected villages.
3. WCPM will accept monetary claims from all affected families. These claims would include cost of loss of
income and livelihood due to disease, death and disease of cattle and failure of crops.

WRM BULLETIN 75                                                                                   October 2003

4. One year's livelihood support would be extended on claim to Jahnu, a Gowli who suffered acute renal failure,
and also his sister-in-law, who lost a new born infant, due to pollution from WCPM. Mr. Chandak also confirmed
that the production process would be modernized to make it elemental-chlorine free, but not soon.

This protest marks an important departure in the nature of events in Dandeli; local people have now been shown
the way ahead in negotiating a better deal for themselves and those who work in this large paper mill.

Article based on information from: “KBA Protest Enters West Coast Paper Mills”, press release 6 October 2003,
issued by Environment Support Group, e-mail: esg@bgl.vsnl.net , on behalf of Kali Bachao Andolan; “Epidemic
Outbreak of Gastroenteritis and Death due to Pollution of Kali River by West Coast Paper Mills”,

- Malaysia: Logging company encroaches and abuses Penan villagers

Long Lunyim is a Penan community from Sungai Pelutan, Baram, located in the Miri Division of the state of
Sarawak, Malaysia which used to be a part of another village called Long Tepen. The people of Long Lunyim
decided some years ago to leave the village of Long Tepen and establish as a separate longhouse altogether
slightly further away over disputes with the Long Tepen's headman on the encroachment of logging activities onto
their customary land.

The logging company Lajong Lumber, a subsidiary of Rimbunan Hijau, has been showering the chief of Long
Tepen with cash and his sons with jobs with the company in exchange for the people's land. The company's
operations started to get nearer and nearer to Long Lunyim and eventually encroached onto its individual farms
and communal forestland. When the Long Lunyim people went to the company to complain and to demand
Lajong Lumber to stop their operations, the company would simply reply that it had already paid their chief and
that he had allowed them to enter the land.

The Long Lunyim community had written several letters from 2000- 2003 to several local authorities and the
company itself asserting among others, that they no longer belonged to Long Tepen or the authority of its chief
and committee and since they far outnumbered the latter the company had no right to buy their consent from
Long Tepen.

In August 2003, a blockade was put up by Long Lunyim which was then dismantled after six days when the
protestors were invited to see the General Manager of the company in Miri, who showed receptive to all of their

However on September 4, the police came looking for a member of Long Lunyim, Mr. Semali Sait, promptly
arrested him and confiscated his father's gun, which by the way, does possess a valid licence. They handcuffed
him all the way to the Marudi Police Station, a journey by land and river which could have taken some 6-7 hours.

His fellow villagers became highly traumatised in the process, a bad thing when you are about to begin your
planting season. The next day his father Sait Kiling went to the nearest police station to demand explanation and
he too was then arrested, handcuffed and brought to the Marudi lockup. Both father and son were under remand
for 8 days and were then wrongfully charged under Section 506 of the Penal Code for alleged criminal
intimidation. They are now out on bail.

The arrest and charges were based on a police report lodged by Lajong Lumber's Camp Manager and a worker
who claimed that they were threatened and intimidated by five Long Lunyim villagers, including Semali and his
father. The two of them however vehemently denied the accusation and they have proof to back their claims.

But the company acted cold blood. While the people were either in jail, worried sick in Marudi for the two and the
other three who were never detained but named in the police report, or scared to death back at home, the
WRM BULLETIN 75                                                                                       October 2003

company managed to push in 10 tractors, 2 units for road construction and 8 for logging, into the people's forest
reserve area, to grab all the timber there very quickly. “As-is” business.

If you wish to express your support to the Penan struggle, please visit:

Article based on information provided by: Sahabat Alam Malaysia/FoE Malaysia; e-mail: sammarudi@yahoo.com
, sent by Damien Ase, e-mail: dase@celcor.org.pg

- Sri Lanka: The US Tropical Forestry Conservation Act, a question of sovereignty

Multilateral and bilateral agencies --World Bank, Asian Development Bank, International Monetary Fund, USAID
and Japan Bank for International Cooperation-- have long provided loans and grants for southern countries,
throwing them into a debt trap. Sri Lanka is no exception. To repay its foreign debt, the country has overexploited
--with an impact on future generations-- its natural resources, including large scale felling of timber, shrimp
farming, cultivation of cash crops, mining and the privatisation of water supplies.

On the other hand, large-scale loans and grants for unsuccessful conservation projects --such as tree planting,
watershed management, coastal conservation, pollution control, wildlife, medicinal plant conservation-- have
added to the foreign debt of the country with no improvement in the environment sector in general.

Now, the Sri Lankan government is planning to sign an agreement under the US Tropical Forestry Conservation
Act --US Public Law 105-214, for Debt Reduction for Developing Countries with Tropical Forests--, to bind Sri
Lanka's forests for external debt. Under the provisions of this legislation, if a tropical country possesses at least
one globally important tropical forest, then that country may sign an agreement with the United States of America
to reduce the debts to the former. This may be achieved by debt buyback, by debt for nature swap or by loan

However, the key element in the TFCA is the concept of Tropical Forest Funds. These are intended to be
established, under the laws of the debtor country, as endowed trust funds to be managed in perpetuity. They
would make grants for the conservation, maintenance and restoration of tropical forests in the debtor country,
primarily to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) involved with environment, forestry, conservation and
indigenous peoples and other local or regional entities.

The rationale of the agreement is that it would ensure that resources would be allocated to the protection of the
forests --that would not otherwise have been so used--, by alleviating indebtedness. But the primary aim of the
TFCA is for the US Government to obtain control over the forest resources of tropical countries. It is unrealistic to
expect a foreign country such as the US to behave totally altruistically in managing Sri Lanka's forest resources.

One of the reasons for the TFCA is the protection of the plant and gene bank which is only available in tropical
forests, while one of the activities envisaged under the Tropical Forest Funds is research into the medicinal uses
of tropical forest plant life indicating that this issue was not far from the minds of US legislators. The US may,
therefore be expected to benefit fully from research into the plant and gene resources of Sri Lanka's forests, to
the detriment of the local population. US pharmaceutical companies are well known for getting patents for plant
based pharmaceuticals, sometimes of substances that have been in use for millennia.

Additionally, the TFCA may allow the US to maintain its high C02 emission levels. If the US were to eventually
ratify the Climate Change Convention's Kyoto Protocol, it could use the tropical forests that it declares to protect
as sinks under the Clean Development Mechanism to absorb its C02 emissions.

Under the TFCA, the forests would be managed by a committee comprising representatives from the US
government, international NGOs other than local representatives. But there are many threats of bringing
WRM BULLETIN 75                                                                                        October 2003

international NGOs to protect local resources. Some of them are infamous for biopiracy and some of them keep
biodiversity sites with military support, and their approach is removing people from the forest and buffer zones --
not a suitable option for Sri Lanka.

Therefore, the question of sovereignty remains the main issue. If the Government of Sri Lanka is unable to protect
its natural resources, then the state is no longer viable in that it cannot protect the interests of the country.
Furthermore, can the government sign such an agreement without any public consultation?

Article adapted from: “Tropical Forest Conservation Act and Ecological debt”, by Hemantha Withanage,
Environmental Scientist, published in The Island Newspaper, October 1, 2003, sent by the author, e-mail:


- Costa Rica: Oil extortion

The Government qualified as a joke the intention of the Harken Energy oil company to claim, through arbitration,
57,000 million dollars from the country. The company filed a request for arbitration with the International Centre
for Settlement of Investment Disputes – ICSID. This body is attached to the World Bank and has its headquarters
in Washington, USA.

The threat of the Harken Costa Rica Holdings oil company disappeared both quickly and surprisingly. This
happened precisely when wide discussions are going on in Costa Rica on the Free Trade Association of the
Americas with the United States and its influence and when the United States is insisting, time and time again, on
trade opening for two of its favourite businesses (telecommunications and energy/oil).

The announcement by the oil company that it will withdraw the claim may be part of its strategy to have a card up
its sleeve to negotiate with, as it “has given up one of its aspirations, that of international arbitration.” Now the
company is requesting compensation for some 15 million dollars for its work in Costa Rica. It will be very
interesting to know why when the company signed the Investment Plan with the previous government, the total
amount of the investment was US$2,980,000 and now they are talking of 15 million dollars. This leaves us with
some 12 million doubts. The first doubt is whether the company registered a lower amount of investment to pay
an environmental bond of 10% -- some 30 thousand dollars. The second doubt is where did those 12 million
dollars go? It would be very instructive to know who supplied those “advisory or consultancy services.”

For the OILWATCH-Costa Rica ecologists, this kind of story will become daily news, when transnational company
rights are strengthened by means of Free Trade Agreements. As declared by the Government, the company
made a breach of contract, as it did not manage to have the Environmental Impact Assessment approved. This
was a clause clearly set out in the contract.

Since we have started monitoring this company’s activity and track record, we have come to realize how
fraudulent this business is. The Harken Company has interests and concessions from Colombia to Belize,
crossing the Atlantic coast and wants to include Costa Rica in its geopolitical strategy of taking over a territory and
converting the region into part of its transnational business.

It is important to note that in the nineties, the current president of the United States, George W. Bush was a
member of Harken’s board of directors. According to reports in the New York Times and other US newspapers
published in 2002, while he was a member of the board of directors, serious irregularities were observed in the
accounting reports, the company’s assets were exaggerated, there were non-recorded earnings and taxes were
evaded. The result: both Bush and his associates pocketed millions of dollars.

WRM BULLETIN 75                                                                                       October 2003

Faithful to its tradition, in Costa Rica the company resorted to similar wheeling and dealing. Oilwatch has
observed that during the execution of the bid, the company made transfers from one company to another, it never
had an office in the country nor did it do any serious work for the submission of an adequate EIA.

The Action for Anti-Oil Struggles (Acción de Lucha Antipetrolera – ADELA) coalition, together with Oilwatch have
carried out a campaign for the past year pressing for revocation of the Hydrocarbon Law, in order to definitively
close the door on this type of threat to the country’s sovereignty and social and economic stability.

By: Mauricio Alvarez, Oilwatch-Costa Rica, e-mail: mauricio_alvarez_mora@hotmail.com


- Argentina: Victory of the Wichi community against logging company

The Hoktek T’oi community of the Wichi People (Province of Salta, Argentina) has just won a resounding victory
in the court action they brought against the Provincial government for the permit granted in 1996 by the
Environmental Secretariat to the Los Cordobeses S.A. company, for the deforestation of 1,838 hectares of the
community’s traditional territory (see WRM Bulletin 49).

Before the permit was granted, the Hoktek T’oi Community had contested it at administrative level. Three years
later, when the deforestation company requested an extension of the permit, the Community again contested it.

At legal level, the case was stubbornly upheld by the Wichi. Following rejection of their administrative action, in
1999 they lodged an Action for the Enforcement of Rights against the Provincial Environmental Secretariat. This
was rejected by three courts in the provincial context, and taken to the Supreme Court of the Nation. On 8
September 2003, the Supreme Court finally and in a strong and definitive manner, decided favourably on the

The Supreme Court sentenced that the Hoktek T’oi Community “had been ignored in the allegations it had made
regarding custody of its rights.” It also emphasized that the authorization and extension of the deforestation permit
were manifestly illegal as they had not respected the Indigenous rights set out in article 75, item 17 of the National
Constitution, nor had they respected the prior Environmental Impact Assessment, required by the legislation in
force. In this way, for the first time, the Supreme Court confirmed the Argentine State’s obligation to ensure “the
participation of Indigenous Peoples in the management of their natural resources and other interests affecting

Excerpt from the communiqué “Victoria Wichi” by the Hoktek T’oi Community, signed by Roque Miranda, José
Neri Ruiz and Marcos Elias, sent by John Palmer, e-mail: johnpalmer@fastmail.fm

- Ecuador: Sharing experiences against monoculture tree plantations

During the second half of September this year, the Ecuadorian NGO Acción Ecológica organized a national
meeting in Quito on the subject of “Plantations are not forests.” On 20 and 21 September, approximately 40
organizations representing Ecuadorian Indigenous movements, peasants, people of Afro-Ecuadorian descent,
NGOs and parliamentarians, together with representatives from Brazil, Chile and Uruguay analysed the issue of
plantations and exchanged experiences. The gathering took place in the framework of the on-going discussions in
Ecuador regarding the government’s forestation plan that may imply the promotion of large-scale monoculture
tree plantations in wide areas of the country.

Paulo Cesar Scarim, in representation of the Network Alert Against the Green Desert in Brazil, shared the
experience of struggles in resistance against the expansion in his country of what they call the “green desert” –
WRM BULLETIN 75                                                                                       October 2003

enormous expansions of commercial eucalyptus plantations. He visited communities in the Province of
Esmeraldas, a region that originally had abundant tropical forests and mangroves, and the communities of Muisne
and Daule, where companies – such as in the case of Eucapacific, a Japanese consortium that has bought up
much land for the plantation of eucalyptus – arrive with the promise of jobs in a jobless environment. However,
deforestation, settlement projects and more recently, shrimp farms and the plantations of oil palm, teak and
eucalyptus have left the region bereft of its original wealth. The result is that unemployment is rife and there is
increasing rural exodus towards the suburbs.

Sergio Alcaman, an Indigenous Mapuche delegate, shared experience from Chile with monoculture pine and
eucalyptus plantations, not only involving impacts on the soil, water and biodiversity, but also the appropriation of
wide areas of Mapuche territory by plantation companies during the Pinochet dictatorship. In spite of this,
Mapuche resistance increases day by day.

In turn, the representative of Uruguay (Ricardo Carrere, from the WRM Secretariat) told of the experience of his
country and of many other tropical and subtropical countries, where the social and environmental impacts of
monoculture tree plantations have given rise to struggles against them and, which, little by little are becoming
united on an international scale, thus widening and strengthening the opposition movement.

The meeting in Ecuador provided an opportunity for the exchange of experience among countries that already
have hundreds of thousands (Uruguay) or millions of hectares (Chile and Brazil) of monoculture tree plantations,
with a broad group of Ecuadorian organizations, where the area covered by plantations threatens to be increased.
Both in these and in other countries, it has been shown that homogeneous tree plantations for commercial
purposes end up in traditional communities losing land, a radical change in the economic and social structure of
the zone, deforestation and intensive land use and use of chemical products that destroy soils, rivers, mangroves
and the biodiversity of very rich tropical ecosystems.

It was also concluded that present world strategies such as certification, environmental services and wildlife
corridors, should be observed with caution to avoid falling into a trap.

Movements of resistance with diverse tactics and rhythms are arising everywhere and the solidarity and search
for the organization of resistance in its multiple stages, has led to various agendas and the prospects of working
as a network. With this aim, the Latin American Network against Monoculture Tree Plantations (Red
Latinoamericana contra los Monocultivos de Arboles – RECOMA) was created in January 2003. Accion
Ecologica, the Alert against the Green Desert Movement and WRM are all participants in this network. A few days
before, RECOMA had held a meeting in Cartagena, Colombia, in order to prepare common strategies to face the
threat of plantations. The exchange of experience during the Ecuadorian meeting is an important component of
these strategies and the positive assessment of this meeting augers the continuation of this type of exchange.

Article based on information from: Report by Paulo Cesar Scarim – Association of Brazilian Geographers- ES /
Red Alerta Contra el Desierto Verde, sent by the author, e-mail: pscarim@hotmail.com; with complementary
information by Ricardo Carrere.

- Uruguay-Argentina: Joint struggle against a pulp-mill

Like so many other countries in the South, Uruguay has been convinced (by FAO, the World Bank and the
Japanese International Cooperation Agency, among others) that it should promote large-scale tree plantations.
From the start, it was very clear that the objective was to produce sufficient raw material for pulp production and
for this reason, fundamentally, the plantation of eucalyptus was promoted.

The abundant direct and indirect subsidies that were channelled to the plantation sector (estimated at over 400
million dollars), had the expected result: over 600,000 hectares were planted. Now the time has come to start
harvesting the wood and the country has no plan for the development of the timber sector. It is in this context that
WRM BULLETIN 75                                                                                         October 2003

the Spanish National Cellulose Company (Empresa Nacional de Celulosa de España – ENCE) arrived with a
project for a pulp-mill to be installed on the River Uruguay and the Government has received it with open arms.

ENCE is not a new actor on the Uruguayan stage. The company installed itself in 1990 in Uruguay, purchasing
land and planting 50,000 hectares of eucalyptus to supply their pulp-mills in Spain, where in turn they have
100,000 hectares of eucalyptus. Their history is shady, both in Uruguay where it is registered as Eufores, and in
its country of origin.

In Spain it was taken to court for crimes against the environment after decades of contaminating the Ria de
Pontevedra. After many years, it was finally condemned and its executives sentenced to fines and prison
sentences. However, its environmental “legacy” is still being suffered by those who live near its three pulp-mills. It
is interesting to highlight that in Pontevedra (where there was and still is, greatest opposition to ENCE) it now
produces TCF (totally chlorine free) cellulose, while in Huelva and Navia it applies the ECF process (using
chlorine-dioxide). Of course, the process it intends using in Uruguay is not the cleanest, but the one using

In Uruguay, Eufores (ENCE) has never been fined or sentenced, not because of insufficient merit, but due to the
lack of controls, in particular regarding compliance with labour regulations. Those who work or who have worked
for Eufores tell terrible stories about the working conditions in force among the outsourcing companies that work
for the company.

With this background, it is not surprising that a movement has arisen to resist the installation of the pulp-mill, to be
located on the River Uruguay, up-river from the city of Fray Bentos, in the Department of Rio Negro. What is a
novelty is that the resistance movement is not limited to Uruguay, but also includes environmentalists from
Argentina, a country sharing the River Uruguay and that might therefore be affected by contamination from the

On 4 October, environmentalists from both countries carried out a joint action, originally to take place in the
middle of the international bridge joining both countries near Fray Bentos. The Uruguayan citizens were
prevented from crossing the bridge by the security forces, while on the Argentine side, only a small delegation
was authorized to cross (headed by the mayor of the neighbouring city of Gualeguaychú, Emilio Martinez
Garbino), preventing more than 800 people who had congregated there from taking part in the demonstration.

Once they had crossed the bridge, they joined the Uruguayan activists and all marched to Fray Bentos, where
mayor Martinez Garbino gave the mayor of Rio Negro, Francisco Centurion, the “Gualeguaychu Declaration,”
prepared by a citizen assembly of bodies from that city, stating their opposition to the installation of the pulp-mill.

The action became so notorious that the main Uruguayan governmental actors (from the Vice-President to the
Minister of Foreign Affairs) found themselves obliged to forestall criticism by appealing to the traditional “defence
of sovereignty” and “non-interference in internal affairs,· that are never applied when dealing with the United
States ambassador or the representatives of the International Monetary Fund. On the Argentine side, President
Nestor Kirchner entrusted his Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rafael Bielsa, with formally stating his concern to the
Uruguayan government over the possible contamination of a shared watercourse, which he did a few days later at
a meeting with the Uruguayan President, Jorge Batlle.

The commotion caused by the “crusade” opened up doors that hitherto had been closed to the Uruguayan
environmentalist movement. For the first time, radios, newspapers and even television newsreels gave citizens
the opportunity to be informed by the mass media of the reasons of those who oppose large-scale monoculture
tree plantations (and the associated pulp-mills) and who struggle for an environmentally healthy and socially just
country. The official schizophrenia caused by the “crusade” of a group of citizens from a sister country had the
opposite result from that sought: the mass media opened up on this so far silenced issue.

WRM BULLETIN 75                                                                                           October 2003

The crusade was a success and the struggle goes on. Environmentalists from both countries, grouped in the
Socio-Environmental Network since 2001 are now considering the implementation of further joint actions to
prevent the installation of the ENCE plant. While the governments talk about integration, the people have
effectively started to integrate.

Further information (in Spanish) is available at: http://www.wrm.org.uy/guayubira/mbopicua/index.html

- Venezuela: Government plan endangers the Imataca forest

The Imataca Forest Reserve’s native forest, located in the extreme east of the country, of imposing scenic beauty
and rich biological diversity, fulfils a fundamental role in soil and water protection – of the rivers Yuruan, Cuyuni,
Orinoco, Brazo Imataca, Rio Grande, Botanamo, Barima, Orocaima – and is a cultural and sacred reserve for the
Indigenous Peoples.

Imataca covers an area of 38,219 square kilometres, of which over three million hectares, that is to say 80% of its
surface, are rainforests. Six out of each ten square metres of the territory are legally under some kind of
environmental protection, but will now be affected by the Bill on the Imataca Land Planning and Use Regulation,
prepared by the Ministry of the Environment.

According to the authorities, this plan limits mining activities up to (a maximum of) 11% of the area, against 38%
foreseen in the previous 1997 decree. However, its critics argue that it is a frontal legalization of mining,
authorizing prospecting, exploration, exploitation, processing, transformation and transportation of metallic and
non-metallic minerals in a zone that – due to its extreme ecological fragility and low regeneration capacity – once
intervened will be placed in the category of “forests in danger of disappearing.” Alexander Luzardo of the College
of Sociologists, considers that this new regulation will affect the “right of Venezuelan society to preserve its forests
in pristine conditions perpetually,” with a higher value to future generations than the immediate economic benefit.

The Final Report for Land Planning of the Imataca Forest Reserve, carried out by the Institute of Tropical Zoology
of the Central University of Venezuela and the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources, recognized in
December 2002 that “forestry and mining produce impacts on soils, water, the micro-climate, vegetation, fauna,
human communities and biological diversity in general.”

Furthermore, the water-forest relationship is indivisible and the deforestation inevitably accompanying mining,
interrupts protection of water and its continuous flow. This protection is vital for the future of life on the planet.

The ecologist organization Amigransa is demanding President Chavez to enforce the commitments taken on
during his electoral campaign, when he publicly stated that if to remove gold, the forests had to be done away
with, then they would keep the forests. This organization submits the following points:

1) Ratification of the Global Vision of the Bill for Land Planning and Regulation of Use of the Imataca Forest

2) To propose that the Ministry of the Environment should designate a considerable area of the Imataca Forests
as Imataca National Park.

3) To request that mining use should be excluded from the Plan for Land Planning and Regulation of Use of the
Imataca Forest Reserve.

4) To request that Imataca should be free of mining centres and that areas that have been degraded by mining
should be rehabilitated. Mining concessions and/or contracts should be rescinded and the granting of new
concessions and mining infrastructure in Imataca should be prohibited.

WRM BULLETIN 75                                                                                        October 2003

5) To request a moratorium on forestry exploitation in Imataca.

6) To exhort the Ministry of the Environment to promote with time, a broad national discussion, with real
interactive participation.

7) To exhort the government to conclude the Demarcation of the Habitat and Land of the Indigenous Peoples,
prior to any land planning and allocation of uses in Imataca.

Amigransa states that the sustainable development of the country must be seen as an overall issue and not as a
harnessing of isolated resources, asking: “do we need to destroy the Imataca forests in order to survive?” “Would
it not be better to leave this extractive profit-making policy behind once and for all, as with this Plan Imataca would
be subject to savage mining and forestry exploitation? The handing over of this Territory covering nearly 4 million
hectares to national and transnational logging and mining companies, warrants a broader national discussion,
active and protagonist participation, much analysis regarding the kind of development we want, how we want it
and where we want it.”

Article based on information from “La reserva forestal de Imataca. Un bosque insustituible en peligro de
desaparecer,” declaration by the Sociedad de Amigos en Defensa de la Gran Sabana-AMIGRANSA, 16 October
2003, sent by Amigransa, e-mail: amigransa@cantv.net ; “Abrirán reserva a explotación minera”, Humberto
Márquez, IPS, published in Tierra América, http://www.tierramerica.net/2003/1018/acentos.shtml


- Australia: A testimony of the loss of forests to Eucalyptus plantations and much more

My family's individual struggle and victimisation is typical of what is happening across the populated and high-
rainfall areas of rural Australia. In 1984 we moved to North West Tasmania and chose a relatively isolated area to
live --one that was away from farms that used chemicals and where the stands of native bush were extensive and

All that changed in the mid 1990s when the State and Federal Governments pushed the Regional Forest
“Agreement” and the Plantations 2020 Vision onto ordinary citizens. The native forest was largely destroyed as a
result and it was replaced by a huge monoculture tree plantation using an exotic [to Tasmania] species of
Eucalyptus called 'Nitens'.

In 1997 we woke stunned to hear a bulldozer clearing the native trees only 60 feet away from our house. The loss
of the trees we had loved threw us into shock and grief. But there was more to come.

The foreman from Forest Enterprises (a company that had just purchased the block of land next door) informed
us that they would be aerial spraying Simazine mixed with other herbicides about 100 feet away from our house
and almost over the top of a nearby creek.

We simply didn't believe that the State Government would allow such abuse of pesticides. So, I got onto the
phone and confidently spoke with the Spray Complaints Unit. To our dismay we were told that the Code of
Practice for Aerial Spraying did NOT ban such blatant negligence! It became clear in a short period of time that
the bureaucracies were almost entirely disinterested in the situation. So, I moved my pleas for help onto the

To make a long story short it took about a hundred phone calls and a similar number of emails before some small
changes were made to the herbicide application plans of the forest company. This issue had to be debated in
parliament even though negotiations were limited to one single forest coupe! That is, the forest companies were
(and continue to be) allowed to repeat negligent pesticide applications across the entire State.
WRM BULLETIN 75                                                                                      October 2003

Whether changes (adequate or otherwise) are made to protect water supplies relies entirely upon the degree of
effort and/or skill at politicking that comes from a neighbour or a local community.

Might it not have been for the fact that residential drinking water tanks were (accidentally) found to be ALREADY
contaminated with Simazine then the aerial application in the next paddock might have taken place after all. As it
turned out glyphosate was applied in the swamp surrounding our household dam and Simazine in ground turned
into a bog by heavy machinery only 10 metres from a creek in front of our house.

Currently agricultural and forestry enterprises are allowed to aerial spray residual and dangerous pesticides (and
mixtures thereof) to heights of 100 feet to 200 feet up in Tasmania (!). This often happens in the middle of
summer when the levels of water in our rainwater tanks is minimal. Residents are not provided with any form of

The extensive Nitens Eucalypt monoculture has caused widespread beetle attack and so the forest corporations
don't think twice about spraying Cypermethrin and other similar pesticides well above the tree canopies on a
regular basis.

Simazine and other triazine herbicides are routinely used in both ground and aerial applications. They are
routinely applied in wet areas across the state… in catchments where the ground is heavily disturbed and where
creeks are subject to illegal bulldozer crossings.

The mood of residents has changed notably from concern about what is happening to outright ANGER. We are
now seeking ways to sue bureaucrats and politicians for threatening our lives --for allowing murder and assault
through the use of pesticides.

We no longer trust bureaucrats from the Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment nor, of course,
the Forestry Department. They both have a clear conflict of interest in its role of both promoting and instructing on
the use of pesticides and regulating them at the same time. They have a long record of negligence and outright
antagonism when it comes to protecting human health and the environment. We want access to funds to organise
our own INDEPENDENT testing. Will the APVMA (Australian Pesticides & Veterinary Medicines Authority)
provide this money?

The Federal Department of Environment has advised that they cannot force the State Government to police the
application of pesticides. What good is the AVPMA then??? Are you just a PR exercise?

Excerpts from the letter by Brenda J. Rosser, E-mail: shelter@tassie.net.au , Spokesperson of the Tasmanian
Clean Water Network, and the Waratah-Wynyard Residents Against Chemical Trespass, sent to David Loschke,
Pesticides Division, commenting the AVPMA’s draft document on spray drift.


- Women react to a male-dominated World Forestry Congress

As we said in our last bulletin “the winds of change blow with increasing strength”. One of such winds was felt at
the meeting of the “Network for Women in Natural Resources Management”, held during the last World Forestry
Congress (WFC) in Quebec last September. For the first time in this kind of event a group of women with a
diversity of interests gathered together to share their views on gender issues.

Personal interest on women’s issues and networking, the urgency to bring gender and equity agenda to the WFC,
design projects with focus on women’s causes and to see an equity agenda in forestry, among others were some
of the issues expressed by the participants as the main interest to be part of the group. It was pointed out that in

WRM BULLETIN 75                                                                                       October 2003

forestry organizations all over the world, women are marginalized, fact that is also reflected in the organization of
the WFC.

Interest for this Network to include women as professionals, women as foresters and women as forest users was
discussed. There was an agreement that the Network could serve as a large umbrella under which these and
more specific interest groups could be formed and that it should remain as inclusive as possible.

The following statement was read at the Open Forum and presented to the Policy and Drafting Committees of the
WFC so as to ensure women voices were heard in a formal manner:

“We are deeply concerned with the neglect of gender issues formally addressed within the international forest
community in general and in this WFC in particular. Though references to women's roles and gender issues have
surfaced in some plenary statements, theme sessions, side events and ecoregional roundtable discussions, they
have not been sufficiently incorporated into the summary statements, and are still ad hoc contributions to the
WFC. We were particularly disappointed that Women were not recognised as a stakeholder group during the
plenary session as others for youth, indigenous peoples, forest communities, workers and industries. This is not in
keeping with FAO’s commitments to the Sustainable and Agricultural Rural Development (SARD) Initiative of the
Summit on Sustainable Development that recognises women as one of the 9 Major Groups.


We propose that the 13th WFC have gender issues integrated and considered in all aspects related to decision
making, programs, participant selection and support, etc.

We propose that we, the women and men participants of this side event and others sharing similar concerns,
have a special session to contribute our perspectives on gender within cultural, social, economic and political
aspects of forestry within future WFCs and other forest-related fora.

We propose that women who represent groups of women be in decision making positions of the Policy and
Drafting Committees of the next WFC.

We propose that funds be solicited to increase the participation of women from developing countries and others in

We propose that funds be solicited for facilitation and translation services for women to hold a forum preceeding
the WFC, as was done for the Youth Forum.

We propose that women who can represent both forest users and forestry professionals are provided with a
formal space within the WFC, as was provided to Youth, Indigenous Peoples, Forest Workers, and Local Forest

The WRM fully supports the above demands and believes that the gender issue has not been incorporated fully to
the forest debate. Although differentiated impacts of deforestation on women have been well documented –
particularly in Asia- as well as the differentiated roles that women play regarding forest conservation and use,
neither forest campaigners nor women's networks have sufficiently incorporated the issue to their research,
campaigning and lobbying agendas. The creation of this network must therefore be perceived as a positive step in
the right direction.

Article based on information from: Notes prepared by Jeannette D. Gurung, Coordinator of the Network for
Women in NRM, e-mail: jeannettegurung@yahoo.com

WRM BULLETIN 75                                                                                          October 2003

- The Vth World Parks Congress: Parks for People or Parks for Business?

Just prior to the Vth World Parks Congress, a consortium of mining, oil and gas companies announced that they
would accept that all World Heritage Sites were off limits to further exploitation. However, during the Congress,
representatives of the extractive industries could not be persuaded to accept the Amman Recommendation
passed by the World Conservation Congress in Amman in 2000, which called for an end to oil, mining and gas
extraction from all protected areas in IUCN categories I, II, III and IV (‘strict nature reserves’, ‘wilderness areas’,
‘national parks’, ‘natural monuments’ and ‘habitat management areas’).

Controversy over the relationship between extractive industries and protected areas has rumbled on since that
date. The IUCN Secretariat announced in the context of the World Summit on Sustainable Development that it
was developing a new ‘partnership’ with the extractive industries. The language had to be toned down and the
IUCN now speaks of being engaged in a ‘dialogue’ with the industries. Critics have condemned the ‘dialogue’ as a
betrayal of conservation standards, which just serves the companies to rehabilitate their dirty image, tarnished by
a trail of oil leaks, tanker wrecks, tailings dam bursts, cyanide and mercury spills, ruined landscapes, despoiled
river systems, toxic waste dumps, polluted ecosystems, violated human rights and shattered livelihoods.

Among the most outspoken critics of industry at the Congress were indigenous peoples. About 150
representatives of indigenous peoples from over 60 countries attended the Congress to press for a recognition of
their rights. Their strong presence was notably effective and influenced all the main outcomes from the Congress.
The ‘Durban Accord’, the consensus document of the whole Congress, announces that the World Parks Congress
has accepted a ‘new paradigm’ for protected areas ‘integrating them equitably with the interests of all affected

The Accord celebrates the conservation successes of indigenous peoples. It expresses concern at the lack of
recognition, protection and respect given to these efforts. It notes that the costs of protected areas are often borne
by local communities. It urges commitment to involve indigenous peoples in establishing and managing protected
areas and participate in decision-making on a fair and equitable basis in full respect of their human and social
rights. The Accord calls on all countries to ‘strictly eliminate resettlement of indigenous peoples and local
communities and the involuntary sedentarisation of mobile indigenous peoples without prior, informed consent.’
The Accord also calls for the creation of ‘trans-boundary protected areas for communities separated by national
borders, including corridors of connectivity for mobile indigenous peoples who have traditionally migrated across
borders.’ National authorities are encouraged to carry out ‘reviews of conservation initiatives including innovative
and traditional/customary governance types…’ Likewise protected area authorities are encouraged to ‘promote
the conditions and ensure the means for the effective engagement of Indigenous Peoples, local communities and
other local stakeholders in conservation. The focus of attention should be on building the capacity of communities
to engage effectively.’

Notwithstanding these important and progressive gains, it was money that remained a dominating sub-theme
during the Congress.

The Congress reiterated the perennial call, echoing statements at the Rio Summit and WSSD, for industrialized
countries to provide ‘substantial new and additional financial resources’ to developing countries to help cover the
costs of conservation. But, as if knowing that this approach was unlikely to leverage more than a minimal amount
of extra funds, the Congress also advocated the development of market mechanisms to pay for the recurrent
costs of protected area management. For example, a study presented by the WWF and IUCN demonstrated that
protected areas contribute water to a very large number of the world’s cities and hydropower stations and
proposed that a portion of fees paid for this water and electricity should be used to cover the parks’ costs. To
institutionalise this approach, the Congress proposed that the World Bank’s ‘Global Environment Facility’ and
governments should develop ‘collaborative partnerships with the private sector’ as an alternative way of securing
funding for parks. For many, eco-tourism remains the great white hope for achieving the holy grail of financial

WRM BULLETIN 75                                                                                     October 2003

One side-event at the Congress, held in the luxurious surroundings of the Durban Hilton --doubtfully a model of
sustainable development-- examined ways of promoting responsible tourism and certifying its sustainability. Yet
sceptics were left wondering if making future conservation dependent on the disposable income of the world’s
globe-trotting consumerist elite was not self-defeating --like sawing off the branch on which you are sitting.

Indigenous peoples also expressed misgivings about this approach. In the final plenary, Jannie Lasimbang of the
Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact, told the Congress that: ‘Much of this Congress has been focused on the challenge
of financing the costs of establishing and managing protected areas. Protected areas have been made into big
business and the danger is that this business is both unsustainable and may further marginalize us, indigenous
peoples. Moreover, our experience on the ground is that much of this money is wasted. Funds would be better
spent protecting our rights and involving us directly rather than relying on outside agencies often from overseas.’
She also criticised the way tourism increasingly relies on exotic images of indigenous peoples as lures to draw in
the curious. ‘The use of the image of our cultures as folklore, or as merchandising, hurts and degrades us.
Sometimes our ancestors’ culture is undermined while the living indigenous peoples are marginalized and
impoverished. These attitudes do not help to revalidate our millennial cultures.’

By: Marcus Colchester, Forest Peoples Programme, e-mail: marcus@fppwrm.gn.apc.org . Excerpted from an
article that will appear in the November 2003 Multinational Monitor, http://www.multinationalmonitor.org


To top