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The Founex Report - Development Process



2.3. The present Report does not attempt to elaborate upon the environmental issues of the kind referred to above, nor upon the manner in which they should be dealt with in the planning process. They are so much a part of social and economic conditions in developing countries that their treatment is but one aspect of the whole approach to social and economic development. Each country needs to identify the complementarities and conflicts that characterize the relationship between social and economic goals in the circumstances specific to itself, and to determine its own priorities concerning the allocation of resources. The present Report seeks to do no more than draw pointed attention to the compelling urgency of the environmental problems that arise out of poverty, to the need for a new awareness of the importance of remedial measures, and above all, to the need for rein- forcing the commitment, both nationally and internationally, to the development objective itself. It is to be hoped that the emphasis that is now being given to a more unified approach to development will result in a better recognition and treatment of the environmental problems that arise out of mass poverty.

2.4. The rest of the present chapter and, to a large extent, the succeeding chapter as well is mainly devoted to the second category of environmental problems that was mentioned earlier -- problems that arise out of the process of development itself. These problems though possibly of lesser importance in the early stages of development, are clearly likely to gain in significance as the process of development gathers momentum. As mentioned before, the transformation of agriculture, the development of industry, the creation of networks of transportation and communication, and the growth of towns, are all integral parts of the development process. They must, therefore, form part of the major goals of development policy and planning. But it needs to be recognized that the process of development and change in each of these sectors can be accompanied by adverse side effects which could in many cases be avoided, or at least mitigated, by sound planning and policy. The experience of the developed countries has shown that these side effects could, if ignored, attain formidable dimensions and cause damage and disruption on a wide scale. The developing countries have an opportunity to avoid some of the mistakes or distortions that have characterized the development process in the past. By paying attention to these dangers they can, perhaps, attain a more satisfactory pattern of development than that achieved by the advanced countries.

2.5. The present chapter attempts, in a broad way, to identify some of the negative side effects that can arise out of the process of development in several sectors of the economy. The succeeding chapter discusses the ways in which these problems might be dealt with through better policies and planning methods. The main issue is how the benefits of development in each sector could be obtained with minimum adverse side effects. In presenting a selected catalogue of environmental consequences which can be, and have been, experienced in various sectors of the economy, our intention is not to describe a long list of adverse repercussions so as to imply inaction, since every action may effect environment in some manner: our intention is merely to bring together some of the available knowledge on this subject so that the developing countries can draw their own conclusions in the context of their development policies. We would also like to point out that the existing knowledge on this subject is fairly thin and sketchy and a lot more research work is needed to identify the nature and dimensions of environmental problems in various sectors of the economy.