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The Founex Report - Policy Action

Chapter Five: Implications for Policy Action

5.1. Our effort in this Report has been to draw attention to the interrelationship between development and environment and to provide an overall framework within which environmental policies can be formulated. We have hesitated to make many specific proposals both because we did not have the full information or the time to consider them and because we believe that these proposals can only be formulated by the developing countries themselves in the light of further research and study. In the present chapter, we are grouping together some of our recommendations which have implications for policy action, with a view to focus attention on a few selected areas of policy. The list is neither complete nor exhaustive: it is only an invitation to further work and thought.

5.2. We have stated our recommendations in a summary fashion below, since elaboration of all of them is available in the relevant chapters. For the sake of convenience, relevant paragraph numbers have been mentioned against each one of them.

Development Strategy

1. The projected review and appraisal of International Development Strategy for the Second Development Decade should aim at integrating the environmental concern within the framework of development policies. (Cf. § 4.19.)

2. The developing countries should include environmental improvement as one of the multiple goals in a development plan and define its priority and dimensions in the light of their own cultural and social values and their own stage of economic development. (Cf. § 3.2.)

3. The development objectives should be redefined to include greater stress on income distribution and employment, more attention to social services and welfare-oriented public goods, and greater provision for political participation. There should also be a greater quantification of social goals. (Cf. § 3.3.)

4. Each developing country should define for itself the minimum environmental standards that it is seeking in various fields and sectors, such as public health, nutrition, water supply, etc., and measure its progress towards these "norms" by developing environmental indicators. (Cf. § 3.4.)

5. In order to incorporate the environmental concern in development planning, greater attention should be devoted to the policy areas concerning location of industries, land use policy, physical planning and community development. (Cf. § 3.5.)

6. The developing countries should attempt to mobilize surplus labour for projects of environmental improvement. (Cf. § 3.5.)

Project Appraisal

7. The developing countries should formulate specific guidelines for project appraisal, taking into account environmental considerations. The social costs and benefits of projects, including their favourable and unfavourable impact on environment, should be fully reflected in these
guidelines. (Cf. § 3.9.)

8. The developing countries should take the initiative to discuss formulation of such guidelines at the level of the regional economic commissions, regional banks and other relevant international agencies. (Cf. § 3.9.)

9. It would be undesirable that rigid guidelines for project appraisal from an environmental viewpoint be laid down by multilateral or bilateral donors at this stage without adequate consultations with the developing countries through various appropriate forums. (Cf. § 3.9.)

Research and Study

10. The developing countries should initiate surveys of the present state of their environment and the major hazards to which it is exposed. (Cf. § 3.11.)

11. It would be useful to compile all existing legislation regarding environmental control, including the regulations dealing with urban zoning, location of industries, protection of natural resources, and so on. (Cf. § 3.11.)

Implications for Policy Action

12. Research should be concentrated into matters of urgent environmental concern, such as soil conservation, land management, rural-urban interaction patterns, location and physical planning of new urban centres, and other such environmental issues in each sector as are of immediate relevance to the conditions of individual countries. (Cf. Chapter 2.)

Institutional Requirements

13. There is need for more study and research on the effectiveness of various forms of direct and indirect controls over environment so that a range of specific policies is available to the developing countries from which they can choose in accordance with their requirements and preferences. (Cf. § 3.10.)

14. The developing countries should make appropriate institutional arrangements for the implementation and monitoring of environmental policies, including establishment of any new institutions or legislation for this purpose. (Cf. § 3.12.)

Information and Education

15. Some thought should be given to building the growing environmental concern into education curricula. (Cf. § 3.11.)

16. Public opinion should be informed of environmental problems and policies through programmes of mass information. (Cf. § 3.11.)

Trade and Aid

17. A comprehensive study should be made, possibly by the UNCTAD, of the major threats that may arise to the exports of the developing countries, from the environmental concern of the developed countries, the character and severity of such threats, and the corrective action that may be possible. (Cf. § 4.7.)

18. The FAO should continue its present useful work on food standards considerations, including contamination, and seek to establish agreed environmental standards and guidelines for the export of foodstuffs. (Cf. § 4.7.)

19. The GATT should undertake to monitor the rise of non-tariff barriers on grounds of environmental concern and bring out pointedly any such trends in its Annual Reports. (Cf. § 4.7.)

20. The developing countries should explore the possibilities of increased specialization in certain industrial fields, both for home market production and export purposes, which are going to become more costly for the developed world because of their growing concern with environmental standards. Such efforts should not, however, lead to an indiscriminate export of pollution by developed countries or to a discarding of environmental standards adopted by the
developing countries. (Cf. § 4.16.)

21. The aid agencies should consider greater support for projects in the social sectors, both by providing larger assistance, and through the provision of local currency financing and programme lending. (Cf. § 4.13.)

International Action

22. The developed countries should ensure that their growing environmental concern will not hurt the continued development of the developing countries, or result in a reduction of resource transfers, or distortion of aid priorities, or adoption of more protectionist policies, or insistence on unrealistic environmental standards in the appraisal of development projects. (Cf. § 4.12.)

23. Additional aid funds will be required to subsidize research on environmental problems for the developing countries, to compensate for major dislocations in the exports of the developing countries, to cover major increases in the cost of development projects owing to higher environmental standards, and to finance restructuring of investment, production or export patterns necessitated by the environmental concern of the developed countries. A suitable mechanism for the channelling of these funds should be devised. (Cf. § 4.17.)

24. Research should be undertaken on how costly the non-pollutive technology is likely to be in various sectors and fields, preferably under the auspices of the United Nations Advisory Committee for Science and Technology. (Cf. § 4.10.)

25. Adequate institutional arrangements should be made for co-ordinating various international activities in the field of environment as well as for diffusing knowledge among developing countries of the nature and scope of these activities. (Cf. § 4.18.)