Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

-DATE-
19920614
-YEAR-
1992
-DOCUMENT TYPE-
-AUTHOR-
-HEADLINE-
Fidel Castro Issues `Message' to UNCED
-PLACE-
/ 4-16 June Activities at
-SOURCE-
Havana PRENSA LATINA
-REPORT NO.-
FBIS-LAT-92-118-S
-REPORT DATE-
19920618
-HEADER-
=======================================================================
Report Type:         Daily report             AFS Number:     PA1506182092
Report Number:       FBIS-LAT-92-118-S        Report Date:    18 Jun 92
Report Series:       Latin America            Start Page:     11
Report Division:                              End Page:       29
Report Subdivision:  4-16 June Activities at UNCEDAG File Flag:
Classification:      UNCLASSIFIED             Language:       Spanish
Document Date:       14 Jun 92
Report Volume:       

Dissemination:  FOUO

City/Source of Document:   Havana PRENSA LATINA

Report Name:   SUPPLEMENT

Headline:   Fidel Castro Issues `Message' to UNCED

Author(s):   Cuban President Fidel Castro Ruz to the UNCED, on 12 June in Rio
de Janeiro , Brazil; no dateline as received]

Source Line:   PA1506182092 Havana PRENSA LATINA in Spanish 0418 GMT 14 Jun
92-FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Subslug:   [``Exclusive text'' of message issued by Cuban President Fidel
Castro Ruz to the UNCED, on 12 June in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; no
dateline as received]

-TEXT-
FULL TEXT OF ARTICLE:
1.  [``Exclusive text'' of message issued by Cuban President Fidel Castro Ruz
to the UNCED, on 12 June in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; no dateline as received]

2.  [Text] Messrs Heads of State or Government:

3.  Each of us attending this UNCED is aware of the significance of this
meeting and the urgency of reaching decisions that will allow effective
measures to defend the very survival of mankind.

4.  The accelerated and spiralling deterioration of the environment is today
possibly the most serious long-term threat to mankind as a whole, and most
especially to what is still called the Third World. In addition to the ever
present danger of nuclear destruction, deterioration of the environment is the
worst threat to all humanity. In underdeveloped countries it is one of the
factors that most seriously worsens the living condition of millions of Third
World people.

5.  Never in the history of mankind has such a generalized and destructive
aggression taken place against all of the world's vital systems. In the
underdeveloped world, underdevelopment and poverty itself are the main factors
that today have a multiplying effect on the pressure exerted on the
environment. The over exploitation of arable or grazing land, improper
agricultural practices, and the lack of financial and technical resources add
to the harmful effect of adverse climates. In addition, the eagerness to obtain
the greatest profit margin of natural resources and industrial capacities-in
the case of capitalist exploitation, national or multinational, in or outside
the Third World-adds its serious destructive quota and adds additional ways of
contamination and degradation to the environment.

6.  In the developed world, there are lifestyles that encourage irrational
consumption and encourage waste and destruction of nonrenewable resources.
These lifestyles multiply the tensions and effects to local and world physical
environments at unprecedented and previously unimaginable levels.

7.  For the first time in his history, man is capable of altering the
equilibrium of the principal vital systems and breaking the natural laws that
have governed evolution on the planet. Man can wipe out life if he unleashes
nuclear war. Man actively affects, through genetic engineering, the accelerated
mutation of species that required thousands of years to form in their natural
state. For the first time man is capable of changing the course of life.

8.  He is already doing so by acting directly on the environment. Every day the
effects of the irrational race of man in his aggression against the environment
are more evident. A short time ago for affluent societies these were faraway
worries-worries that were detached from their immediate concern. Today,
however, these worries are not a distant threat but a common reality for all
peoples.

9.  This is why we are gathered in Rio de Janeiro. Awareness of the serious
effects of the environment's deterioration has begun to spread. This
deterioration is felt directly, immediately, and devastatingly by the world's
most vulnerable and the poor and extends beyond the limits of the Third World
to become a threat that affects all humanity. It is certain that if necessary
actions are not taken, man is at the uncertain threshold that may mean the
destruction of all forms of life.

10.  Cuba, a small Third World country that struggles to develop under
singularly adverse circumstances, can, notwithstanding, in its modest way,
offer the world in general, particularly the underdeveloped world, the
experience attained in conservation and environmental protection and the
results obtained by our people in the various fields directly related to the
topics that will be discussed at this meeting.

11.  We state our recognition of the government of the friendly Republic of
Brazil and its esteemed president, Fernando Collor de Mello, for the great
responsibility of hosting the conference and our personal gratitude for his
kind invitation to participate in the conference. I wish to state that Cuba
participates in this meeting with the determination to contribute in the full
measure of its capabilities and potential to achieve the goals for which we
have gathered-fully convinced that all the efforts exerted toward the
achievement of those goals represent a specific guarantee for our future.

12.  Character and Urgency of a Modern Ecological Debate

13.  The ecology issue has moved in the last two decades from the periphery to
the very center of theoretical debate and the decisionmaking process in many
parts of the world. The abundant literature on ecological issues that has
recently proliferated frequently talks about the internationalization of the
debate on ecology issues and the ecological movement, as a result of the
evolution process that has gained prominence in recent years. The phenomenon
that decidedly contributed to this awareness at world level is the emergence of
an increasing number of nongovernment ecology organizations, some of which are
characterized by their aggressiveness and the progressive range of their
influence.

14.  The consciousness-raising process is obviously based on the fact that the
actual and potential effects of certain worldwide ecology problems worrying
mankind have become much more evident in the last 20 years- including a
depletion of the ozone layer, the warm climate resulting from the so-called
greenhouse effect, acid rain, other forms of ecological damage caused by the
more developed countries' consumer oriented and squandering model, the loss of
our biodiversity, pollution caused by urban overcrowding, the international
traffic of toxic waste, the pollution of underground and surface waters in our
seas and coastal areas, the destruction of forests, and the depletion of
agricultural lands.

15.  These extremely critical problems include an element that should be given
priority in our modern ecology debate-the awareness that man himself is the
most endangered biological species, particularly in large areas of the world,
where a majority of the population subsists in extremely precarious conditions.

16.  Everyone knows this past decade has been the hottest in the last 100 years
and it includes six of the seven hottest years in history. According to
existing records, 1990 was the hottest year in history. This global warming
phenomenon, a result of the so-called ``greenhouse effect,'' entails important
ecological, economic, and social consequences.  According to certain estimates,
given the lack of limitations on the current emission of gases that cause the
greenhouse effect, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will double
between now and sometime in the 2025 to 2050 period, causing an increase of
between 1.5 and 4.5 degrees Celsius in the world's average temperature. A
direct effect of this phenomenon will be an increase of between 30 and 50 cm in
the sea level by 2050, and approximately 1 meter in 2100, which would result in
the flooding of many densely populated coastal areas. It would also affect many
inland states.  Other forecasts are much more worrisome and on a shorter term.

17.  Weather changes would bring, among other things, changes in the rainy
seasons and marine ecology. They would increase the probability of phenomenons
such as hurricanes, tropical cyclones, and typhoons. Likewise, this would
increase the temperate zones' vulnerability to tropical diseases such as
malaria, dengue, and yellow fever; and many of the area crops, such as wheat,
would be critically affected.

18.  It is calculated the world's average ozone layer decreased approximately 5
percent in the 1979 to 1986 period. A hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica
was discovered in the middle 1980's and, more recently, certain scientific
reports indicate that conditions are ripe for the appearance of a similar hole
over the Arctic Circle.

19.  This deterioration of the ozone layer increases the vulnerability of
living beings on the planet to noxious ultraviolet rays and, consequently,
constitutes an enormous risk factor that is expressed in the increased
likelihood of diseases such as skin cancer and many eye lesions, as well as
considerable damage to cattle and certain crops.

20.  The relative speed with which international negotiations have progressed,
and the adoption of specific agreements to reduce and eventually eliminate the
use and production of chlorofluorocarbons and gases that ravage the ozone
layer, reveal not only the developed countries' concern over the deterioration
of the stratospheric ozone, but the interest of important economic circles
within those countries in leading the technological transformations that are
suggested, and in controlling the transference of these technologies at an
international level. It would be desirable to find a similar collective resolve
at this conference-for whatever reasons-that would allow us, with specific and
effective actions, to deal with other environmental issues, which are just as
worrisome and more urgent, such as the ozone layer problem.

21.  During the period from 1860 to 1985, sulphuric anhydrite emissions, one of
the leading causes of acid rain, increased from seven million tons to
approximately 155 million tons annually. Very often acid rain is blown by the
wind to other regions far from the area where the contamination is generated.
This phenomenon has made life impossible in tens of thousands of rivers and
lakes because it has altered the chemical composition of their waters, and has
seriously damaged forests and crops, especially in Europe, North America, South
America, China, and Africa.

22.  There are other very important problems that contribute to deterioration,
not of the atmosphere but of the planet's waters and lands. Many of these
problems perhaps are not that new, but they have taken a high toll in terms of
damage and lives, especially in underdeveloped countries. Poverty has been
identified as one of the leading threats to positive environmental development
because most poor people live in areas that are vulnerable from the ecological
viewpoint: 80 percent of Latin America's poor; 60 percent of Asia's, and 50
percent of Africa's.

23.  Water quality and the provision of potable water in underdeveloped nations
creates dramatic situations. As a result of soil erosion, over 20 million
hectares of farmland are lost throughout the world every year. At present,
deserts are expanding at a rate of 6 million hectares annually. Approximately
3,500 million hectares of productive lands-a surface approximately equal to
that of the American continent-are currently being affected by desertification,
one-third of them severely, which is, according to the United Nations, a threat
to the means of living of 850 million people. Recent figures from the FAO [UN
Food and Agriculture Organization] indicate that the deforestation of tropical
zones has increased from 11.3 million hectares annually in 1980 to 17 million
in 1990.

24.  The loss of biological diversity involving these processes is reason for
deep concern. The contamination of oceans, seas, and coastal areas, as well as
the dangers to which existing living resources are exposed in those areas,
constitute another serious environmental problem.

25.  Special attention should be paid to problems involving the international
trafficking of toxic wastes, especially when the receivers are underdeveloped
countries that lack the necessary means to adequately manage and dispose of
these residues. Experience seems to prove that the solution of this issue
should not depend solely on control methods aimed at making the shipment of
such wastes so expensive that it would be more advantageous for industry to
reduce the production of those substances.

26.  If you examine the deterioration of the environment from a historical
viewpoint you will see, generally speaking, that the greatest damage to the
global ecosystem has been caused by the development patterns followed by the
most industrialized countries. Meanwhile, the conditions of poverty in which
the immense majority of the world's population lives also severely affects the
environment and creates a distracting vicious circle between underdevelopment
and poverty on one hand and environmental deterioration on the other.

27.  Now, when the concept of sustained development has become commonplace, we
must recognize that both the North's development pattern as well as the South's
underdevelopment are environmentally untenable paths to economic development.
However, it would be a mistake to view these two paths as having similar focal
points, even though they are related, because it is absurd to demand the same
degree of responsibility for the deterioration of the environment from a
citizen with relatively high income, used to a consumer-oriented, developed
country with wasteful ways, as from the poor inhabitant of any one of the more
backward countries of the underdeveloped world. The poor man's daily concern is
to find- with increasing difficulty-ways of preventing his children from
starving.

28.  The immediate environmental concerns of Third World countries differ from
those of developed countries because very poor sections of the population in
the underdeveloped world find it very difficult to plan the needs of future
generations. Many of their daily basic needs are not even minimally satisfied.

29.  In the more developed countries, where the common concern is the level of
the quality of life, there is a growing concern about the medium and long-term
effect of phenomenons such as ozone layer depletion and global warming. But
ecological priorities must be different in underdeveloped countries, where
infant mortality sometimes reaches 115 stillborn babies for each 1,000 born
alive, where each year 14 million children die under the age of five, where
more than 1 billion people have no access to the most elemental health service,
where life expectancy is less than 63 years-52 years in poorer countries, where
300 million children are denied the right to schooling, where nearly 1 billion
adults are illiterate, where more than 500 million people went hungry in 1990,
and where 180 million children under the age of five suffer malnutrition.

30.  In the Third World what is in danger first is not the quality of life, but
life itself and the right to life. In environmental issues, the main concern in
these countries has to be the availability of water, the lack of firewood, and
the exhaustion of agricultural land.

31.  What practical meaning can definitions such as ecosystems, biodiversity,
environmental degradation, and ozone layer depletion have for the illiterate
masses of the underdeveloped world? What possible attention can millions of
human beings pay to these problems when hour after hour, day after day, week
after week, and year after year-all their lives-are spent in a desperate and
anguished struggle to survive?

32.  Obviously, if we truly want to eliminate the world's primary environmental
problems, humankind must do two things. On the one hand, we must replace the
consumer-oriented and wasteful culture of the industrialized world and high
income sectors in developed countries. This culture must be exchanged for a way
of life that, without sacrificing current material standards, will tend to a
more rational use of resources and a significant reduction of aggression
against the environment that today is nearly everywhere, because of that
culture. We must encourage a radical change in the socioeconomic conditions of
the Third World, and thus a change in the way of life of the enormous masses of
impoverished people, through the transformation of current international,
social, and economic systems- social and economic structures that in most of
the underdeveloped countries favor the existence of these hungry, sick,
dispossessed, and ignorant people.

33.  Only then can we hope for a proper solution to the world's main ecological
problems in the 21st century, which is on our doorstep. This requires, however,
a general global awareness of the causes of these environmental problems, in
all countries and at all levels in each country. From that point on, we could
generate the required political resolve and the indispensable international aid
to face it effectively.

34.  Everything done in the meantime will be useful, and it should be
encouraged and supported, but it certainly will not be the solution required
and demanded by our own children, to whom we will bequeath an uninhabitable
planet if we do not act soon.

35.  The Vicious Circle of Underdevelopment and Ecological Deterioration

36.  It has been proved repeatedly that the characteristics of environmental
deterioration in Third World countries- given their underdeveloped state-have
their own traits and origins, and have more critical results in those
countries. The search for sustainable development in these countries is, above
all, the search for development itself. Development entails not only growth,
but also transformation of economic and social structures to improve living
conditions and achieve a progressive formation of new ethical values.

37.  It is precisely this development process that has been rejected in the
South, not as a casual or occasional outcome, but inherent to a specific type
of social relations and a way to organize production. Backwardness and poverty
are possibly the least sustainable aspects of this development model.

38.  The economic and social crisis that began in the 1980's has considerably
contributed to the swift reproduction of factors that threaten the close and
foreseeable future of the environment-by worsening the international economic
order these countries embrace.

39.  Third World economies still depend largely on the excessive exploitation
of natural resources. In recent years the export of basic products, including
fuel, has represented more than 45 percent of these countries' total exports,
especially in Africa where they represent 90 percent.

40.  These economies experienced a dramatic decapitalization process-both
commercial and financial-in the last 10 years, thus precluding the possibility
of sustained economic growth during a population explosion.

41.  Consequently, the annual growth rate of the underdeveloped countries'
gross national product has been decreasing for the last 2.8 percent in the
period from 1983 to 1990. Something similar happened with the per capita
income, which dropped from 3.3 percent between 1961 and 1970, and to 0.1
percent between 1980 and 1990.

42.  Another phenomenon associated with the crisis, which has had very negative
consequences on the ecology's deterioration, is undoubtedly the unequal
distribution of income between the economies of the North and South, and even
within the countries. Meanwhile, 20 percent of the population with the highest
income in 1960 made 30 percent more than the poorest 20 percent; those levels
were 60 percent higher by 1990. The richest groups currently represent between
10 and 15 percent of the population in underdeveloped countries, yet they
control the largest part of the economic and natural resources.  Ten percent of
the population in Latin America controls 95 percent of its tillable land.

43.  The main trade problems encountered by Third World countries are generally
linked to the export of basic products, and they result from increasingly
reduced access to developed countries' markets. This is caused by a more
aggressive protectionist policy, and constant deterioration of prices and
purchasing power, among other factors. Between 1980 and 1991, the average
prices of 33 basic products exported by underdeveloped countries-excluding
fuel-suffered a drop of 50 percent and, although their future behavior is
difficult to predict, the World Bank has implied that they will remain at that
level until 1995. In real terms, certain analysts have placed these products'
current prices on a level with prices prevalent earlier in this century, while
others have placed them on a level with prices prevalent around the middle of
the 19th century.

44.  A sample of 24 industrialized countries shows that 20 of them are
currently more protectionist than they were 10 years ago. Their protectionism
takes a toll on the underdeveloped countries. In terms of GDP [gross domestic
product] sacrificed for exports that are not delivered, this represents a loss
of $75 billion annually.

45.  During the eighties, with the so-called foreign debt crisis, the flow of
foreign financial resources was drastically reduced; decades earlier, these
resources had paid at least part of the most essential investments. The flow of
resources in the shape of Official Development Assistance (ODA), especially,
from the OECD [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development]
countries, is at present 50 percent lower than the proposed goal of 0.7 percent
of these countries' GDP. The total ODA received by the underdeveloped countries
in 1990 was scarcely $44 billion, while the foreign debt service-the foreign
debt currently surpasses $1.3 trillion-over the past four years has averaged a
little over $165 billion annually.

46.  Thus, the underdeveloped countries' foreign debt service is equivalent
every year to three times the total official foreign aid they receive. The
final result is that, paradoxically, these countries have become net capital
exporters, with figures ranging between $40 and $50 billion yearly over the
past decade.

47.  In 1990, the UNDP [UN Development Program] calculated that in the Third
World there were approximately 1.2 billion people living below the poverty
line. The economic and social situation in the South will tend to worsen to the
extent that backwardness and recurrent economic crises increasingly decrease
opportunities to revert, or at least halt, certain phenomena associated with
the increase of poverty. One of these phenomena is uncontrollable demographic
growth and the disproportionate process of urbanization in the Third World.

48.  While the population growth rate in the industrialized countries averaged
0.8 percent annually between 1960 and 1990, in the underdeveloped countries it
averaged 2.3 percent annually during the same period.

49.  Between 1990 and the year 2000, the population growth rate in the
underdeveloped countries will continue to be the highest: 2 percent compared to
0.5 percent in developed countries. It is believed that over 90 percent of
world population growth during the next 10 years will take place in the
underdeveloped countries.

50.  Likewise, the rate of urbanization will continue to be more accelerated in
the underdeveloped countries, as it will be influenced by a constant exodus
from rural areas.  Between 1960 and 1990 the Third World's urban population
increased at an annual average rate of 4 percent, while in the developed
countries urban populations increased by 1.4 percent.

51.  For the period from 1990 to 2000, the urban growth rate in the
underdeveloped countries is expected to remain the same, while in the developed
countries it is expected to decrease to an annual average of 0.8 percent,
according to UNDP estimates. Therefore, by the year 2000, of the 24 cities that
will have more than 10 million inhabitants, 18 will be in underdeveloped
countries, and of the six with over 15 million, four will be in underdeveloped
countries also.

52.  Do not forget that in conditions of underdevelopment, urbanization takes
on a special connotation because of the lack of sufficient adequate
infrastructure solutions.  What really takes place is a process of disorderly
growth of urban groups, primarily in the form of poor neighborhoods, with the
consequent creation of large sources of environmental contamination and
environmental degradation.

53.  Under these conditions, it is much more urgent to face the serious
challenge of ensuring an adequate level of nourishment for all the beings on
earth, and to do so without causing further damage to our worldwide ecological
surroundings. Effective worldwide political resolve is required to achieve
this. Thus far, this has been impossible. Sixty percent of the current world
population lives in countries that have low incomes and food deficits.

54.  The poverty of the Third World is closely linked to the degradation of the
environment.

55.  With the exploitation of natural resources as the primary means of
economic and social reproduction, and without the financial conditions and
technology to adequately confront this issue, literally the only means of
survival in these countries lies increasingly in the overexploitation of
natural resources.

56.  This relative wastage brings more poverty, by way of a shortage of
available financial and technical resources to face the most adverse ecological
conditions.

57.  This creates a degrading vicious circle between the two phenomena. As the
FAO has stated: ``It is precisely those resources that are the source of life
that are destroyed, not out of ignorance, but just to survive one more day.''

58.  The problems of underdevelopment, backwardness, natural disasters, and
armed conflicts in the underdeveloped world, particularly during the decade of
the 1980's, also contributed to a further deterioration of the environment.
This is due to the large number of people who migrated from one country to
another or from one area within a country to another, and the resultant
overexploitation of the natural resources of a given region. This phenomenon is
worsened, in most cases, due to the fact that nothing is done to protect the
environment.

59.  The most serious ecological problems created by this whole situation
center mainly on the degradation of the soils, the creation of desert lands,
flooding and drought, a deterioration in the quality and supply of drinking
water, the loss of soil layers to erosion and deforestation, the loss of
biological diversity, as well as the untapped growth of urban concentrations,
among others. The present situation of these negative processes is much worse
than that registered at the 1972 conference on the urban environment.

60.  At present, close to 1.3 billion people-almost 30 percent of the Third
World population-have no access to sources of drinking water, and over 2.2
billion have no sanitary services. This is relatively worse in rural areas.  In
1990, only 63 percent of the rural population in this group of countries had
drinking water, versus 82 percent of the urban population. Only 49 percent of
the rural inhabitants had adequate sanitary services, versus 72 percent of
urban inhabitants.

61.  Meanwhile, the number of human beings continues to grow whose food supply
hypothetically depends upon a fraction of an acre of farming land. This is the
result of the increasing population and the continuous degradation of the soil.

62.  The lack of financial and technical resources is well known. These
resources would allow Third World farmers to increase the productivity of their
work and the yield of their land, in order to maintain adequate production
levels on the already existing areas of agricultural exploitation. Based on
this, it is understandable that the only short-term solution for these farmers
is to incorporate new extensions of land for their primitive farming methods,
which is the direct cause of some of the worst forms of environmental
deterioration. To this we must add the displacement of the individual farmer
from the more productive lands in certain regions, by extending land tenure
practices, or inversely, the continued subdivision of the land into ever
smaller and unproductive plots. So closes another vicious circle, from which
there seems to be no escape for the impoverished farmer of the underdeveloped
world.

63.  To act in favor of the conservation and improvement of the environment,
then, unavoidably means to act against the causes that foster the degrading
poverty displayed by the Third World as it approaches the 21st century. 
Without a doubt, this will require a series of social and economic changes,
both on a national and international level. Such changes could begin with a
just and lasting solution to the issue of foreign debt in the underdeveloped
nations and with the redirection of available financial and monetary resources
to those development plans.

64.  On this same line, it is quite elementary to say that the world's
expenditure on weapons is still excessively high, particularly as we witness
the fall of socialism in Eastern Europe and the disappearance of the Soviet
Union- which for many means the end of the Cold War and the establishment of a
single-poled world from a political and military standpoint. Although they have
dropped slightly, expenditures surpass $800 billion a year. Underdeveloped
countries account for over $120 billion a year.  It is essential to do away
with the absurd contrast between the mass of resources used for means to
exterminate man and nature, and the need to direct such resources to the
development and conservation of human life and nature.

65.  Analyzed in its environmental scope, interdependence between the backward
and poor underdeveloped world of the South and the industrialized world of the
North grows more pronounced because they exist in one planet.  The
underdeveloped countries have also taken on the battle for the ecological
protection of the Earth. The strategy of this war, however, cannot entail
separating the problems of the environment and the problems of economic and
social development.

66.  Quite to the contrary, if we want to guarantee a future ecological
security, we must endeavor to keep the indiscriminate exploitation of the
environment from becoming pronounced. This exploitation is happening now, due
to the indifference toward the right of development of three-fourths of
mankind. Indifference must be replaced by the recognition of the different
degrees of responsibility regarding this phenomenon and by the establishment of
fair and preferential treatment so that the underdeveloped countries can have
access to the appropriate resources and technologies to this end.

67.  The Ecological Debt of Developed Countries

68.  The underdeveloped countries have insisted on the need for an overall
approach to the search for solutions to the problems of the environment and
development and have supported a restructuring of international economic
relations that would allow those countries to have access to financial
resources and required technologies to undertake sustainable development
programs. From that perspective, the starting point of any negotiation on the
environment and development must be the recognition of the ecological debt the
industrialized nations have contracted.

69.  Nobody can deny in good faith that the foremost factor in the
deterioration of the global environment is the model of economic behavior the
more developed societies created and extended to the rest of the world on the
foundations of their own power and the influence of their instruments to shape
public opinion. A lifestyle based on an irrational zeal for consumption and an
absurd squandering of resources constitutes the chief enemy of the environment
nowadays.

70.  The member countries of the OECD represent barely 16 percent of the world
population and 24 percent of the total world surface. Their economies
contribute 72 percent of the global GNP and generate approximately 76 percent
of the total world commerce, including 73 percent of exports of chemical
products and almost the same percentage of imports of timber products. The OECD
countries are also responsible for 45 percent of the world's emission of carbon
dioxide, 40 percent of the sulfur dioxide emissions, and 50 percent of the
nitrogen oxide emissions. They produce 60 percent of the world's industrial
waste and generate 90 percent of toxic waste.  In 1984, the United States, the
EEC, and Japan produced 86 percent of the world's chlorofluorocarbons, whereas
the Third World countries produced only 4.4 percent.

71.  The OECD countries use 52 percent of the total commercial energy,
including 50 percent of fossil fuels and 56 percent of oil consumed in the
world. Of the 10 countries that generate the most gas emissions that cause the
greenhouse effect, five are highly industrialized. If we incorporate the former
Soviet Union among them, the figure would exceed 40 percent the total
emissions. The United States alone, which spews the largest amount of gases, is
responsible for 17.6 percent of the world total.  The contribution of the
developed countries to the greenhouse effect is four times as large as the
Third World's.

72.  From an historical standpoint, the developed countries have been the chief
promoters and beneficiaries of deforestation in the developed countries [as
received]. It was due to the colonial regime, and later to the economic
expansion of the major capitalist powers and the neocolonial exploitation of
the natural resources of the Third World, that the indiscriminate felling of
forests in vast areas of the world and the exploitation of timber took place.
It turned these forest areas into agricultural land destined to be used for the
production of food and raw materials to be exported to those industrialized
countries.

73.  If the phenomenon is analyzed from a broader prospective, the inevitable
conclusion is that the ultimate responsibility for the accumulated
deterioration of the environment in the Third World as a whole falls on the
developed capitalist world, particularly those countries which, through
colonialist and neocolonialist exploitations, have been historically to blame
for the backwardness and distorted economies of the African, Asian, and Latin
American countries, which in turn have been and continue to be the final cause
of the most generalized and acute environmental problems of the Third World.

74.  The primary producers of pesticides, fertilizers, and other harmful
chemical products continue to be the developed nations, even since the use of
these products has been prohibited. In many cases, these nations are direct
suppliers to other nations or have transferred their technology.

75.  Although the industrialized nations are not the only ones involved in
direct and indirect activities associated with warfare and all related matters
leading to the outbreak of war, they do have a large amount of responsibility
in the worldwide generation of the waste of large volumes of resources involved
in these activities, as well as the consequent environmental deterioration and
alteration in the ecosystems in many regions of the planet. During the Vietnam
War alone, over 80,000 metric tons of defoliant called ``Agent Orange'' were
dropped over that nation, triggering disastrous consequences for the human
physical environment and for health. Radioactive contamination derived from
nuclear explosions and accidents is also associated mainly with the
industrialized nations. It has been estimated that 20 percent of the most
developed nations' industrial contamination comes from factories linked to
military hardware production. The prospecting and extraction of large volumes
of the majority of the metals demanded for military activities have a much
higher level of impact upon the environment than other mining activities.

76.  Too often in the developed capitalist societies the incompatibility
between the ecology, on the one hand, and the principle of profit on the other
is all too evident. There is an immeasurable desire for consumer goods and a
principle goal of individual well-being that are the essential engines of these
societies.

77.  The technological advances for the preservation of the environment in the
transportation sector, for example, have been invalidated by that sector's
uncontrolled growth. This is very true of automobiles because 78 percent of the
automobiles circulate in the industrialized nations.

78.  One of the deficiencies of the environmental control policies in many
developed nations has to do with their retroactive application and the scope of
some regulations. There are still approximately 100,000 chemical compounds that
are used commercially in these nations with risky side effects, and they are
not prohibited because they were in use before certain measures were
established. Although the use of another group of chemical compounds has been
prohibited in these nations, they do allow these compounds to be exported to
other world regions.

79.  Environmental protection policies have been incorporated into the foreign
economic policies of some industrialized nations in such a way that they have
had a significant impact on some of the underdeveloped economies. For example,
since the middle of the last decade, there has been a marked tendency to
condition economic aid to developing nations based upon an alleged criteria of
shared responsibility by both nations in the environmental area.  Strictly
speaking, this aid should be supplied based on the acknowledgement by the
developed nations of their historical responsibility for the economic
development and the environment's deterioration in the Third World and should
not be regarded a matter to be linked to goals that are never achieved.

80.  Historically, the developed nations have contributed to the export of
contamination to the Third World since the decade of the sixties. This system
has been used to transfer the ecological costs derived from the use of certain
technologies. This process comes about in a direct manner, through the export
of industrial wastes or other harmful substances or, in an indirect manner,
through the transfer of contaminating technology and the export or imposition
on the underdeveloped nations of consumption patterns and the application of
wasteful economic practices.

81.  The sending of toxic waste to the Third World represents one of the
sources of contamination exported directly from the North to the South. Because
of the difficult situation of the underdeveloped economies, the opportunity is
used many times to offer them foreign currency or other scarce resources in
exchange for taking toxic waste that, in most cases, is not properly processed
in the receiving countries. In other cases, acid rain, caused basically by the
emissions of industrial pollutants in the developed countries, is transported
by the wind and falls very far from its place of origin, thereby affecting many
developing countries.

82.  The multinational corporations are largely responsible for the process of
transferring contaminating technologies to underdeveloped countries,
particularly since the 1960's. The environmental regulations in these
countries, which favor the import of contaminating technologies, many times
turn out to be sloppy because of the need to receive investment and
technological resources.  The actual development models adopted or imposed on
the South in the last three decades are similar. In the underdeveloped
countries, the multinational corporations participate actively in very
sensitive environmental sectors, such as mining, petroleum extraction,
industry, the preparation of chemical products, refining heavy metals, and
manufacturing automobiles, among others.

83.  Basically, the ecological deterioration of the North has been largely
``exported'' to the South, as part of the large process of capitalist
development. It is precisely the weak underdeveloped economies, where the
noxious effects of their decay are combined with the high levels of poverty and
economic dependence, that has led to the socioeconomic vulnerability of these
nations. It is now up to the developed and rich world to cancel its ecological
debt with the underdeveloped and poor part of mankind through cooperation,
financial, and technical assistance, and through the transfer of clean
environmental technologies. Doing this would only be an act of historical
justice and, ultimately, a show of good sense and a contribution to the actual
welfare and subsequent development of the South.

84.  Global Warming, Underdevelopment, and the Energy Crisis

85.  According to some estimates, 49 percent of the gases that cause the
greenhouse effect come from the energy sector, 24 percent from industry, 14
percent from deforestation, and 13 percent from agriculture. Currently, mankind
consumes 161 million units equivalent to one barrel of petroleum daily, as
compared to global consumption of approximately 8 million units 150 years ago.
It is estimated that by the year 2010, energy demand will increase between 50
and 60 percent.

86.  As is known, the predominant use of fossil fuels-coal, petroleum, and
natural gas-in the consumption of energy results in this sector being
responsible for half of the greenhouse effect. Fossil fuels together represent
more than 90 percent of the world's balance of commercial energy. In the case
of carbon dioxide, considered as the main generator of the greenhouse effect,
the energy sector alone releases approximately 21 billion tons of gas each
year. Seventy percent of this emission is associated with the use of fossil
fuels.

87.  Consequently, the measures to control weather changes are basically aimed
at modifying the current patterns of production and the consumption of energy.

88.  At the international level, the industrialized countries are the main
countries responsible for global warming.  They have based their development,
to a large extent, on an intensive consumption of fossil fuels. Conservative
estimates indicate that highly industrialized countries, with only 15 percent
of the world's population, absorb 50 percent of the world's consumption of
fossil fuels, and they contribute more than 50 percent of the world emissions
of gases that cause the greenhouse effect.

89.  Meanwhile, underdeveloped countries, where three quarters of the world's
population live, absorb less than 18 percent of the global consumption of
fossil fuels. The per capita relationship of fossil fuels consumption between
highly industrialized and underdeveloped countries is eight to one.

90.  According to the experts, the underdeveloped nations' main contribution to
global warming comes about by the emission of carbon dioxide in association
with deforestation. This process is triggered, in part, by the inefficient and
irrational utilization of the traditional biomass fuels such as firewood. In
many Third World nations, approximately 70 percent of the population uses
firewood for energy.  It is estimated that by the year 2000, approximately 2.4
billion persons will live in areas where there will be a serious shortage of
firewood.

91.  When the time comes to establish responsibilities with regard to global
warming, it is not possible to equate the effects of tropical deforestation and
the emission of methane gases derived from certain plantations in
underdeveloped nations with the emissions of contaminating gases from other
sources in developed nations. In all fairness, there must be differential
treatment because the two are phenomena of quite a different nature. While the
majority of the emissions of Third World countries are caused by their state of
underdevelopment and poverty, emissions from the industrial North have been the
result-to a great extent-of the excessive and wasteful use of energy.

92.  The energy conservation programs in the Third World have been very limited
due, to a great extent, to the severe financial and technological restrictions
that these nations face. In 1989, the consumption of petroleum per unit of the
gross national product in that group of nations surpassed by almost 65 percent
the level corresponding to the developed nations. The energy crisis that those
nations face is translated in the following ways: in the low levels of per
capita consumption of commercial energy; in the lack of modern and diversified
networks; in the lack of development of new and renewable resources; in the
limitations to assimilate state-of-the-art technologies such as nuclear energy,
among other problems. Faced with these realities, the majority of the Third
World's population has no other alternative than to deplete the environment
just to survive. In this way, for example, an African household uses five times
more energy for cooking than a European family.

93.  Some writers have demonstrated that the underdeveloped nations could have
reached the standard of living similar to what Western Europe had in the decade
of the 1970's, without the need to substantially increase the consumption of
energy per capita. This scenario presupposes the use of more efficient energy
technologies, the investment of large financial resources to substitute for the
current structure of energy consumption based, in the majority of cases, on the
irrational use of traditional biomass fuels, such as firewood and animal and
vegetable wastes.

94.  In view of the above, the energy sector should have top priority when
evaluating the Third World's financial and technological needs, in order to
break the existing vicious circle between the energy crisis, technological
underdevelopment, and the deterioration of the environment in general. In the
framework of the international negotiations regarding changes in climate, the
underdeveloped nations have spoken in favor of creating a global system to
transfer financial resources and suitable environmental technologies that would
allow these nations to reduce the emission of gases contributing to the
greenhouse effect and, at the same time, to establish the basis for a process
of sustained economic development.

95.  In this context, the levels of gas emissions from the greenhouse effect,
so unequal between developed and underdeveloped nations, should also be a
starting point in the negotiations. These should also be analyzed from a
historical perspective that would allow us to recognize the accumulated effect
of the environment's deterioration caused by the emissions of the
industrialized nations. Likewise, the principle that each of the planet's
inhabitants has equal access to the atmosphere should be observed and,
therefore, the establishment of emission quotas should be based, in any case,
on a per capita distribution.

96.  Among the multiple initiatives presented to limit the emission of gases
due to the greenhouse effect, the two proposals that have generated greater
debate are those that refer to the establishment of a tax on the consumption of
the diverse sources of energy, in terms of the amount of carbon dioxide each
releases, and emission permits that could be marketed at the international
level according to the laws of the market.

97.  Some studies coincide in stating that the application of taxes on carbon
dioxide emissions would translate into higher internal energy prices in the
developed countries, with the ensuing slowdown in the growth of these
economies.  Consequently, a contraction of the largest foreign markets of the
underdeveloped countries would take place, which would put additional financial
pressure on those nations. It could increase imported inflation, raise
international interest rates, and reduce the world flow of credits. Some
estimates indicate that for each percentage point reduction of commercial
activity in OECD countries, the rate of economic growth of underdeveloped
countries would shrink by 0.7 percentage points. This reveals the high degree
of subordination and dependence of the underdeveloped economies with respect to
the industrialized North.

98.  According to a study conducted by the Secretariat of OPEC, the gross
domestic product of underdeveloped countries would register accumulated losses
of between $600 million and $3.7 billion for the period 1991-2010, as a result
of the forceful policies on carbon dioxide implemented by the OECD. A
considerable portion of such losses would correspond to the countries that
export energy, which would see their foreign currency revenues decrease
considerably. In the underdeveloped non-OPEC member countries, the average rate
of annual growth of the gross domestic product for the period 1991-2010 would
suffer a contraction of between 0.1 and 0.8 percentage points. These countries,
which are mostly net importers of energy, would certainly become less dependent
if international petroleum prices were reduced, which could result from the
implementation of taxes on carbon dioxide in the OECD countries.

99.  In the event that the implementation of these policies in the OECD became
generalized, the developed countries should assume the responsibility for
compensating developing countries for the losses incurred because of this
measure. Some studies funded by the United Nations suggest that a part of the
funds received by way of these tax policies be devoted to the Third World in
order to finance sustainable development. Otherwise, underdeveloped countries
would be the ones to assume a large part of the cost of the adjustment that,
undoubtedly, must be implemented by developed countries to alleviate the
deterioration of the environment.

100.  In addition, there is the potential danger that a relocation or
displacement of the activities that release carbon dioxide within the OECD
countries would occur towards other regions of the world, where taxes are
either lower or nonexistent. This would reinforce the trend of transferring
contaminating technologies to the Third World and, as a result, the effect of
the aforementioned forceful policies on the global emissions of carbon dioxide. 
Because of this, these forceful policies must be accompanied by regulations for
the activity of multinational companies outside of their country of origin, so
as to force these companies to assume commitments toward sustainable
development.

101.  Meanwhile, the negotiable emission permits represent a market mechanism
that, according to its promoters, is the most effective way to control the
emissions of carbon dioxide and, at the same time, to secure the financial
resources needed by underdeveloped countries. These resources are needed to
face the problems of underdevelopment and the deterioration of the environment. 
The defenders of this mechanism claim that by granting emission permits to each
country based on per capita quotas, most underdeveloped countries would receive
permits well above their level of emission in the short term. These permits
could, therefore, be sold to industrialized countries that have exceeded their
quotas. This will permit underdeveloped countries to receive large amounts of
financial resources, which could then be used to finance programs and
technological policies aimed at adjusting the level of emissions to a lower
level. In addition, developed countries would be stimulated to increase energy
efficiency and transfer more effective energy technologies to the nations of
the Third World.

102.  However, an enormous danger for developing countries lies behind the
apparent goodness of this proposal.  Given the severe financial restrictions
that underdeveloped nations are facing and the important decisionmaking power
of developed countries, large numbers of the emission permits of underdeveloped
countries could be liquidated at sale prices, and substantial portions of the
revenues from such sales could be taken up by servicing the debt or covering
other financial deficits, without having any significant impact on the
development of safe environmental technologies.

103.  Even those who would promote exchanging debts for emission permits are
sure to appear; a practice which undoubtedly will have serious implications for
the Third World.

104.  It is no coincidence that there is an intention to use market mechanisms
as the main solution to environmental problems, as part of the wave of
neoliberalism currently circling the globe. Under such a system of
commercialization of emission permits-contamination permits would be a more
fitting name-the socioeconomic activity of the underdeveloped countries could
be seriously limited, as permits are sold without making the necessary
adjustments to improve energy efficiency, specifically speaking, and the
economy, generally speaking.  Within the framework of the emerging new world
order, this could be one of the possible ways of handling the theory of
sustainable development, which would benefit the interests of the developed
countries and reinforce the underdeveloped South's relationship of
subordination and dependence with the industrialized North.

105.  Biodiversity and Development

106.  Mankind has constantly been affecting the natural habitat of living
species-including his own-in his adaptation process, as he sought food,
shelter, energy, and clothing, among other things. As a result of man's
actions, the resulting disappearance of plant, animal, and microscopic species
has accelerated to an ever greater rate. The rate of disappearance was
calculated at one per day in 1980 and at one per hour in 1990.

107.  In general terms, it is estimated that approximately 250,000 species-one
quarter of the earth's total biodiversity-are in danger of extinction within
the next 20 to 30 years. Some specialists suggest that some 350 bird species,
200 mammals, and about 25,000 plant species are on the verge of disappearing.
The loss of these world-wide genetic resources constitutes the most serious and
irreversible consequences of deforestation and, in general, of the
deterioration of the physical existence of the globe.

108.  This problem is related to the phenomenon of underdevelopment, as perhaps
no other problem of the many that make up the so-called ecological crisis.
Underdeveloped countries, because of the geographical area they occupy, possess
the most important natural riches and the widest variety of biological
reserves. They also develop under socioeconomic conditions that promote the
over exploitation of such resources. In the tropical rain forests, for example,
which could contain up to 90 percent of the world's biological diversity, the
extinction rate and the alteration of their habitat has increased, mostly as a
result of deforestation.

109.  Other habitats rich in species, which are also in danger of extinction,
are the coral reefs, geologically old lakes, and swamps and marshlands. The
coral reefs, in particular, extending over 400,000 square km of the earth's
surface and sheltering an estimated 500,000 species, are suffering the effects
of the gradual warming, ocean pollution, and human predation. The rate of
deterioration threatens to leave just a small and devastated reminder by the
beginning of the next century. This would mean an enormous loss of living
organisms and toxins that are of great medical importance.

110.  The biodiversity loss can also be seen in the deterioration of the
genetic diversity of each species-a phenomenon that suggests a progressive loss
and possible disappearance of certain varieties within a specific species or
breed. It seems quite contradictory to observe how science and technology are
allowed to explore and exploit the widest genetic variety of animal and
vegetable species, while that same genetic variety is in such danger.
Furthermore, the relatively faster reduction or disappearance of certain
species which we know little or nothing about, is very disquieting. Scientists
have carried out extensive studies on one out of every 100 vegetable species
and on even less of the animal species.  At the current rate, an unforeseeable
number of species will be extinct before even being discovered by man, much
less making use of their unknown potential. This will have serious ecological
and economic consequences.

111.  Socioeconomic, and, in particular, technological factors have influenced
this process. It is now recognized that as a result of the so-called green
revolution, agriculture was turned into a process that is heavily dependent on
chemicals, which had a severe impact in the environment. It also promoted a
deterioration of genetic diversity because the harvests of high-yield hybrids
was preferred.

112.  In this same respect, voices are increasingly being heard regarding the
positive and negative implications that the accelerated biotechnical
development of recent years may have in the foreseeable future, especially in
its applications on the food industry. Progress in the techniques of genetic
manipulations make it possible to foresee, and in fact some of it has already
been achieved, an improvement of plants and animals-in terms of their
adaptation to the environment, as well as in their productive possibilities,
the incorporation of now barren land to production, and even the production of
food from unnatural raw materials, among many other uses.  To be sure, all of
this establishes the need to preserve that diversity as the sole means of
guaranteeing the biological source of genetic engineering.

113.  Now more than ever, the underdeveloped countries are in urgent need of
knowledge and scientific and technical development. This development would
provide the solutions to many economic, social, and ecological problems,
because, in the current phase of capitalist development, scientific knowledge
plays a central role in the accumulation of capital. Modern biotechnology could
constitute a path for economic development and the fulfillment of many food,
energy, and health needs of South countries, which possess ecosystems with the
greatest biodiversity and the majority of the so-called centers of phytogenetic
diversity.

114.  Based on the possibilities stemming from the development of modern
biotechnology, the genetic resources of the underdeveloped world have acquired
an extraordinary value. This takes place within a context of the great
dependence on foreign technology of those countries, which also have very
precarious systems to guard against the commercial appropriation of the genetic
material they own.

115.  The essential characteristics of the current biotechnological development
do not seem to point toward net gains by the underdeveloped countries, which
would be the producers in greatest need of this new technology. Just as it
happened with the green revolution, the poor Third World producers will not
have access in general terms to those breakthroughs, nor will their dependence
on foreign products be reduced. What is more, with the process to save and
replace raw materials that the biotechnological-and, in general,
technological-progress is making possible in the industrialized nations, the
major Third World exports are receiving a serious blow.

116.  In fact, the control and mastery over genetic resources constitutes a new
form of looting of the Third World and becomes a chief objective of
transnational companies in this field. The monopoly that those major companies
exert over advanced biotechnological research means that work is not done on
what is more necessary, but on what offers the greatest commercial
possibilities. The example of seeds is sufficiently eloquent. The expansion by
the major transnational chemical and pharmaceutical companies toward the seed
sector places the Third World producers in a position of greater subordination
and dependence, as they are now the buyers of a more expensive technological
package based on the interests of these companies rather than on the economic
and ecological interests of the agricultural production of the underdeveloped
countries.

117.  The private nature of advanced biotechnological research in the developed
countries causes this activity to be conducted under conditions of increasing
secrecy, as the chief objective is to produce a new product that can be
patented and, with it, obtain technological profits.  That situation
constitutes a major obstacle for the transfer of technology to the
underdeveloped countries.  In addition, it prevents these countries from having
access to higher academic centers so they can train their scientific cadres.

118.  The boom of the privatization process, joined with the supreme interest
of maximizing profits, have a growing impact over the new mechanisms of control
of intellectual property rights on biotechnological progress and, even, of
control over the national patrimony of the underdeveloped countries.

119.  They are trying to impose a patent system on underdeveloped countries,
which, in the first place, disavows the right of participation of these
countries in the final benefits. These countries contribute the life source for
new discoveries and, for hundreds of years, have contributed to their
improvement and natural selection, making an important contribution. Second,
underdeveloped countries would be even less capable, particularly financially,
of access to such advancements. But the most serious thing is that the
extension of market mechanisms to problems related to the conservation of
biodiversity could be paving the way for the loss of national sovereignty over
natural resources.

120.  The proposals for the conservation of biodiversity are related to the
concerns over the loss or the erosion of it.  All specialists agree on the
superiority of conservation of the ecosystems and the species in their natural
surroundings, but generally speaking, underdeveloped countries lack financial
resources for this. The conservation of germ plasm [germoplasma] takes place in
more than 450 institutions around the world: Fifty percent of these collections
are located in industrialized countries, 21 percent in the banks of germ plasm
of international centers, and 29 percent in developing countries.

121.  Currently, a great deal of pressure is being exerted favoring the
privatization of the collections of international centers of agricultural
research that, like those related to the FAO and UNESCO, have so far permitted
free access to their genetic resources. The World Bank has recommended that
these centers establish financial agreements and implement patents and other
forms of rights of property. Different initiatives by the FAO aimed at
protecting free access to the phytogenetic resources have interfered with the
interests of multinational corporations and the industrialized countries.

122.  All of the aforementioned are the reasons why negotiations on a
convention on biodiversity, as part of the preparatory process of this summit
in Rio, has caused particular concern among underdeveloped countries.

123.  Everything seems to indicate that the developed countries, especially the
United States, seek to achieve a convention that will guarantee them free
access to and a greater control over the national and sovereign resources of
the underdeveloped countries, without recognizing those countries' rights as
owners of the biological and genetic resources that are a source of knowledge
and scientific and technological development. At the same time, highly
industrialized countries are trying to establish at the Uruguay Round stricter
control over the rights of intellectual property, including biotechnological
advancements.

124.  It must be insisted that in any convention on biodiversity that favors in
a preferred manner the interests of industrialized countries, as well as any
alternative attempt on the part of the United States to impose declarations of
principle on this matter, would not only represent a threat to the sovereignty
of the underdeveloped countries, but would also constitute legal instruments
that might serve to reinforce the conditions imposed on economic aid to the
Third World. Indeed, if any modification to living organisms can be patented
and can result in profits, how will the underdeveloped countries be compensated
for their contribution to the genetic diversity that serves and will serve as a
basis for obtaining what has been modified? How will the Third World be able to
protect its natural resources and, especially, its biological diversity so that
it can serve its very development?

125.  Financial Resources and Technology Transfer

126.  According to preliminary estimates, all underdeveloped countries would
require no less than $40 billion extra per year to invest in programs aimed at
achieving environment sustainability, based on 1990 level of economic activity.
This amount represents 25 percent of the total payments made by these countries
to service their foreign debt during that year. In 2000, the necessary amount
would total approximately $60 billion.

127.  Some ecological organizations have stated that the implementation of
Agenda 21 requires approximately $125 billion annually in assistance for the
Third World until the end of the century, without considering the contribution
that will have to be made by those very underdeveloped countries. Other
estimates indicate that if the needs of the Third World to protect the
environment are added to the needs for socially needed growth, the amount of
additional capital required would total approximately $60 billion in 1990 and
close to $140 billion in 2000.

128.  Considering the large amount of resources that are needed and the serious
financial restrictions the underdeveloped countries are facing, making
substantial investments for environmental goals would chiefly depend on an
overall, just, and lasting solution to the serious problems these economies are
facing. These problems include the huge foreign debt, the transference of
resources abroad-which is linked to the foreign debt problem-trade barriers
that restrict access to world markets under conditions of equality, and
existing limitations to technology transfer to the Third World.  Nobody is
denying the need for underdeveloped countries to work in designing their own
strategies for socioeconomic development to ensure the sustained expansion of
their productive capacity, cope with serious social problems, correct
environmental problems of the past, and avoid a subsequent deterioration of the
environment based on the available resources. It is evident, however, that
foreign financing plays a major role. This is the first way to pay the
ecological debt of the developed world.

129.  Foreign financing for sustainable development cannot be the result of a
redistribution of the already scarce financial resources that reach the
underdeveloped countries, but a flow of new capital. Otherwise, the topic of
the environment would only constitute a new condition imposed on the foreign
aid. The additional flow of capital, in addition, must be granted under
favorable payment conditions, in terms of interest, as well as in terms of
payback periods, including the possible allocation of a considerable volume of
nonreimbursable loans.

130.  According to some estimates, to cover the pledged amounts of Official Aid
for Development and the additional financial resources required by the
underdeveloped countries for environmental purposes, the developed countries
should earmark no less than 1 percent of their GNP every year to the
underdeveloped nations as ``official aid for sustainable development.'' That
would mean the developed countries should earmark an additional contribution of
at least .3 percent of their GNP to the Third World's environmental programs.
These estimates exclude the financial flow to the former socialist countries of
Eastern Europe.

131.  The fact is, however, that, in general terms, although there have been a
few exceptions, the developed countries have been reluctant to acquire
commitments regarding additional financing for sustainable development.

132.  On the matter of the discussions on the need for additional flows of
resources for environmental purposes, we often hear the concept of
``association for additions'', which means the need to formulate the policies
and strategies of the developing countries among each other as a precondition
to stimulate the flow of financial resources earmarked for environmental
purposes. Every attempt directed at attaining a greater coordination of
economic policies among the underdeveloped countries no doubt tends to make
their economies more complementary, chiefly within the framework of systems of
economic integration. If, however, the idea under the heading of ``association
for additions'' is to expand neoliberal formulas among Third World countries
for the purpose of bringing more foreign capital, the counterproductive effects
of such an attempt would entail serious negative consequences for the
socioeconomic future of those countries.

133.  One of the new financing mechanisms that one often hears mentioned lately
is called the debt-for-nature swap. By virtue of that principle, part of the
foreign debt of a underdeveloped country can be purchased by foreign
governments or nongovernment organizations at a certain discount. The
equivalent of that debt, sometimes at a discount, in the national currency of
the country in question could then be invested in the debtor country in
programs to conserve the environment, which would include the establishment of
protected areas.

134.  Up until now, the true scope of those programs have been rather limited.
According to a report by the U.S.  Congress, from 1986 to 1990, a total of 27
such operations were conducted in 13 underdeveloped countries.  The nominal
value of the recovered debt totaled $125 million, which amounts to less than .5
percent of the total debt of those countries. Two-thirds of the foreign debt
that has been swapped in Costa Rica only reduced its foreign debt by 2 percent.

135.  The debt-for-nature swap, regardless of the good intentions of
environmentalists, does not resolve the following problems. First, it does not
solve the problem of the debt as it does not attack the causes that generate
it.  But, above all, it entails the potential loss of sovereignty of the
country in question, especially when the agreements achieved restrict the
rights of the debtor state over specific natural resources or areas that have
been declared as protected by way of this procedure. This mechanism also
suffers from the negative aspects typical of every foreign debt capitalization
transaction, such as the inflationary impact on the economy of the debtor
country, among others. In general, in these programs, the projects of interest
to the party that promotes the transaction or those of international importance
receive priority. These programs, in many cases, are not those which may
interest underdeveloped countries.

136.  In addition to the bilateral debt-for-nature transactions, the
possibility to create a multilateral organization that, through a central fund,
would purchase debts at a discount and would use these securities [titulos] to
finance sustainable development programs through negotiations with debtor
countries has been analyzed.  Even in this manner, it appears evident that the
debt-for-nature swap programs are far from being the right mechanism to connect
a fair solution to the problem of the debt with the efforts to face the
problems of the environment in the Third World.

137.  The serious financial difficulties of the underdeveloped countries to
confront the problems of the environment and development have an important
significance on examining the existing limitations to the transfer of
technologies environmentally proper for the Third World. During the past
decade, characterized by the negative impact of the foreign debt on the Third
World, a growing displacement of these nations in the flow of technological
transfer occurred, encompassing both trade of capital goods and foreign direct
investments and technical assistance.

138.  Given the fragile nature of the ecosystems of underdeveloped nations and
the scarce resources these countries have to face the deterioration of the
environment, the transfer of environmentally proper technologies represent a
basic component of sustainable development.  Among the most common obstacles to
the transfer of state-of-the-art technologies to underdeveloped countries
are-in addition to the financial restrictions associated directly or indirectly
with the debt problem-the deficit of qualified labor force and the lack of an
adequate infrastructure to secure the dissemination of the new technologies.

139.  As a result of the profound transformations associated with the current
scientific-technical revolution, important changes in the corporate strategies
of multinational companies have occurred. These strategies favor the formation
of strategic alliances between firms based in developed countries to face the
high costs of research and development, as well as to guarantee greater
protection for the rights of intellectual property. This reinforces the
transfer of advanced technologies between these corporations, which cooperate
among themselves, thereby affecting the transfer of technologies to the Third
World.

140.  These new corporate strategies have received great support from the
commercial policies of industrialized countries. Indeed, the governments of
these countries, particularly that of the United States, have exerted great
pressure on the negotiations at the Uruguayan Round to liberalize the services
and impose stricter and more uniform regulations to protect the rights of
intellectual property.

141.  The establishment of these kinds of protection systems would translate
into an increase in the price of imported technologies, especially in the case
of industries that make frequent use of patents. This would demand the use of
additional resources on the part of underdeveloped countries, which must be
considered in the new agreements and protocols that are signed concerning
environmental protection.

142.  As the demand for environmentally safe technologies is determined to a
great extent by the specific geographical and socioeconomic conditions of the
underdeveloped countries, in many cases, these technologies cannot be
transferred from abroad. Consequently, it is necessary to develop internal
technological capabilities that will allow us-in addition to assimilating-to
adapt and develop imported technologies, create a new understanding, and
generate our own technologies.

143.  In view of the underdeveloped countries' financial and technological
vulnerability, we can no longer delay the establishment of international
pledges guaranteeing the basic conditions for the economies of the South to
make the transition to sustainable patterns of development.  Otherwise, the
vicious circle that exists between underdevelopment, poverty, and environmental
deterioration will be perpetuated, with serious ecological and socioeconomic
consequences, not only for the Third World but for all of humanity.

144.  Sustainable Development, Neoliberalism, and Environment

145.  Taking advantage of important changes in the correlation of economic and
political forces at an international level, the industrialized countries are
insisting on the global nature of environmental problems for the obvious
purpose of watering down their huge responsibility within a worldwide framework
and, based on this, are making burdensome demands on the Third World. An effort
is thus being made to turn the process of internationalizing the ecology
movement into just another element of the prospective new world order.

146.  As is well-known, in the heat of the international debate and in the
context of the process of internationalizing ecological awareness, the concept
of ``sustainable development,'' has been widely disseminated. This concept is
interpreted as development capable of fulfilling current needs without
affecting the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It cannot
be denied that the idea conceives development as a harmonious process in which
the exploitation of resources, investments, technological change, and
institutional transformations must be in keeping with the needs of the planet's
current population and its future inhabitants. The concept of sustainable
development is an effort to define a higher, more egalitarian, and humane form
of development.

147.  The concept of sustainable development has been a success because it
places the ecological problem in a relevant position and establishes the need
for global action, transcending the present and projecting to the future the
urgency of protecting the natural foundation of life. It views poverty as a
situation of inequality that must be fully defeated, and it accurately portrays
demographic growth as a consequence of poverty. The ecology-development
binomial is not interpreted as an irreconcilable dichotomy, but as
interconnected elements.

148.  Nevertheless, despite its increasingly widespread acceptance, the theory
of sustainable development is not exempt from contradictions and limitations.
One of them is its ambiguous nature in that it identifies the social
disparities existing in the current world, but does not recognize the
mechanisms that have generated that inequality. A consistent interpretation of
sustainable development must originate from the acknowledgment that
underdevelopment is the consequence of the looting of the Third World,
prolonged in our times by an international economic order that takes advantage
of the mechanisms of indebtedness, the unfair international division of work,
commercial protectionism and the use of financial flow to intensify the
exploitation of the underdeveloped countries and, therefore, the consequent
ecological depredation resulting from this situation.

149.  Meanwhile, there is a trend toward viewing sustainable development as a
method where it is possible to reconcile the conservation of the environment,
social equality, economic growth, and the forces of the market. It is not
difficult to perceive the aura of a new utopia where the sustainable
development concept would be determined by the will of the market forces to
guarantee a balanced and egalitarian socioeconomic and environmental
development, which would entail a danger for the underdeveloped countries'
socioeconomic future entailed in the ``green market'' idea.

150.  The ``green market'' concept, which reveals the presence of the fatal
neoliberal seal on the discussions of environment and development, tends to
favor those economic agents interested in legalizing the right to damage the
environment and to commercialize that right.

151.  There are also attempts to impose another limitation on the heretofore
practical implementation of the thesis of sustainable development: the
suggestion that multilateral agencies dominated by more developed countries,
which are responsible in a great measure for the activities that cause more
deterioration to the world's ecology, should be in charge of the transition to
a more harmonious, equitable, and ecologically safe development. The guidelines
for a ``sustainable'' social and economic development process are based on the
assumption that it will achieve an international atmosphere of understanding,
justice, and equity. The recognition that the whole world is responsible for a
solution to the leading ecological problems will undoubtedly tend to unite the
nations in the search for joint solutions.

152.  However, the consensus disappears when it is time to determine
responsibilities among nations and establish commitments concerning essential
international cooperation, trade regulations, foreign aid, and the transfer of
technologies, among other issues. The international popularity achieved by
neoliberal speeches and customs in the early 1980's, together with the
emergence of old theories about a ``perfect market,'' had a considerable effect
on the world's ecological debate. The reappearance of the philosophy that free
enterprise is an infallible formula to correct economic imbalances has been
sponsored by specific conservative political groups that have prevailed since
early in the last decade in some highly industrialized states, such as the
United States and the United Kingdom.

153.  Referring to ecological issues, although international practice has
proven the governments' active participation in the protection of natural
resources is irreplaceable, those who sponsor the idea of a ``green market''
minimize the state's role in ecological issues. They circumvent the existing
contradiction between short-term commercial interests, which tend to accelerate
the depredation of natural resources and the necessary protection of those same
natural resources according to society's long-term interests.

154.  In fact, certain states and groups are currently trying to impose the
idea about a ``green market'' in the relations between developed and
underdeveloped countries, under the pretext of countering the world's
ecological challenges. For example, there is a proposal to establish and
commercialize permits at the international level for the emission of polluting
gases. If this becomes generalized, it might have very negative effects for the
future of underdeveloped nations.

155.  Generally speaking, the strong pressure exerted at the international
level to increase the area of action of neoliberal policies is very worrisome,
above all when this is imposed on underdeveloped nations or when it becomes
part of North-South relations. Referring to this, it is important to emphasize
the highly negative ecological impact caused by the monetarist, restrictive,
opportunistic, and privatizing guidelines that characterize macroeconomic
adjustment programs recommended by the IMF to debtor countries.

156.  These adjustment programs suggest, among other things, cutting public
expenses and achieving a foreign trade balance at all costs, in order to
guarantee foreign debt service payments. The programs likewise suggest the
reduction of the state's participation in the economy to a minimum, based on
the neoliberal policy that state activities are intrinsically inefficient. They
advocate a large-scale privatization process.

157.  Investments for the ecology's protection become one of the first issues
to be postponed as a result of the cut in public expenses. Also, the recourse
of increasing export volumes, at the expense of excessively exploiting
renewable and nonrenewable natural resources, is frequently part of the efforts
to balance the foreign trade balance at all costs. However, these efforts do
not always yield the expected results.

158.  Recent studies to analyze the social and economic impact of the IMF's
adjustment programs reveal that the international financial organization's
formulas not only ignore poverty and ecology problems but also encourage
underdeveloped countries to disregard these two problems as much as possible.

159.  One of these studies shows that 78 percent of the 48 IMF adjustment
programs implemented from 1986 to 1990 included a reduction of public
expenditures, particularly in the social field.

160.  This is how the debtor countries' governments met this demand. Budgets
for housing, public health, or economic assistance were reduced in 92 of the
countries, 62 percent reduced the funds earmarked for two of the three sectors
mentioned earlier, and 29 percent cut all funds for social expenses by more
than 20 percent.

161.  These adjustment programs not only have a high environmental direct cost,
but are a fundamental factor in increasing social imbalance, particularly the
poverty that has afflicted developing countries in recent years. Thus, these
programs also contribute indirectly to the environment's degradation. No doubt,
the neoliberal adjustment formulas are an essential link in the crisis that in
the 1980's completed the chain of compelling factors in the structural poverty
that accompanies, from the beginning, any undeveloped economy.

162.  Ecological Policy and Cuban Reality

163.  The concern over protection and conservation of natural resources,
regarded as a patrimony of all the people, was born in Cuba since the 1959
revolution's triumph. The efforts in the early years to restore the forests,
devastated during the colonization years and later, during the expansion of
sugarcane and cattle latifundios, are worth mentioning.

164.  In Cuba, a socialist country, the environment and natural resources are a
shared patrimony of the society and are, therefore, of special interest for the
nation as a whole. Consequently, the entire society devotes attention to
environmental problems. The Constitution of the Republic, promulgated in 1976
after it was approved in a referendum, expressly makes it mandatory for the
state and every citizen to protect the country's environment and natural
resources. In 1981, the People's Government National Assembly, the country's
highest legislative body, approved a law to protect the environment and ensure
the rational use of natural resources. The so-called National Protection System
was approved in 1990 as a continuation of the activities leading to the
creation of a standard system for the protection of the environment.

165.  A National Commission for the Protection of the Environment and the
Rational Use of the National Resources, formed by representatives of various
state institutions and civilian circles, was created in 1977.  Similar
committees were created in every province and municipality in the country in
1980.

166.  The radical social change effected by the Cuban revolution has directly
and favorably influenced the environment by transforming the living conditions,
thereby creating the requirements so that man is not forced to attack the
environment. Access to work, the development of a broad health system based on
man's well-being, and the marked elevation of the population's general
education level, as well as technical and professional qualifications, have
played a fundamental role in environmental protection.

167.  On this basis and over 30 years of revolution, important environmental
achievements have been attained, such as the recovery and adequate use of
hydraulic resources, the creation of a vast system of parks and protected
areas, and the application of consistent policies for the protection of flora
and fauna and biodiversity, among many others that could be mentioned.
Considerable environmental problems still persist in the country, however. 
Efforts are being made to control and solve them.

168.  One of these problems deals with pollution centers in bays. In the case
of the Bay of Havana, valuable international cooperation has been received for
diagnosing the problem and applying a solution. An effort has been made to
reverse the situation of some degraded and eroded soils, particularly in mining
areas. We have also been working on the solution of some local problems dealing
with the pollution of surface waters, mainly by the sugar industry's runoff.

169.  Progress has been achieved in the recovery of beaches and coastal areas
damaged by erosion. One work of considerable scope is the so-called southern
dam in Havana Province. Its recent completion will stop and reverse the
salinization process in tens of thousands of hectares of potentially arable
land. Also, water resources, vital in meeting water requirements for
agriculture, industry, and the population of Havana will be recovered.

170.  From the moment that tourism, as a tool for the country's development in
its specific situation, was given a strategic priority status, all the
infrastructure work on beaches, keys, and other potential tourist zones was
carried out following a careful evaluation of the environmental impact these
works could have. There is permanent and strict control on tourism-related
investments.  Cuba's favorable environmental conditions are fundamental
premises in the tourist industry's development plans, which include a
significant achievement of strictly ecological tourism.

171.  Another environmental field that is receiving priority attention in Cuba
is the sea beds. In this regard, we can point to the strict measures being
implemented to protect coral ridges.

172.  In today's Cuba, increased and widespread ecological awareness is one of
the most important means available for the protection of the environment.
Consistent implementation of these policies has produced significant
accomplishments. In the past 30 years, the country's forest areas have
increased from 14 percent to 20 percent, and there are plans to plant 1.5
billion trees in the current five-year period. There is no significant
atmospheric contamination problem in Cuba.

173.  The first actions aimed at securing an integral utilization of the
country's mountain regions were initiated in the 1960's. Today, this program,
which together with the programs to protect the environment, is aimed at:
improving rural communication, safeguarding cultural values, and improving the
people's standard of living. It is being implemented in all the mountain
regions of Cuba, which cover 18 percent of the national territory.  Forest
restoration and coffee and cacao plantation increases which have resulted from
this are notable and have had significant social rewards. In recent years, the
process of migration to the cities is beginning to turn around in almost all of
the country's mountain regions.

174.  The development secured by Cuban society is expressed by the people's
collective equity and participation. Foreign experts have reached illustrative
conclusions on this through independent research. The annual per capita GNP
[gross national product] growth between 1960 and 1985 was 3.1 percent. The
lower income sector-40 percent of the population-receives 26 percent of the
total income. In 1986, the Gini income distribution quotient-an internationally
acknowledged statistic scale for measuring degrees of income equity-was 0.22. 
This places Cuba among the most equitable countries in the world in this
aspect.

175.  Cuba's equity is guaranteed also by the collective and extensive access
that the Cuban people have to fundamental social services that determine the
standard and quality of living. This situation is perfectly measurable by
well-known indicators. Some people could be surprised by the fact that in the
past 30 years, Cubans, whose per capita income is 10 times smaller than those
of the seven most industrialized countries, have secured health and education
levels that are similar, and in some cases superior, to those of the seven most
developed countries of the world. For example:

176.  life expectancy, somewhat more than 75 years of age, is similar to that
of developed countries; in Cuba there are more doctors per population than in
those countries as a whole; the number of births attended by medical personnel
is the same; the percentage of children given immunity against the most
notorious diseases is higher in Cuba; elementary and secondary school education
is similar, and the number of compulsory years in school is the same.

177.  If this comparison with the world's richest countries were not enough to
convince anyone of the equitable nature of Cuban society, then we could also
take a look at how these indicators fluctuate in the country's various regions.

178.  If the differences between national and provincial figures on the main
social indexes are observed, it will be seen that the minimum and maximum
variations for each of these indexes are usually small. This means that these
national averages do not mask large regional differences.  Maximum indexes,
which show the indicators at their best, are rarely found in the capital. On
the contrary, these indexes often appear in areas that were among the country's
most undeveloped before the revolution.

179.  At present, Cuba faces the most difficult challenge in its history. We
all know that the changes in the old socialist countries of Eastern Europe, as
well as in what is now the former Soviet Union, have had strong repercussions
on Cuba's economy. Approximately 85 percent of Cuba's trade was with these
countries. For this reason, in addition to the aggravated blockade that the
United States has applied for over 30 years, our country must suffer the
effects of a second blockade brought about by these international changes.

180.  In September 1990 the so-called special peacetime period was established,
which was a process to readjust for these challenges. It demanded the greatest
rationality and austerity of economic and social policies as well as the
application of numerous creative initiatives, many of them originated by the
people. Many of the measures taken, conditioned by the special peacetime
period, fit strategies outlined by the revolution. Some of these initiatives
have contributed to expediting the application of policies in the country to
defend the environment. One example of this is the measures taken to cope with
the reduction of imported crude oil.

181.  The most marked feature of these measures is that the country has
succeeded in dealing with the necessary reduction of energy consumption with
formulas to guarantee social equity and the people's participation, with
significant benefits from the ecological viewpoint. The price was not raised in
order to reduce the consumption of electricity in homes. Such a raise would
have affected the sectors with the least income. However, a top consumption
figure was established, with variations in accordance with the past average
consumption. Families were aware of this information and were able to plan the
necessary reduction of consumption.

182.  Regarding transportation, a novelty solution was introduced with the mass
import of hundreds of thousands of bicycles. Several plants were modified to
manufacture them locally, and nearly 1 million of these vehicles have been
distributed to workers and students. The proliferation of cyclists of all ages
is perfectly consistent with the policies implemented for years for the health
of all, including gymnastics programs for the elderly. Thus, the current fuel
shortage, although it affects daily life, has had a positive effect on the
environment.

183.  Other examples of this nature, involving collective solutions that are
valuable from the ecological viewpoint, are the increased use of natural
medicine extracted from plants and leaves, the creation of small vegetable
gardens-even in residential areas-taking advantage of gardens and terraces, the
increasing use of animal power in agriculture, the development of earthworm
breeding, and many others.

184.  As an alternative solution to the difficulties encountered in the special
peacetime period, it is possible for our country to capitalize on one of our
most important attainments: the technical and scientific qualifications of the
people. The results of priority investment in the formation of human resources
are significant in the country. This is expressed in cultural wealth that leads
to important yields from scientific research and the immediate application to
production of formulas harmless to the environment.

185.  During the special peacetime period, it has also become necessary to seek
alternative solutions in agricultural and livestock production by markedly
lowering the import of chemical fertilizers and pesticides as well as cattle
fodder.

186.  Several results of the scientific research done in recent years are
quickly being put into practice. Because of their ecological value and degree
of generalization, the most outstanding ones are: organic fertilizers such as
Azotobacter, Ryzobium, and Micorriza; the development of biological plague and
disease controls, particularly in the reproduction centers of the entomophagous
and entomopathogenous varieties, of which a broad network has been quickly
produced; the search for solutions involving animal feed, such as a system of
rational rotation of feeding grounds for livestock and natural fertilization by
cattle; the preparation of fodder from sugarcane or the by-products of the
sugar industry; and other new solutions that have been implemented very quickly
throughout the country once its viability and advisability have been
determined.

187.  In the case of the sugar industry-the main industrial item of the
country-great progress has been made in the treatment of residue and its use,
not only for animal fodder, but for other uses such as new sources of energy,
irrigation with fertilizers [fertirriego], and paper production.

188.  The rhythm and intensification of these solutions is only possible due to
the accumulation of knowledge. Its ecological convergence is not casual either,
but rather it responds to a defined strategy of development that has known how
to harmonize care for the environment with economic and social progress.

189.  An Action Proposal

190.  The potential of scientific research and of qualified human resources
that Cuba has allows it to turn into specific actions its willingness to
cooperate as much as possible with the United Nations and other government and
nongovernmental organizations in programs of environmental and social
assistance to countries of the Third World. Therefore, a first proposal is to
offer technical staff in areas such as health, education, agricultural, and
environmental protection, among others, and the decision of offering all the
possible cooperation in the sphere of scientific research where Cuba has made
considerable progress.

191.  There is no doubt that the Biodiversity Convention submitted to this
conference as well as the subsequent steps that derive from it represent a
valuable effort directed toward the protection of current and future resources
that will come from biodiversity as well as from the safe and rational use of
the results of biotechnological research. However it seems certain that under
the present circumstances, the countries of the Third World need to develop and
strengthen their cooperation in these fields. This is why Cuba has considered
it appropriate to propose the creation of a permanent forum of the South on the
protection and conservation of biodiversity and access to the development of
biotechnology.

192.  What is being sought with this proposal is the creation of a mechanism
for consultation and the conciliation of ideas and projects, devoid of a
bureaucratic infrastructure, that would be capable of giving underdeveloped
countries the opportunity of continuing the debate on these topics of such
vital significance to them and of forming common criteria with views to the
conference of the parties that will be formed as soon as the agreement is
ratified. This permanent forum might center the attention of its analysis on
issues, among others, as follows:

193.  the establishment of a common system of legal protection on genetic
resources that will include appropriate procedures of compensation for the
access to these resources;

194.  the establishment of common mechanisms capable of promoting access to the
biotechnologies developed from genetic resources that have been provided;

195.  the creation of advisory capabilities by Third World countries that will
show greater advances in the scientific sphere, including the technical
training of staff and the exchange of experts in various fields of sciences;

196.  the establishment of common criteria on the defense of the indigenous
peoples and their identities-their forms of life, culture, language,
traditions-and on their secular wisdom in the vital connection with the
environment;

197.  the elaboration of common mechanisms of protection against the
introduction of modified organisms that could be potentially dangerous.

198.  We should study the establishment of judicial advisory capabilities to
legally protect the natural resources and results of investigations conducted
in Third World countries.

199.  Along with this consultation system, we could consider the possibility of
establishing a center for the conservation of the biodiversity of the countries
of the South, in which all of the countries that signed the biodiversity
agreement at this conference could participate. Its headquarters would be in a
country that has rich biological diversity.

200.  Brazil, an efficient and appropriate host for this meeting, would
undoubtedly be a good selection for this purpose.  The main goals of this
center would be the natural preservation of diverse ecosystems and the ex situ
preservation of tropical genetic resources.

201.  In the 20 years since the first environmental meeting in Stockholm, the
world population has increased by 1.6 billion; 80 percent are in the Third
World. Extreme poverty spread to more than 1 billion human beings.  Hunger
reached unforeseen dimensions. Contagious and poverty-related diseases affected
hundreds of millions of people. During that period, almost 250 million children
under the age of five died in the Third World, and approximately 10 million
women died from childbirth-related causes.

202.  During those years, the world lost 480 billion metric tons of farming
soil, 300 million hectares of forests were razed, and deserts increased by more
than 120 million hectares. The per capita production of food remained the same
or decreased in the Third World, innumerable sources of water were contaminated
or exhausted, and tens of thousands of animal and vegetable species were
extinguished.

203.  Now we must establish a global system of environmental safety with the
agreement and participation of all the nations. Much has been said in political
and military terms regarding global safety. Huge military forces have been
created in the search for it. Millions of minds have been sacrificed in its
interest and have born the fundamental burden of the scientific investigations
worldwide.  We have dilapidated essential resources that were to be used in the
event of an economic and social disaster in the underdeveloped world, the
political, social, and ecological results of which are foreseeable. Under the
present conditions and with the creation of a true climate of peace and
international detente, global security would depend on the protection of
nature, which involves us all, and the effective solution of underdevelopment
and poverty in the Third World.

204.  Humanity can still detain or reverse the destructive process of
aggression against the environment. I must ask, nevertheless, how long they
have. If the current trend continues, within the next 40 years the world
population will have doubled, the climate will have undergone profound and
irreversible alterations, and tropical forests will have virtually disappeared.
Immense deserts and sterile and degraded lands will replace a large part of the
lands that currently serve for farming or cattle breeding. Pure water will be
rare or impossible to find in entire regions, and hunger will be uncontainable
and irreparable.

205.  There are individuals who, for political and economic reasons, minimize
the seriousness of these problems.  The insensitive attitude assumed years ago
by people who attempted to seek shelter in positions of privilege marked by
opulence, waste, and consumerism, led humanity to the crossroad it now faces.
If specific and effective measures are not taken while there is still time, man
will face an uncertain future in which the developed and wealthy and the poor
of the land will be united and equal because their existence will be
threatened, and they will have no future.

206.  We need, unquestionably, an unequivocal political commitment to resolve
this crisis. We also need considerable financial resources that in present
international conditions exist and can be obtained.

207.  In the past 20 years, the world has wasted over $13 million [as received]
on military expenses. Even in 1991, having overcome the Cold War and the threat
of confrontation between the great powers, military spending reached almost $1
billion. There are the resources to finance these programs.

208.  The success of this conference will be measured by the actions that
result from it. We represent humanity, and that moral duty, that political
obligation, that exceptional and historical responsibility, demands decisions,
specific measures, and a commitment that can no longer be delayed.

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