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The Founex Report - Implications

1.15. The focusing of attention on environmental issues has therefore implications that go beyond national policies in developing countries. The international aspects of the present environmental concern are discussed in a subsequent chapter. But we would like to stress here that the extent to which developing countries pursue a style of development that is more responsive to social and environmental goals must be determined by the resources available to them. Clearly there is scope for a better allocation of the presently available resources, but the results that could be obtained within their present resource constraints must necessarily be limited. If the concern for human environment reinforces the commitment to development, it must also reinforce the commitment to international aid. It should provide a stimulus for augmenting the flow of resources from the advanced to the developing countries. Unless appropriate economic action is taken, there are a number of ways in which the developing countries could suffer rather than profit from the new emphasis on environment. The latter could have implications for aid, trade and the transfer of technology. The developing countries are vitally concerned that these implications should be positive and beneficial rather than negative and harmful.

Chapter Two : Environmental Issues in the Development Process

2.1. The preceding chapter has indicated that the environmental problems of developing countries fall broadly into two categories - the problems arising out of poverty or the inadequacy of development itself, and the problems that arise out of the very process of development. The problems in the first category are reflected in the poor social and economic conditions that prevail in both the rural and urban areas. For most developing countries these are, by far, the problems of greatest importance. But as the process of development gets under way the problems in the second category also begin to emerge and to gain in significance.

2.2. The environmental policies of developing countries must naturally be concerned with both categories of problems. But, as the preceding chapter has indicated, the remedial approaches to the first set of problems are closely interwoven with policies for overall development. These policies should, of course, embrace wider dimensions than the growth of gross national product alone, and must include some of the major environmental problems that arise in the context of urban and rural poverty. As already mentioned, problems of poor water supplies, inadequate sewerage, sickness, nutritional deficiency, and bad housing need to be dealt with in the process of planning and policy making. Goals and objectives in these fields should be incorporated into development plans as much as targets for the growth of output.