2/ Who decides that these natural resources should be harvested in return for hard currency? Often it is not the countries that are home to those
natural resources but the World Bank who acts on behalf of developed countries that have given loans.
"12 February 2004 - The Rainforest Foundation - together with hundreds of Congolese environmental, development and human rights organisations - today
called on the World Bank to halt projects that would lead to a massive expansion of the logging in industry in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Foundation and local organisations believe that plans for the development of Congo's forests being developed by the World Bank and UN FAO for the
"development" of DRC’s forests would have “major repercussions for the rights and livelihoods of millions of Congolese citizens, with serious and
irreversible impacts” on the forest environment."
Far from cutting down trees for their own selfish interests many developing nations are forced by the World Bank to harvest natural resources to repay
Loan repayment in developing countries take up a significant percentage of GDP.This means that western countries have to give aid while natural
resources are raped to repay long term debts and the interest on those debts.
Most observers today recognise that if western countries really do want to help save the enviroment and reduce poverty in the third world then wiping
the debts of the poorest countries is the most effective way of doing so.The present system where by developing countries are kept in perpetual
poverty,forced to repay loans,yet only given just enough aid to keep their people from starving is not even a solution.It just allows Western
countries to perpetuate the status quo,a kind of economic imperialism.
Add to this present situation the proposition supported by ILP and you can see just how unworkable it really is.
If debts were wiped for the poorest nations and aid and investment targeted to create sustainable ways of living and food production then after a
short time those countries would no longer require aid from developed countries nor would they have any reason to harvest the natural resources thus
helping to save the enviroment for the entire world.
I'm reminded of an old advertisment from Oxfam.
If you give a man a fish you'll feed his family for a day.If you give him a fishing net he can feed his family for years.
If you give a man a loaf of bread he can feed his family for a day if you give him the grain and the tools he can feed his family for years.
This is what I mean by sustainable investment.Rather than keeping nations in poverty through loan repayments and giving them enough food to keep alive
on a week to week basis it would be better to wipe the loans and give the people the oportunity to safeguard their own future.
In the long term this will save money as aid will not have to be paid except in emergencies and it will help protect the enviroment.
While this proposition,making aid a condition of enviromental protection,will just make this present situation even more hypocritical than it already