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Published: Friday 09 August, 2013

isabel marant high top wedge isabel marant high top wedge Developing countries need greenbacks

Political leaders are supposed to go to United Nations summits, but not many are at this weeks world environment summit because not much will happen. The worlds leading green groups are blaming governments for this state of affairs, but they have themselves to blame, for they are ignoring the interests of developing countries, without whose support international solutions are impracticable.

What is going wrong? Western environmental nongovernmental organisations ENGOs Greenpeace, Worldwide Fund for Nature and Friends of the Earth drive the global environmental agenda. Their problem is that they are not fundamentally interested in improving economic welfare in the developing world. To them sustainable development means giving priority to the environment over everything else.

When western European governments suggested the UN hold a world environment summit in 1992, the developing countries agreed to go along only on condition that it was a UN Conference on Environment and Development. At the summit, held in Rio de Janeiro, they went along with the Climate Change Convention only because they were offered aid and given guarantees that developing countries would not have to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and on condition that desertification in Africa was added to the global environment agenda.

Developing countries have known for years that the ENGOs give priority to problems that interest Western environmentalists cutting greenhouse gases, restoring the ozone layer, restricting use of heavy metals, banning genetic modification of plants and saving whales and pay little attention to the environmental priorities of developing country governments undrinkable water, polluted air and vast city rubbish tips.

The ENGOs talk the postmodernist talk of inclusion to get their priorities on the global agenda, but exclude developing country interests when they act. You wont see Greenpeace and the WWF making desertification in Africa a mainstream campaign.

Western greens even pursue policies that harm developing countries. They got Western governments to propose an international ban on DDT because it posed some risk to wildlife in farmlands in Western countries, until it was pointed out that it was the only effective global control on malaria a threat to the lives of millions in the developing world. Programs to save wildlife in Africa have led to wholesale displacement of rural people from traditional farmlands.

Balancing economic growth with environmental protection is not a theoretical problem for leaders in developing countries. They face it every day. Without growth their people will starve. Environmental policies that stifle growth are no use.

Some developing countries have lifted their people out of poverty and improved their environments. These are countries that have opened their economies and traded. This is why membership of the World Trade Organisation ballooned by 40 per cent over the past decade. Developing countries strongly backed the launch of the Development Round of negotiations in the WTO at Doha last year, in which a key objective is to get Europe to open its markets for exports from developing countries. Growth generates prosperity and the capacity to manage the environment.

Yet green groups are an integral part of the antiglobalisation movement that has campaigned vigorously since the Seattle riots in 1999 against the WTO.

The WWF, best known for protecting pandas, has been campaigning against the WTO for more than 10 years and is leading the campaign among green and social development groups such as Oxfam to have the world environment summit rule that the WTO should be subordinated to UN environment programs and agreements. The developing countries, which have the numbers, want the WTO to succeed.

So why do the ENGOs persis isabel marant high isabel marant high top wedge top wedge t? It is not difficult to accommodate global approaches to improve the environment to ensure developing countries can also raise the living standards of their people. Evidently the environment is more important to ENGOs than is economic growth. This position is not isabel marant high top wedge morally sustainable in a world with such poverty and misery.

It is also impracticable. As long as the ENGOs pursue global solutions that will make the developing world clean and green but keep it poor, they will continue to run into trouble. They will either develop strategies that dont work or find themselves ignored. isabel marant high top wedge