Title:   WRM BULLETIN 40, NOVEMBER 2000
Source:  WORLD RAINFOREST MOVEMENT
  MOVIMIENTO MUNDIAL POR LOS BOSQUES
  International Secretariat              
  Maldonado 1858, CP 11200     
  Montevideo                                      
  Uruguay
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  Fax +598 2 408 0762                    
  E-mail: wrm@wrm.org.uy                            
  Web page: http://www.wrm.org.uy         
Date:  November 27, 2000  
 
In this issue:
 
* OUR VIEWPOINT
 
- Those who did not "work it out" in The Hague
 
* LOCAL STRUGGLES AND NEWS
 
AFRICA
 
- Gabon: The new Forestry Law and transnational companies
- Kenya: Local peoples' land rights ignored
- Nigeria: Shell's choice between profits and principles
- Tanzania: Impasse on commercial shrimp farming at Rufiji Delta
mangroves
 
ASIA
 
- India: Mining and plantations put National Park at risk
- Laos: Subsidies for Swedish profits in the forestry sector
- Malaysia: Campaign against plantation and pulp mill project in
Sabah
- Malaysia: Where is Bruno Manser?
- Thailand: A diversity-based community forest management system
 
CENTRAL AMERICA
 
- Guatemala: Community forest concession initiative at Peten
questioned
 
SOUTH AMERICA
 
- Argentina: A shady carbon sink project
- Brazil: Aracruz caught red handed destroying native forests
- Chile: Wine production threatened by pulp mill project  
- Weyerhaeuser's president promotes plantations in Guyana
 
OCEANIA
 
- Australia: Woodchipping old growth forests for "renewable energy"
- Aotearoa/New Zealand: Logging company's dirty tricks revealed
 
* GENERAL
 
- Concerns over the revision of the World Bank's Indigenous Peoples
policy
- Films on forests and plantations receive award
 
***********************************************************
* OUR VIEWPOINT
************************************************************
 
- Those who did not "work it out" in The Hague
 
The Sixth Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Climate
Change is finally over and nothing much appears to have been achieved
to address global warming. This doesn't come as a surprise, given
that the majority of government delegates -- with a few exceptions --
focused more on how to obtain profits for their countries and
corporations from the new carbon trade than on finding true solutions
to the looming climate disaster.
 
In fact, the conference was more like a weekend bazar than a United
Nations meeting. A new generation of carbon brokers was out in force,
adding their voices to more traditional "business NGOs" composed of
oil corporations and other major polluters of the atmosphere. The
nuclear energy lobby was also prominent in the event, trying to sell
its "clean energy" as a solution to climate change.
 
Unfortunately, other, more respected actors, including environmental
non-governmental organizations, were also laying out their wares in
this marketplace, trying to sell forests and plantations as "emission
cuts" or "carbon sink mechanisms". This generated some divisions
among NGOs and Indigenous Peoples' Organizations, which weakened the
position of those truly interested in addressing climate change.
Southern governments, too, were divided on various issues,
particularly the so-called Clean Development Mechanism.
 
The atmosphere was much more humane outside the conference centre. A
demonstration organized by Friends of the Earth, for example, was a
huge success. People from all over the world joined forces to pile up
sandbags to form an enormous dyke in front of the conference centre.
Although the dyke was originally conceived as a symbol of the rising
waters which will come with global warming, it could also be
perceived as a dyke to protect the world from the decisions -- of the
lack thereof -- being taken inside the building.
 
And that was precisely the main problem: the lack of political will
to begin to do what everyone knows needs to be done. Or rather, too
much political will from the large corporations which dominate
politics in the US, Canada, Australia, Japan and other industrialized
countries, together with their armies of technocrats and tame civil
servants. Thus French President Chirac's statement criticizing the
trend of the negotiations was a welcome surprise. Among other things,
he stated that since 1992, Parties had fallen too far behind in
taking actions to combat climate change, and cautioned against
further delays. Furthermore, he highlighted that the US
produces a quarter of the world's emissions, and that the per capita
US levels of emissions are three times higher than those of France.
He called on the US to join other industrialized nations in making a
successful transition to an energy-efficient economy. He said the EU
had a duty to set an example by developing more economical forms of
consumption and production in terms of natural resources.
 
The US delegates were obviously not at all happy to hear this. Nor
did they like Chirac's support for an effective, equitable agreement
that leaves room for future development, an independent and impartial
compliance mechanism, effective cuts by Northern countries in their
emissions, and assistance for the most vulnerable countries to adapt
to the consequences of climate change. Noting that each country has a
duty to build structures that cut its own emissions to a minimum on a
sustainable basis, Chirac emphasized that setting up projects to
reduce emissions in other countries should not be seen as a means to
escape domestic measures. He called for a prudent approach to using
carbon sinks to alleviate climate change, and said that the ultimate
aim should be the convergence of per capita emissions.
 
Chirac's speech, however, was but a short parenthesis punctuating
closed-door dealings aimed at undermining everything he called for.
Emission cuts were never truly on the table. Neither was energy
efficiency or renewables. Even less so equity and justice. Corporate
lobbyists did their job well and visions of short-term financial
gains for a few elites clouded the brains of many Southern delegates,
whose countries and peoples will suffer most from climate change.
Obtaining a few dollars from prominent polluters for forest and
plantation projects was the aim of many -- never mind whether such
schemes were effective or not in slowing global warming. The US and
Japan, meanwhile, got their money's worth from these offers of bribes
in the form of support for some of their positions.
 
"Work it out!" was the official slogan of The Hague Conference. A
simple but meaningful slogan for anyone willing to understand and do
something -- but apparently meaningless to most of the government
delegates present at The Hague. Future generations confronted with
climate change will remember them as those who did NOT work it out.
 
(*) Quotations from Jacques Chirac's statement downloaded from the
Earth Negotiations Bulletin
 
************************************************************
* LOCAL STRUGGLES AND NEWS
************************************************************
 
AFRICA
 
- Gabon: The new Forestry Law and transnational companies
 
The draft Forestry Law being discussed by the Gabonese Parliament
encourages the industrialization of wood within the country.
According to the Ministry for Waters and Forests, the new law will
establish more strict rules concerning the exploitation of the
country's forests. Concessions to private companies will be granted
for a longer period of time, allegedly to favour the regeneration of
the forest. The government elected in December 1998 argues that its
policy tries to conciliate the interests of different agents
involved, with the aim of protecting the forests, and at the same
time diversifying its products. The Gabonese forestry sector has
until now strongly relied on the export of a single product: okoume
roundwood.
 
Even though this initiative, which tends to the diversification of
the country's economy, can be considered positive from a
macroeconomic point of view, capital questions remain unsolved. One
of them is that of public control over the use of natural resources.
In Gabon, as well as in other African countries, due to institutional
structural constraints protection norms are poorly implemented and
enforced. Does the new legislation create financial mechanisms to
ensure that the companies' operations are effectively controlled on
the ground?
 
The second relevant point is that of the so-called "stakeholders".
While transnational logging companies, responsible for the
destruction of tropical forests in the country, remain the most
important actors, forest dwelling peoples continue to be ignored.
Alternatives such as community forest management and locally-based
processing facilities are not taken into account. Additionally, the
new law appears to benefit specially --if not solely-- large logging
companies. In fact Societe Forestiere des Bois Tranches, Leroy Gabon,
Thanry, Groupe Rougier, Societe de Grumes de la Ngounie and other
important companies will be granted concessions for even longer
periods, and will almost certainly be the ones industrializing
roundwood, thus reaping the benefits of added value to the product.
 
In the context of an economy heavily dependent on the exploitation of
natural resources, massive foreign debt, and weak organization of
rural communities and civil society, the colonial vision prevails of
the forest as a mere source of wood managed and exploited by foreign
private companies. The new Forestry Law does not seem to help to
revert this situation.
 
Article based on information from: "Vers l'adoption d'une nouvelle
loi forestiere", Panafrican News Agency, November 3, 2000; "Slave and
Enclave. The Political Ecology of Equatorial Africa", Marcus
Colchester, WRM, 1994.
************************************************************
 
- Kenya: Local peoples' land rights ignored
 
Even though indigenous peoples and rural communities are the ones
directly bearing the brunt of the destruction of rainforests by
intruders, most national governments portray them as squatters and
responsible for the destruction of the forest and the extinction of
wildlife, and threaten them with eviction or undertake direct actions
to expel them from their homeland. This kind of abuse is often linked
to forest concessions awarded to logging companies --which
constitutes an absurd paradox if the aim of the authorities were to
protect the forest-- or the declared intention of protecting
endangered species, considering that nature conservation is only
possible in the absence of human beings. Both types of abuses are
happening in Kenya and the following are two such examples.
 
The Ogiek --a hunter-gatherer and harvester of honey people, dwelling
since time immemorial in the Mau Forest and adjacent areas-- have
once again been menaced by the authorities in order to force them to
abandon their ancestral lands. In 1991 the state partially recognized
their territorial rights to a portion of the Tinet forests, but this
did not result in an improvement in their situation. Nowadays the
Ogiek --numbering some 5000 people-- have been pushed into the last
Forest Belt of the former Mighty Mau and Mt. Elgon Forests. This is
the consequence of a process started in colonial times and continued
after the country's independence until the present time.
 
The successive governments have systematically ignored the Ogiek's
ancestral land rights, and allocated large areas of former forest
lands to the ruling elites. Additionally, part of the remaining
forest has been granted to logging companies, which would lead to
their quick destruction. Even though Kenya ratified several
international treaties related to the protection of the rights of
indigenous peoples --like the International Covenant on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights-- they have not been respected when concrete
policies are formulated and implemented.
 
A second example of abuse over land rights is related to
conservation. A plan to be implemented by the Kenya Wildlife Service
in the Tana River District in Coast Province --with financial support
from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF)-- to protect the red-
capped manabey, an endangered monkey species, is being resisted by
residents of Ngao and Ndera locations. The official promise to
compensate land owners has divided the local residents into two
groups: one of them accepts to move from their farms along the river,
while the other vows to stay, arguing that money cannot compensate
for the loss of their land and the dramatic change in their
lifestyle. In fact people are proposed to move to the semi-arid
plains of Ozi and Kipini where there are no rivers.
 
Molu Shambaro, a local leader and member of Parliament for the
district, who is opposed to the eviction, has expressed that local
dwellers' rights have to be respected, and has proposed that the
wildlife service involves local people in their campaign to conserve
the Tana River mangabey instead of forcing them to leave their lands.
Shambaro asserted that if local people get involved, wildlife
conservation and traditional lifestyle in the area will become
compatible. He also accused both the government body and its GEF
counterpart of corruption, which is considered to be the main reason
for the failure of conservation projects in the country.
 
Article based on information from: International Network of Forests
and Communities, 27/10/2000, e-mail:
network@forestsandcommunities.org ;
http://www.forestsandcommunities.org ; Thousands Face Eviction to
Conserve Kenya's Tana River Mangabey, by Naftali Mungai,
http://ens-news.com/ens/oct2000/2000L-10-20-01.html
************************************************************
 
- Nigeria: Shell's choice between profits and principles
 
Shell is continuing its clever misleading propaganda orchestrated
through advertisements circulating in the most influencial press
media of the North, in order to revamp its tarnished image and
convince public opinion that it is an environmentally friendly
company. The campaign "Profits and Principles: Is there a choice?" is
based on beautiful photographs of wild animals, lush forests, and
tender faces of African people accompanied by texts like: "Time and
again at Shell we're discovering the rewards of respecting the
environment when doing business". "If we're exploring for oil and gas
reserves in environmental sensitive regions, we consult widely with
the different local and global interest groups to ensure than
biodiversity in each location is preserved." "At Shell we are
committed to support fundamental human rights. We invest in the
communities around us to create new opportunities and growths."
 
Nevertheless in the Niger Delta reality could not be more far away
from the self image the company is making efforts to show. Since
1958, when Shell arrived to the region a nightmare began for the
Ogoni, an indigenous nation of about 500,000 people living in the
area. Counting on the support of successive governments Shell took
hold of Ogoniland. As in other parts of the world where oil is
exploited, the result has been high unemployment and poverty rates,
environmental devastation and loss of livelihoods for the local
people. Repression has been brutal. About 80,000 people had their
villages destroyed and about 2,000 were killed by the state armed
corps. Last November 10th marked the 5th anniversary of the murder of
the environmental leaders Ken Saro Wiwa, Barinem Kiobel,  John
Kpuinen, Saturday Dorbee,  Paul Levura, Nordu Eawo,  Felix Nuate, 
Daniel Gboko and Baribor Bera. Their "crime" was to fight for the
rights of their people against abuses commited by Shell and the
Nigerian military government that was backing it.
 
In 1993 the Ogoni declared Shell "persona non grata" and got it out
of their lands. But after an absence of seven years the company is
menacing to return to Ogoniland. In April this year the announcement
was made that the only aim of Shell was to remove its remaining
facilities, which were causing environmental problems in the area due
to the emission of poisonous gases and uncontrolled leaking.
Nonetheless in October Shell admitted that its real intentions were
to reactivate its 125 oil wells in the region. If this happens
violence, collusion and misery will increase. It is clear that Shell
has got an answer to the question of whether there is a choice
between profits and principles. The answer is yes and the choice is
profits.
 
Article based on information from:  "Some things never change" by
Andy Rowell and Owens Wiwa, The Guardian, 8/11/2000; "Greenwash
Award: Shell. Clouding the Issue" by Kenny Bruno, 15/11/2000
( http://www.corpwatch.org/greenwash/shell.html ); MOSOP Ogoni,
17/11/2000, e-mail: mosopgb@hotmail.com
 
(The full text of the memorial message from Ms. Gbenewa Phido,
President of MOSOP-UK on 11/11/2000 to mark the 5th memorial
anniversary of the murder of Ken Saro Wiwa and other Ogoni leaders,
has been included in our web site under: Information by
country/Nigeria. Previous articles published in our Bulletin about
the struggle of the peoples of the Niger Delta are available in the
same site)
************************************************************
 
- Tanzania: Impasse on commercial shrimp farming at Rufiji Delta
mangroves
 
The Rufiji Delta in South Eastern Tanzania holds some 53,255 hectares
of unspoiled mangrove forest. These mangroves are not only a key
element for the environment in the region by stabilising the
coastline, building land through accumulation of silt and the
production of detritus, preserving the quality of water, and serving
as windbreaks for the hinterland, but also constitutes the source of
livelihoods for thousands of people living there (see WRM Bulletin
12).
 
In April 1999, Tanzanian NGOs were able to secure an interim order
staying plans of the African Fishing Company's 10,000 hectare shrimp
farm project at Rufiji Delta. Would the project have been
implemented, one third of the whole Rufiji Delta would have ended up
in the hands of the company for a period of no less than ten years,
thus threatening the livelihoods of thousands of local farmers and
fisherfolk living in the delta, and causing severe environmental
impacts that would have put at risk the future of the region.
 
The panel of three judges chosen to hear and dictate on the case
disintegrated when one of its members retired and another one was
transferred. The case has not yet been assigned to another panel and
it appears that at present there are not enough judges to constitute
a new one. In the meantime, the company is said to be facing severe
financial constraints which would have even forced it to sell part of
its assets. Although the situation is not yet clear, it seems that
the efforts carried out by concerned citizens and organizations have
managed to save --at least for the time being-- the mangroves and
local peoples' livelihoods.
 
Article based on information from: Late Friday News, 71st Edition,
October 2000; e-mail: mangroveap@olympus.net
************************************************************
 
ASIA
 
- India: Mining and plantations put National Park at risk
 
The temporary work permit given to the Kudremukh Iron Ore Company
(KIOCL) to continue the extraction of iron in the Kudremukh National
Park, located in the Western Ghats region of the state of Karnataka,
has given place to severe criticism from national and international
environmental NGOs, which had been putting pressure on the
authorities for the company's request to be denied.
 
KIOCL has been operating in the Aroli and Malleshwara regions of
Kudremukh National Park, under a 30-year lease, which expired in July
1999. Since then, the company has been lobbying to obtain a 20-year
extension on the lease, but it has only been granted two successive
year long temporary permits.
 
Impacts of mining in the area are apparent. A report of the Indian
NGO Environment Support Group (ESG) proves that many fish varieties
have disappeared due to pollution, and points out that farmers
complain about the decline in agricultural productivity downstream
due to deposition of mine tailings. River pollution has provoked an
increase in cases of disease among villagers. In 1987 a 67 metre long
slurry pipeline broke and its leakage reached the Yennehole River,
which led to severe environmental damage.
 
The only action supposedly undertaken by KIOCL to mitigate the
impacts on forests and rivers in the area has been to plant alien
trees! The company adduces having implemented a "reforestation"
programme by planting 7.5 million acacia, eucalyptus and other alien
tree species. If such claims were true it would make things even
worse, since the substitution of a portion of forest by a plantation
prevents the regeneration of the secondary forest, thereby
impoverishing the environment. Both mining and plantations are a
direct cause of deforestation. Nevertheless that of Kudremukh
constitutes a particular case where both activities combine to
destroy the forest.
 
At present the State Government has ordered an environmental impact
study be undertaken before an extension on the lease is granted.
However, this is not seen as a sufficient guarantee by local
environmentalists. Leo Saldanha from the Environment Support Group
says: "I sincerely believe that a systematic public campaign is the
most appropriate option to ensure mining ends in Kudremukh. Nothing
like the people's will to bend a government that is intent on
violating public commitments and the law."
 
Article based on information from: Drillbits & Tailings; 18/8/2000.
Volume 5, Number 13
************************************************************
 
- Laos: Subsidies for Swedish profits in the forestry sector
 
On 7th November 2000 the formal opening of a US$2.9 million
laminated-wood processing factory took place at Nabong Farm, 30
kilometres from Vientiane, the capital of Lao PDR. The factory will
initially sell timber pallets to IKEA, the Swedish retailing giant,
and in future will produce furniture under the trademark Vicwood.
Financing came from a series of loans --US$550,000 from IKEA,
US$800,000 from the International Finance Corporation, the private
sector arm of the World Bank, and US$300,000 from Swedfund, the
Swedish IFC counterpart. The timber will come from Burapha's
1,200 hectares of Eucalyptus camaldulensis plantations, and from the
Asian Development Bank's Industrial Tree Plantations project, which
aims to establish 10,000 hectares of plantations in Laos.
 
Burapha's publicity materials claim that the factory will bring
"beautiful hardwoods" to "discerning world markets without
devastating the natural tropical forests". However, while IKEA has
found a new source of cheap timber, with or without Burapha's factory
project the logging of Laos' forests continues.
 
The Burapha Group is structured perfectly to gain the most from the
subsidies available for plantation development in Laos. The company
is a subsidiary of the Swedish forest industry company Silvi Nova AB,
and in Laos consists of three companies: BAFCO (Burapha Agroforestry
Co. Ltd.); NAFCO (Nabong Farm Co. Ltd.); and BDC (Burapha Development
Consultants Co. Ltd.). The first two companies are commercial
ventures --BAFCO produces and exports wood based products from its
own plantations, and NAFCO is a dairy farm which supplies Vientiane
with dairy products, chicken and eggs. BDC however plays a very
different role, being the largest consulting firm in Laos, providing
advice on financial analysis, engineering, environment, forestry,
agriculture and livestock and rural development.
 
In the early 1990s Burapha Development Consultants (along with Jaakko
Poyry) won a contract for consultancy services for the Asian
Development Bank's US$16 million Industrial Tree Plantations Project.
Today, the Burapha Group factory in Nabong buys timber from
eucalyptus plantations established under the ADB project.
 
In 1995 Jaakko Poyry and Burapha produced a report for the ADB
commenting on the Lao Government's laws on plantations, Directive
186. Among the consultant's recommendations were that export taxes
and transport taxes should be reduced. In other words, the
consultants recommend increasing their company's profits at the
expense of villagers' land and livelihoods.
 
When the Lao Government gets advice from forestry consultants through
a project funded by the Asian Development Bank, it may believe that
it is getting the best advice that money can buy. In Burapha's case
however there is a clear conflict of interest. The company is
providing advice recommending more subsidies through the ADB to
produce cheap timber which Burapha then buys and exports. No wonder
that a Burapha representative in Vientiane said about the ADB
project, "The project for Burapha has been a success, I'm not sure
about the project as a whole".
 
By: Chris Lang, e-mail: chrislang@t-online.de
************************************************************
 
- Malaysia: Campaign against plantation and pulp mill project in
Sabah
 
A plantation project that would occupy about 3% of the area of Sabah,
in northern Borneo, and provoke the clearcutting of 6% of its
dwindling primary forests is being promoted in Kalabakan by a joint-
venture between the State-owned company Innoprise Corporation Sdn
Bhd, Lions Group of Malaysia and the China Fuxing Pulp and Paper
Industries of China. The plantation and pulp and paper mill
megaproject, whose cost has been evaluated in U$S 1.1 billion, will
require the felling of 240,000 hectares of forest to be replaced by a
massive monoculture plantation of black wattle trees (Acacia mangium)
--also known as dry acacia or mangium tree-- a fast growing tree
native to Australia.
 
The project has sparked criticism because of its expected impacts and
for not having even adhered to the weak legal environmental
requirements existing in Sabah. According to the Sabah Conservation
of Environment Prescribed Activities, any forest which is cleared for
the felling of timber covering an area of 500 hectares or more or any
development of forest plantation of 500 hectares or more requires an
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Nevertheless 12,000 hectares
of the land of the proposed project have already been logged without
a single EIA done. Innoprise Corporation has claimed that no EIA is
required since the logging operation was approved before the State
EIA requirement was enforced, and announced the logging of another
33,000 hectares. The company completely ignores the Federal
Government's Environment Quality Act of 1974 and the Environmental
Quality Order of 1987 which oblige to perform EIA for these kind of
activities. Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) --Friends of the Earth
Malaysia-- has denounced that by allowing the logging to proceed
without an EIA, the Sabah Government is completely disregarding the
environmental impacts of the logging activities and is manipulating
the law in favour of the interests of big companies and to the
detriment of forest conservation.
 
It is reasonably feared that this huge plantation will provoke
deletereous impacts on the environment. The plantation area will cut
the biggest remaining block of continuous forest in the region which
extends between the Danum Valley and the Maliau Basin, both
classified as Class One Protection Areas. The area contains high
biodiversity levels, including 120 mammal, 280 bird, and more than
2500 tree species. This biodiversity rich ecosystem is in danger of
being substituted by a uniform and biodiversity poor agrosystem.
Already wild animals are reported to have been sighted more often,
probably fleeing from the logged area. Since the land of the proposed
project is mostly steep, felling for plantations will expose the soil
to direct erosion by rainfall. Sediments could reach the coastal
mangrove vegetation in Cowie Bay, depleting marine resources.
Consequences are already apparent: with only 12,000 hectares logged
the Danum Valley has been recently flooded. Local microclimate will
also be affected because often once the rainforest is replaced with a
plantation it will dry and heat up. Additionally, this could create
negative conditions for the plantation itself, which would become
more prone to fires.
 
The effects of pulping and bleaching are also threatening. The use of
chlorine in bleaching the pulp has caused the industry to be the
third largest source of dioxin and its related compounds in the
world. This problem is further compounded by the fact that Malaysia
still has no policy on dioxin damage prevention. Carbon dioxide,
sulphur oxides and chloroform are some of the polluting gases emitted
by this industry. Furthermore about 300 chemicals, among them organic
pollutants, chlorophenicols, acidic and organichlorine compounds have
been identified in pulp and paper mill effluents. 
 
To stop further destruction, SAM has called the State Government of
Sabah and the Federal Government to halt all further logging
activities, take action against the parties that are responsible for
logging the 12,000 hectares of forest without an EIA, undertake a
comprehensive EIA of the project, seek extensive and genuine feedback
from the public in relation to the reviewing of the EIA, review as a
whole given the magnitude and scale of its expected environmental
impacts. Additionally an international campaign has been launched to
oppose this project. Those interested in participating are invited to
visit our new web site (www.wrm.org.uy) under Action Alerts - October
2000.
 
Article based on information from: "International alert to save Sabah
Rainforests from Pulp and Paper project in Kalabakan" by Friends of
the Earth Malaysia - Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM), October 2000. E-
mail: meenaco@pd.jaring.my
************************************************************
 
- Malaysia: Where is Bruno Manser?
 
Since May 2000 Bruno Manser is missing. This human rights activist
wanted to visit his friends, the Penan forest nomads in Sarawak, who
are surrounded by logging companies, the army and the police. It
seems he never arrived. Search parties have had no luck. Now the
Swiss Diplomatic Corps has stepped in. Manser could have been
arrested, had an accident or could have been murdered. We sincerely
hope that none of those situations occured. In the meantime, we
extend our wholehearted support to Bruno's family and friends.
 
Further information on Bruno Manser's situation is available in the
"Information by country" section (Malaysia) in our web site at:
http://www.wrm.org.uy
 
Article based on information from: Ruedi Suter. "The Swiss Diplomatic
Corps have started an official search for the rain forest protector".
E-mail: info@bmf.ch  For detailed information on the situation of the
indigenous peoples in Sarawak:
http://www.bmf.ch/action/chronologie_2000_en.html
************************************************************
 
- Thailand: A diversity-based community forest management system
 
Among at least 400 modern "community forest" systems in the hilly
upper Northern region of Thailand is that of Mae Khong Saai village
in Chiang Dao district of Chiang Mai province. The system features 57
hectares of agricultural fields in which at least 10 different  types
of paddy rice are grown in stepped fields in the valley bottoms. Some
10 varieties of dryland rice are also cultivated in hill fields,
which rotate on a cycle of 3-5 years. 
 
Some 643 hectares of community use forest are carefully distinguished
from 980 hectares of protected forest, between them encompassing six
different native forest types. Some 58 herbal medicines on which
villagers depend are locally cultivated, some in a protected
pharmaceutical garden in the middle of the forest.  Altogether,
forest food and medicine yield the equivalent of US$700 per year for
each of the village's 22 households. As well as providing wood for
local use, the forests also help preserve the nature of the streams
that lace the area, which provide water for agriculture and drinking,
as well as the 17 carefully conserved species of fish which
supplement the local food supply. 
 
All aspects of the system --agriculture, community-use forest,
protected forest, fisheries-- are interdependent.  The whole pattern,
meanwhile, relies for its survival on local villagers' protection. 
For example, the use of fire is carefully controlled by locals so
that devastating blazes don't strike the local forest, as they often
do the surrounding region's monoculture tree plantations.
 
Regular monitoring, together with a newly-formalized system of rules
and fines covering forest, stream and swidden use, helps maintain the
local biotic mosaic. Political vigilance is also crucial.  In 1969,
locals teamed up with concerned government officials to stave off a
threat by commercial loggers to devastate the area. Today, Mae Khong
Saai villagers are fighting a 1993 government decree ordering them
out of the Wildlife Sanctuary which was established in 1978 on the
land they inhabit and protect. 
 
Mae Khong Saai's insistence on local stewardship is obviously good
for the area's biodiversity.  A recent rapid wildlife survey in and
around the village resulted in sightings of many species --including
a flock of Oriental Pied Hornbills (Anthracoceras  albirostris)--
that indicate that the area is one of the most biologically diverse
in Thailand.  Animals including bear, dear, gibbon, boar and various
wild cats, as well as over 200 species of birds, take advantage of
the tapestry of local ecosystems. 
 
Thoroughly integrated with lowland economies, polities and cultures,
Mae Khong Saai couldn't be further from the romantic cliche of a
completely isolated, self-sufficient community.  As well as marketing
forest products, many community members periodically take jobs far
outside the community, some in distant cities. In their defense of
local livelihoods and the biodiversity they rely on, moreover, Mae
Khong Saai's residents depend partly on alliances they have fashioned
not only with similar communities across Thailand's northern
mountains but also with urban-based NGO movements. Arguably, the
community owes even its current identity and way of life on the
periphery partly to the history of uneasy relations between the Karen
people who inhabit it and the modern, nationalistic, racialist Thai
state which has developed over the past century. Whatever successes
its forest stewardship system achieves will owe much to the way it is
able to converse and negotiate with lowland and international powers
in renewing its strategies for local control.
 
Article based on information from: Environmental Improvement
Department, Northern Development Foundation, Project for Ecological
Recovery, Northern Watershed Development Project, Northern Farmers
Network, and villagers from three Northern Thai communities,
Raayngaan Phol Kaan Wijay Rueang Khwaam Laaklaai Thaang Chiiwaphaap
lae Rabop Niwet nai Khat Paa Chum Chon Phaak Nuea Tawn Bon, Chiang
Mai, 1997. Summarized by Larry Lohmann with thanks to Montri
Chanthawong for providing this book, which he helped compile.
************************************************************
 
CENTRAL AMERICA
 
- Guatemala: Community forest concession initiative at Peten
questioned
 
A new type of forest conservation initiative is being implemented in
Guatemala since 1995. According to its promoters, it attempts to
couple community-based sustainable development with the protection of
the Peten forests in the multiple use zone of the Maya Biosphere
Reserve, the largest protected area in Central America. 
 
The government has recently granted five community organizations --
formed mostly by subsistence farmers-- permission to log trees in
their neighbouring forests over the next 25 years. The process is
being monitored to see how effective these locally managed forest
concessions will be, both in curbing deforestation and in providing
cash to local residents. The Costa Rica based Tropical Agricultural
Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE), the Guatemala's Park
Agency, (CONAP), two national NGOs ("Naturaleza para la Vida" -
Nature for Life and "Propeten") and the U.S. Agency for International
Development (USAID) are supporting these concessions in the area.
 
From the official viewpoint, the increase of the population in the
Peten area is the main factor for forest degradation and destruction.
The government argues that the population of Peten --which nowadays
is composed of some 90,000 inhabitants-- is expanding at a high rate,
and that since 1986 settlers have deforested nearly 10 percent of the
reserve area. The rationale of the initiative is that communities
with concessions which have a contract with the state will prevent
other people from settling in the area or convert the forest to other
uses, and at the same time obtain economic benefits from forest
exploitation. Communities that do not adhere to their contracts would
lose their concessions.
 
Nevertheless, such view ignores the influence of other activities
provoking the degradation of the reserve, as for example oil
concessions granted by the government itself (see WRM Bulletin 21)
and illegal logging which has affected especially cedar (Cedrela
odorata) and mahogany (Swietenia macrophilla).
 
Additionally, the above referred concessions are focused on timber
production, ignoring that forests are not only a source of wood for
local communities, which find many uses from the non-timber forest
products provided by the forest. As a result, granting of concessions
has focused exclusively on timber production. For example, the
community of Uaxactun found it difficult to get a concession, since
its plans did not include logging but the exploitation of non-timber
products. Some communities which derived their livelihoods from the
use of different forest products, mainly "xate" (Chamaedorea spp.)
and "chicle" (Manilkara achras) are increasingly devoting themselves
to log extraction, which has created internal conflicts between those
who want to maintain their traditional lifestyle and those who prefer
logging.
 
The concept of "sustainable forest use" is also under question
because social and environmental impacts of logging have not been
taken into account, and it is doubtful that in all cases a monetary
gain will be obtained. There are also allegations that the activities
of the accompanying NGOs have not benefitted the communities and are
said to have focused on perpetuating themselves. At least one of them
has been questioned for trying to interfere in the internal
organization of peasant communities, while its activities should be
limited to help them during the process of community forest
management.
 
All the above has led to different opinions regarding this approach,
which will need to be thoroughly analysed before moving forward.
Local communities --and not external actors-- should be the real
beneficiaries and non-wood products should be given priority over
timber production in order to ensure the sustainable use of the
forest and the well-being of the local population.
 
Article based on information from:
http://headlines.igc.apc.org:8080/enheadlines/968724096/index_html  ;
Elmer Lopez, 11/19/2000, e-mail: elmer.lopez@dialb.greenpeace.org ;
Carlos Albacete, 16/10/2000, e-mail: tropicoverde@guate.net
************************************************************
 
SOUTH AMERICA
 
- Argentina: A shady carbon sink project
 
While government representatives were discussing at the Hague the
supposed benefits of including forests and plantations in the so-
called Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol of the
Climate Change Convention, an unusual project in Argentina was giving
reason to those opposing such inclusion.
 
In February this year the company "El Foyel S.A.", the new owner of a
plot of 7,800 hectares located in El Foyel, in the southern Province
of Rio Negro, addressed the Andean Forest Service (SFA) to apply for
an authorization to open up and rehabilitate several kilometres of
roads within a forest in the region, and to cut 300 hectareas of this
valuable ecosystem in order to substitute it with oregon and radiata
pine plantations. This forest borders the Nahuel Huapi National Park,
close to the touristic city of Bariloche.
 
Three months later, even lacking the required authorization, the
company began the logging operations. The SFA reacted accusing it of
"blatant infringement of the law", causing the destruction of one
hundred cypress trees, as well as "nire" (Nothofagus antartica),
"maiten" (Maytenus boaria) and other native tree species.
Nevertheless, this episode is but the tip of the iceberg of a much
more shady situation. In fact, the project implies the destruction,
not of 300 but of 4,500 hectares of forests and their substitution by
pines.
 
To present the undertaking under a "green" mask, the proponents claim
that the project includes the "sustainable management" of 1,800
hectares of native forest, including species such as "lenga"
(Nothofagus punilis) and cypress. However, its main objective is to
make profits from both wood extraction and the sale of carbon
credits.
 
The strong links of the involved businessmen with local authorities
have made it possible that, despite the project's characteristics,
the Provincial Office for the environment approved the Environmental
Impact Study. The final decision on the project is now in the hands
of the Forestry Department. For the time being, the project has been
suspended as a result of the sanctions it received for having started
the opening of roads without due permission.
 
Local villagers, academics and experts have expressed their
opposition to the project. The NGO "Comunidad de Limay" is involved
in a campaign to stop it, and has gone to court arguing that a
process of public consultation has not taken place and that the
project breaches the law, which protects native forests. Additionally
Dr. Thomas Kitzberger and Dr. Estela Raffaele, of the National
University of Comahue, warned that the project is located close to a
national park, in an area where the North Patagonian Corridor is
projected --aimed at protecting the mobility of species and thus to
protect biodiversity. Their report also questions the "sustainable
development" management techniques proposed to manage the
1,800 hectares of forest which will not be cut down. The Andean
Forestry Service has underscored that the felling of nire can
adversely affect other native species --such as cypress-- which grow
associated to it. Concern over the aggressive way oregon pine
regenerates --leading eventually to the substitution of native
species-- has also been expressed. Other scientists from the National
University of Comahue point out that there is no evidence that pine
plantations are more efficient than forests concerning carbon dioxide
absorption.
 
On November 5th the protest gained the streets, when environmentalist
NGOs of Chubut and Rio Negro organized a demonstration "in favour of
the biodiversity of the Southern forests of the Planet". Proyecto
Lemu, the Chubut Antinuclear Movement, Mapuche and Tehuelche
indigenous groups, Greenpeace-Argentina, Puelo Bird Society, Atech
and Cetera participated in the mobilization.
 
Even though Argentina is commonly associated with vast prairies, it
is also true that at the beginning of the 20th century the country
had more than 100 million hectares of forests. Nowadays there are
less than 20 million hectares left, and half of them are suffering an
accelerated process of degradation. The expansion of pine and
eucalyptus monocultures poses a direct threat to these surviving
ecosystems, and the case of El Foyel is but one in a long list of
forest destruction.
 
The same as in other projects implemented in several countries, this
"carbon sink" project clearly shows that such an approach is not the
solution to global climate --since more carbon is released to the
atmosphere through deforestation than that absorbed by tree planting-
- and that it causes severe social and environmental impacts at the
local level. Nonetheless, they are big business for a few
businessmen, for whom the tragedy of climate change is but a new and
excellent opportunity for making money.  
 
Article based on information from: Lucas Chiappe, Coordinator of
"Proyecto Lemu", 24/10/2000 y 19/11/2000; e-mail: lemu@elbolson.com ; 
Juan Carlos Villalonga, Greenpeace Argentina, 24/10/2000, e-mail:
energia@ar.greenpeace.org ; "Algunos datos de los danos ecologicos en
nuestro pais" by Ramon Reges, November 2000.
************************************************************
 
- Brazil: Aracruz caught red handed destroying native forests
 
For almost a decade, Aracruz Cellulose has been spending much time
and money to portray itself as an example of a socially and
environmentally responsible corporation. It has consistently denied
the negative impacts of its operations in the Brazilian states of
Espirito Santo and Bahia and has gone as far as to state that it has
never carried out deforestation operations. A recent information
proves the contrary.
 
On October 20, while a public hearing organized by the Centre for
Environmental Resources (CER) was taking place to discuss the further
expansion of Aracruz Cellulose's eucalyptus plantations in the
extreme South of the State of Bahia, local civil society
organizations were able to establish that native trees were being cut
down in a property recently purchased by the company in the
municipality of Caravelas.
 
This environmental crime was filmed by the organizations and
presented on the same day at the public hearing held in Posto da
Mata, Nova Vicosa. Several executives from Aracruz, including the
company's environmental manager, were present at the meeting.
 
Melquiades Spinola --coordinator of local NGO CEPEDES-- said that
this episode shows that the company's environmental discourse is very
different from its environmental practice. "Aracruz underestimates
civil society organizations and State agencies. Even during the
process to obtain the licence for the expansion of its plantations,
its field activities are carried out in a predatory manner", Spinola
said.
 
According to activists from CEPEDES and from the Centre for the
Defense of Human Rights --who presented the exact geographic
coordinates of the written report-- Aracruz had recently purchased
that land from Carlos Ancine Fae. Workers from the company contracted
by Aracruz, declared that no-one from the environment department of
the contractor had been present during the work carried out with the
use of a tractor, nor during the application of herbicides.
 
Jose Augusto Tosato, representative of CEPEDES, stated that the CER
needs to increase its monitoring of Aracruz, to find out if all the
conditions imposed for the granting of the previous licenses had been
fulfilled and particularly to continue carrying out the ecological
and economic zoning of the extreme south of Bahia, as decreed by
Governor Cesar Borges on 17 May this year, but that has still not
begun to be implemented.
 
According to the coordinator of the Bahia Environmental Group, the
government decided to suspend the licensing of Aracruz until the
zoning process is completed. "We hope that this decision is carried
out, because if zoning is implemented in a participatory manner and
with the adequate instruments and methodologies, it will result in
safeguarding the interests of the region's society as a whole,
restricting the uncontrolled expansion of monocultures and
guaranteeing better conditions for environmental conservation."
 
Article based on information from: Maiza de Andrade, "Empresa e
flagrada destruindo arvores na regiao extremo-sul", A Tarde Online,
24/10/00
(http://www.atarde.com.br/materia.php3?mes=10&ano=2000&id_materia=260
036)
************************************************************
 
- Chile: Wine production threatened by pulp mill project
 
For decades small and medium scale peasants of the Itata Valley have
developed economic activities based on wine production. Wines
produced in the area have recently obtained a high quality export
product certification. As a result of their hard work during years,
the population of the region has been able to generate an activity
having enornous economic and social potential.
 
In January this year the Regional Commission for the Environment
(COREMA) of the VIII Region rejected the application for the project
"Industrial Forestry Complex Itata", to be located in the area. The
project comprises several activities related to the forestry sector,
including the setting up of a pulp mill at the Itata Valley. The
reason for the denial of the authorization was that such project
would generate negative environmental impacts. The proponent company
--Celulosa Arauco y Constitucion S.A.-- belongs to the Angelini
Group, one of the most powerful economic holdings in the country.
 
Celulosa Arauco appealed to the National Commission for the
Environment (CONAMA). According to the Chilean Basic Environmental
Law, whenever such situation occurs, the body in charge of making a
final decision on the viability of the questioned project is the
Cabinet Meeting. The Cabinet is advised by a Consultative Council
which --in theory-- is formed by representatives of different
sectors, such as NGOs, scientists, independent academic centres,
workers, companies and the government. However, their delegates are
not democratically elected by the organizations, but directly
nominated by the country's President. 
 
In a surprising move, a few days ago the Consultative Council decided
to recommend to the Cabinet Meeting that the environmental permit for
the project be granted. How can this be explained? Several public
services, as well as an Expert Panel of the Catholic University of
Chile especially contracted to study the project, had concluded that
the establishment of the pulp mill in the Itata Valley is
incompatible with the current economic activity prevailing in the
area: grape and wine production. The implementation of the project
would result in a conflict between two incompatible economic
activities: the current wine-tourism activity versus industrial
forestry.
 
Additionally, from the very beginning the project has been strongly
opposed by the five communities living nearby the projected site of
the Itata Complex (Ranquil, Coelemu, Trehuaco, Quillon and
Portezuelo). Far from being groundless, their opposition is based on
the fact that the installation of a pulp mill would produce high
levels of pollution. The industrial production of cellulose implies
the use of chemicals containing chlorine which are highly toxic.
Additionally, dioxines are emitted to the air. These substances have
proved mutagenic and carcinogenic. This means that not only the
environment would be negatively affected, but also severe damages
would impact on the health and life quality of the people living in
this valley.
 
An argument frequently used to promote this type of investments is
that of job generation, which currently constitutes a severe problem
in Chile. Nonetheless, also in this regard the recommendation of the
Consultative Council is not appropriate, since at present grape and
wine production provides 3,000 permanent jobs, while the Itata
Forestry Complex would generate only a total of 1,200 jobs.
 
Many questions remain unanswered. What is really being evaluated? Is
it the lobbying ability and the power of one of the major economic
groups in the country or the environmental impacts of the project?
Are community interests and local economies really taken into account
when deciding what is best for them?
 
Now the responsibility lies in the hands of the Cabinet Meeting. Its
decision will in fact reveal what the real environmental and economic
policy of the Chilean government is.
 
By: Flavia Liberona, RENACE, 10/11/2000; e-mail: 
alerce.renace@rdc.cl
************************************************************
 
- Weyerhaeuser's president promotes plantations in Guyana
 
Dr Conor Wilson Boyd --president of Weyerhaeuser Forestlands
International, a company owning a total of 28 million acres of forest
in North America and established in 32 countries-- made a
presentation during a meeting organized by the Iwokrama International
Rainforest Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development last
October in Georgetown.
 
Weyerhaeuser president's presentation was largely focused on the
promotion of plantations. However, if --as Dr Boyd said-- "the
business perspective of companies should take into consideration the
social and environmental impact on communities", then it should be
clear that tree plantations should not be promoted at an industrial
scale, which is precisely what companies such as Weyerhaeuser do.
 
Large scale monocultures --these are the plantations currently being
implemented by companies such as this throughout the world-- have
already proven to have deletereous effects on both people and
environment, among which deforestation. Plantations do not "ease the
pressure on the indigenous forests." On the contrary, they constitute
the final step of a process of forest degradation which ends by
substituting the diverse local forests with alien tree monocultures.
 
The above is not only an "environmental" issue: it is a social one.
Forest and forest-dependent peoples view plantations as an even worse
disaster than logging, because plantations expropriate their whole
territories permanently. This means that they are deprived of all the
resources provided by the forest, including food, medicines, fibres,
firewood, building material, etc.
 
Dr Boyd also said that tree plantations provide employment, and
further stated that they provide more jobs than intensive agriculture
projects. This is in fact totally untrue. Plantations provide very
few, seasonal and low quality jobs and even those only during the
plantation phase. Once the trees are planted, employment drops
dramatically until harvest. But even at harvest, the current
technology in use implies that only few workers are needed to operate
the modern harvesting machines.
 
The real problem that Weyerhaeuser is now facing --the same as other
logging companies-- is that they have depleted the world's forest
resources through unsustainable forest mining practices and they now
quickly need vast amounts of cheap raw material to continue in
business. In line with that, what they are now doing is moving South
to find cheap land, cheap labour, low environmental standards and
fast tree growth in order to ensure their own --not "the world's"--
provision of wood to continue promoting unsustainable levels of
consumption in the North. The same discourse as the one presented in
Guyana is being deployed by company executives throughout the South.
In the meantime, local people and the environment continue suffering
from the impacts of the "sustainable" plantations that those
companies promote for their own benefit.
 
Article based on information from: Andrew Richards, "Plantations seen
as vital to forest sustainability", Stabroek News, 26/10/00
************************************************************
 
OCEANIA
 
- Australia: Woodchipping old growth forests for "renewable energy"
 
In 1997 the Australian federal government issued a regulation for
Tasmanian forests, abolishing export woodchip quotas. Consequently
North Limited --the biggest woodchip exporter in the country--
announced plans to raise woodchip production from Tasmanian native
forests, that currently reaches around 3,4 million tonnes annually.
Tasmanian environmental NGOs expressed their concern that this
measure would open the gate for the destruction of old-growth
eucalyptus forests in the island, which constitute part of the
Australian National Heritage (see WRM Bulletin 7).
 
A new threat is now pending on Australian already scarce primary
forests: a government proposal included in the Renewable Energy Bill,
which promotes electricity generation by chipping old growth forests
--considered a "renewable energy source"-- with the aim of reducing
greenhouse gas emissions. 
 
The amendments proposed by other parties represented in Parliament to
use other sources of renewable energy --such as solar and wind--
instead of native forests were rejected by representatives of the
government and the main opposition party. The Australian Greens
severely criticised the initiative, and accused both parties to be in
the hands of woodchip companies and Senator Brown stated that the
initiative was the result of pressures from the woodchip companies,
which needed new outlets as they were facing stiff competition from
South American plantations for the Japanese paper market. This shows
how perverse the pulp and paper global market is: huge pulpwood
plantations in South America result in extensive environmental and
social impacts in that region, while at the same time they become the
indirect cause for the destruction of native forests in Australia.
And all this to feed the voracious Japanese paper industry.
 
Given the relatively small area occupied by forests in Australia such
initiative appears to have no reasonable justification. Additionally,
it is contradictory with Australia's position in the recently
celebrated COP6 at The Hague, where its delegates expressed their
stong support for the inclusion of forests in the so-called Clean
Development Mechanism to mitigate global warming. It doesn't seem to
make sense to us, but it certainly does for the chipping companies,
that will greatly profit from this "green" bill.
 
Article based on information from: Worldwide Forest/Biodiversity
Campaign News, "Australia Promotes Native Old-Growth Woodchipping as
Renewable Energy", 8/10/2000; e-mail: grbarry@students.wisc.edu
************************************************************
 
- Aotearoa/New Zealand: Logging company's dirty tricks revealed
 
The recent publication in the USA of a book, detailing a conspiracy
between government, industry, and various public relations firms to
discredit environmentalists in New Zealand, has produced surprise
among environmental and official circles in that country.
 
"Secrets and Lies: The anatomy of an anti-environmental PR campaign"
is the result of a research by journalists Nicky Hager and Bob
Burton, based on leaked internal documents from the state-owned
Timberlands logging company and its consultant in public relations,
the New Zealand subsidiary of the giant British-based firm Shandwick.
The book reveals that the main priority of the Timberlands public
relations campaign was to neutralise the discourse of the
environmental groups that threatened its logging plans. Timberlands
has been deliberately trying to discredit environmentalist groups
involved in the campaign by saying that they were small, extreme and
spreading misinformation --even though it knew very well that major
environmental groups, including some with a conservationist view,
were opposing its activities-- and by making legal threats to
discourage people from joining the protests.
 
Shandwick New Zealand, was paid by Timberlands to monitor all
opposing actions and media statements and devise ways to counter
them. Contractors were paid as well to remove graffiti and posters
from walls and lamp posts in the city of Wellington, which
constitutes a violation to freedom of speech. There are also proofs
that Timberlands tried to manipulate local communities in the West
Coast region, making them promises of improvement in infrastructure
and services, to get their support for its native forest logging
plans, and at the same time reviling "extremist" environmental
groups. For example it aimed to provide assistance to the West Coast
Principals Association in return for gaining the opportunity to get
the support of local schools for Timberlands and its operations.
 
Not only civil society was targeted by the manoeuvres of Timberlands.
The company has also been trying to reverse the direction of the
Labour Party policy, fearing that a change of government in November
1999 would have led to its native forest logging being stopped. In
fact the newly elected government --a coalition formed by the Labour
Party, the Alliance and the Greens-- forced Timberlands to withdraw
its plans to log extensive areas of beech rainforests on the west
coast of the country's south island (see WRM Bulletin 30). The
strategy of Timberlands to this regard also included providing supply
to its allies --among them some academics, the New Zealand Furniture
Association and other timber organisations-- for them to write
letters to the Labour leaders attacking conservationists and the
party's anti-native forest logging policies.
 
Article based on information from: "Secrets and lies: the anatomy of
an anti-environmental PR campaign" (
http://www.watertalk.org/reports/secrets_and_lies.html )
 
************************************************************
* GENERAL
************************************************************
 
- Concerns over the revision of the World Bank's Indigenous Peoples
policy
 
The World Bank's 1991 Indigenous Peoples Policy (Operational
Directive 4.20) forms one of ten so-called "safeguard policies" that
aim to ensure that Bank-funded operations do not cause adverse
environmental and social impacts in borrower countries. OD4.20 seeks
to ensure that Bank staff, borrower governments and implementing
agencies take positive action to safeguard indigenous rights by:
securing land tenure and resource access; mitigating negative
development impacts; guaranteeing participation; and assuring receipt
of benefits.
 
Since the mid-1990s, OD.420 and other safeguard policies including
the Forest Policy, have been undergoing a process of revision as part
of a Bank-wide "conversion" The Bank argues that simplifying and
streamlining its policies is necessary because clearer guidance will
improve the quality of compliance with safeguard provisions.
 
Consequently, the Bank circulated an "Approach Paper" on the revision
of OD4.20 to Indigenous Peoples  Organisations and NGOs in 1998. The
paper proposed that revision should concentrate on clarifying
definitions and procedures. In response, indigenous peoples and
indigenous rights advocates made clear to the Bank that any revised
policy must be stronger than the existing directive, particularly as
regards land rights and the right to self-determination. Civil
society organisations have also been urging the Bank to carry out a
thorough implementation review so that any policy revision takes into
account indigenous views and addresses the real difficulties the Bank
has had in implementing the policy on the ground. However, the Bank
resisted pressure to carry out a proper review. Meanwhile, the
revision process has been bogged down within the Bank for two years.
 
To demonstrate the need for a full implementation review, in May 2000
the Forest Peoples Programme and Bank Information Center (a major US-
based NGO that tracks the Bank) organised a workshop in Washington DC
on "Indigenous Peoples, Forests and the World Bank." The workshop
discussed eight case studies from Latin America, Africa and Asia
prepared by indigenous peoples about their own experiences of
different Bank-assisted operations affecting their communities and
territories. The primary goals of the workshop were to examine the
quality of the implementation of OD4.20 during the 1990s and
contribute to the current revision of the World Bank's policies on
Indigenous Peoples and on Forests.
 
The workshop found that compliance with OD4.20 is often weak and
sometimes highly unsatisfactory, especially with regard to the
critical needs for indigenous people's participation and secure land
rights. For example, there was not one case where indigenous peoples
felt they had participated in a meaningful way during the project
preparation phase. The workshop demonstrated how indigenous peoples
still often find themselves worse off after Bank projects due to
repeated patterns of poor compliance that include:
 
- No harmonisation of borrower policies with international standards
and Bank policies
- Baseline studies superficial or absent in project preparation
- Required legal reforms omitted
- Procedural oversights in appraisal
- Required capacity-building elements missing
- Indigenous peoples' land and resource rights not secured
- Required 'Indigenous Peoples Development Plan' omitted
- Inadequate benefit-sharing
- Ineffective supervision
- Disinclination to enforce loan agreements
 
Additional case studies undertaken by NGOs and presented at the
workshop revealed that where OD4.20 was implemented effectively in
Bank operations, this has been the result of long project preparation
times, intensive staff inputs, willingness to pay unusually high
'transaction costs', stronger borrower government commitments to
reform and genuinely participatory decision-making both in project
preparation and implementation.
 
The case studies also exposed the structural and financial obstacles
to effective implementation. It was noted that Bank staff lacks the
time, resources and incentives to adhere properly to safeguard
policies like OD4.20. A central conclusion of the workshop was that
clarifying policies alone will not improve implementation. It is
essential that the World Bank also undertakes major reforms to the
incentive structure and budget framework for its safeguard work. 
More effective compliance will also require:
 
- A revised Indigenous Peoples policy which adheres to international
law, follows the principle of prior and informed consent, recognises
and secures indigenous peoples' customary rights to lands and
resources, and provides mechanisms for the resolution of conflicts.
- Stronger enforcement mechanisms to back up conditions in loan
agreements
- Greater accountability of both the World Bank and borrower
governments to indigenous peoples, with agreements that are
enforceable in the national courts
- Independent monitoring and supervision, with agreed performance-
based indicators
- Clearer guidance to staff on the interpretation and application of
the policy
- Stronger mechanisms for participation and access to information in
appropriate languages
- Application of the policy to structural adjustment lending.
 
All indications are that the First Draft of the revised Indigenous
Peoples Policy (now to be called OP4.10) will be released publicly
early in 2001 when the Bank will launch a series of regional
consultation meetings to discuss the Draft with indigenous peoples
and civil society organisations. Based on the "conversion" of other
safeguard policies like the Involuntary Resettlement Policy,
indigenous groups and their supporters are worried that the revised
Indigenous Peoples policy might actually be weaker than OD4.20. The
fear is that the policy may be hot on some issues like participation
and benefit sharing, but sidestep tough issues linked to land rights
and self-determination. The concern is that the Bank will adopt a
more ambiguous "Panel proof" policy which will not provide indigenous
peoples with firm grounds for redress through the Inspection
Panel. We need to be vigilant to prevent this happening.
 
By: Tom Griffiths, Forest Peoples Programme, e-mail:
tom@fppwrm.gn.apc.org
 
(The full FPP-BIC workshop report is available from www.wrm.org.uy ,
www.bicusa.org or www.gn.apc.org/forestpeoples . Hard copies of the
summary workshop report, copies of individual indigenous case studies
and more detailed briefings on the revision of the Bank's Indigenous
Peoples and Forests policies can be obtained from the Forest Peoples
Programme at info@fppwrm.gn.apc.org )
************************************************************
 
- Films on forests and plantations receive award
 
Three films related to forest conservation and the problems caused by
pulpwood plantations received an award at the 17th International
Environmental Film Festival that took place from 18 to 22 October
2000 at the Friedrichsbau-Lichtspiele in Freiburg, Germany.
 
ôkomedia Award "Golden Lynx" for the Best Journalistic Achievement
was given to the film "The dirty business with white paper",  by the
German Inge Altemeier and Reinhard Hornung, which deals with
cellulose production in Indonesia. The diseases suffered by the
indigenous population, the misappropriation of land and the
destruction of the rainforests are documented. The film also traces
responsibility back as far as the headquarters of major German
companies and the very heart of government.
 
"Ancient yet modern: cork, a natural product" won the ôkomedia Award
"Golden Lynx" for the Best Nature Film. Its author, the Swiss Vadim
Jendreyko, presents the example of the cork oak to show the use of a
renewable raw material in our everyday life. The film emphasises the
need to maintain the valuable cork-oak woods in southern Europe.
 
The conflict prompted by the arrival of a Malaysian logging company
to a village community on the Solomon Island is portrayed in "Since
the company", by the Australian Russell Hawkins, who won the
Promotional Prize of the City of Freiburg. The author brings key
conflicts out into the light --conflicts between those who want to go
on leading a traditional lifestyle and those prone to sell their
precious forests for money.
 
Article based on information from: ôkomedia Institut  2000,
25/10/2000; e-mail: oekomedia@t-online.com.de (Those interested in
obtaining copies of these films can contact: ôkomedia Institut,
Nussmannstrasse 14, D-79098 Freiburg, tel ++49-761-52024, fax ++49-
761-555724)