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 AITEC Declaration

Environment, development and democracy: for a North/South perspective and international democracy

The Rio Conference will be decisive. For decades, associations and non-governmentai organisations have been working in the field of environment and development, and for a long tirne now they have been warning publie opinion as to the conséquences of badly orientated world development and more especially to the under-developrnent of the Third World. They have aiso stressed the indefensible notion, ecologically speaking, of the same development in the North as in the South. Today these warnings no longer fail on deaf ears. Governments assert their willingness to enter into a round of negotiations with the aim of laying the ground- rules of tenable development for people as well as for the planet. 

What is the basis and what are the means on which this good-wili can give rise to policies and actions which wili meet the challenges in question? 

1- Ecologically tenable development must also be socially équitable.
Ecological balances cannot be respected if there is no sense of mutuai responsibility and interest between humans. Recently we have become aware that life itself is threatened on the planet, in an extremely short time span historically speaking. Current wrong directions taken by development condemn the majority of human-kind to misery, disease and ignorance. Meeting the challenges of pressure on natural resources, aggravated by the population explosion and by wastage, wili be decisive for our generation (the greenhouse effect, ozone, désertification, drinking water, waste ... ). This pressure could exclude generations to come frorn a future. 
Contradictions between environment and development might seem inévitable. Recent progress has underlined the dangers involved in modes of aggressive and uncontrolled development. However, we are convinced that there is no insuperable opposition between development and environment and that the ethical, philosophical or political choices will determine solutions in overcoming the contradictions. Humanity's future cannot be based on the acceptance of exclusions, on the ghettoïsation of the poor in the societies of the North whilst maintaining whole nations in misery in the South. The management of exclusion is a bad solution: it is unjust and unstable. It can only lead to inefficient and détestable policies. The future depends on finding new forms of ecologically tenable and socially équitable development. 

2- Environment is not a concern of the North alone, development is not a concern of the South alone.
For the poorest half of humanity, Tenable clevelopment" is above ail the right to health, food, a minimum of energy, which will assure - in at least relative security - an existence which is not dominaied by harassment and restrictions. At the other extreme, a small minority of countries, due to their over consomption for more than a century, have seriously endangered possibilities of rejuvenation in the biosphere. Nor must we forget that an "interior South" exists in the North (the Forth World), and that the privileged classes of the South could be calied the "exterior North". 
The ecological crisis underlines the untenable nature of known development models. Everybody achieving the same living standards as the extremely well-off classes in the Northern countries has been shown to be an impossible dream. lt is true that present growth has allowed a minority within Humanity to have access to a whole variety of goods and services, but these services and goods can never be within the grasp of all of Humanity. This "prosperity" confronta Humanity with the spectre of exhausting naturai resources. The current dégradation is the conséquence of the appropriation by a quarter of the world's population of four fitths of available natural resources. These growth models, already questioned and condemned in their countries of origin cannot be exported on a planet-wide scale. 
The level of comfort and of health that these development models have offered to the average populations of the North can however be attained in the South by using new techniques, which draw the line between energy consomption and pollution on the one hand, and the expansion of material services on the other. We cannot underestimate the possibilities opened up by a new form of production growth, sustained by more rnodest levels of investment and exploiting high technology whilst eliminating the wastage which goes with it. 
For the developed countries, it is of the ulmost importance to undergo a true cultural reconversion: to start measuring development through the quantity of free time available and the quality of human relations rather than through the accumulation of material goods. 
In différent forms and at different levels, the link between controlled management of the environment and controlled management of development is as strong in the North as in the South. 
ln the North as in the South, propositions for 'lenable development" have to be coupled with the renonciation of concepts associating development soiely to an economic logic, measured in terms of growth in material production and in productive investments. 

3- New North/South relations are indispensable if we wish to further joint controi of development and the environment.
The cost to humankind and the destruction of the environment which allowed the North to assure its dominant position in the worid economy, designate the latter as the major culprit in the worid environmental crisis. However, those who have vested interests in the predatory production and consomption rnodels claim that the most urgent décisions in the North can be put off if development in the South is severely curbed.
lt seems evident to us that in a world which is at the same time unified and extremely polarised, the present state of North/South relations is inadéquate if we wish to control the relation between environment and development. 
Before going on it is important to underline that considérable room for manoeuvre does exist for a materially tenable ecological development. But the participation of al[ human-kind in tenable development implies important transfers of technology and finance to the South, transfers forming part of a global project policy based on a reconsideration of North/South relations. This project can already be seen in the coopération belween social forces in the developed countries who are questioning development in the North, and the social forces of the South who are already conscious that environmental destruction in the South must be avoided. 
The countries of the South wili accept sharing responsibil@y in environmentai conservation, the common heritage of the whole world, if the North proves that it places the environment above its own privileged interests. The North must be responsable for financing tenable development as weil as new forms of intervention in the natural milieu everywhere in the world by way of compensation for the destruction which it alone has caused. This financing could be covered by additionai credits and by taxation on harmful practices. It must include cancelling the Third World debt since continuing the repayments places enormous pressure on natural resources. 

4- Controiling the relation environment, developmnent irnplies global management.
The environment with which we are concerned is that of human populations it is an environment highly structured by independent dynamics as weil as by the voluntary or involuntary actions, direct or indirect, of humans and human societies. 
Probierns are posed ai différent levels of biological and social organisation, on différent space and time scales. They centre around the réconciliation of an economic and qualitative well- being, and around detecting and eliminating throats to human societies on the planet. 
Determining a new set of rules for life is, for human-kind, one of the most diff icult tasks. IDiff icuit on a national scale, it is even more so on a worid-wide scale. Especially since the international organisations are controlied by the Northern countries. Institutions capable of elaborating texts which take into account the interests of both North and South, capable of imposing their rule over countries, capable of obliging them to renounce a part of their sovereignty in the face of environmental impératives, must be creaied. Without international democratic control, we run the risk of seeing a greater deterioration in the situation and of failing prey to a technocratie eco- fascism. 
We think that it is necessary to consolidate alternative power structures by strengthening civil society, increasing its importance above that of its judicial status as defined in international law. In giving the necessary space to civil society, democracy alone could play the role of counterweight to the state and to market forces. Market forces are incapable of spontaneously regulating access to the naturai heritage common to ail generations of humanity. Contained within norms and balanced by taxes, the free market can allow societies to achieve common aims in a decentralised way. 
One objective of Rio is related to the allocation and the regulation of righis of access to the planet's resources (including their capacity for autoregeneration), encouragement of ecologically sound practices, and the réduction of harmful practices. Correct proportioning of taxes, subsidies and market forces is central to the debate in the Rio Conference and will remain so in the différent countries after Rio. We are convinced that the allocation of rights to the planet's resources cannot be on the basis of "acquired rights to pollute" (for example, by reducing each country's polluting factor by the same percentage). It is only conceivable on the basis of equality between humans, and therefore in relation to the population of each country. This criterion for the right to natural resources is the most équitable. But it will not be suff icient if people are deprived of the means to efficiently profit frorn the resources. Again the question of financing tenable development is posed. 

5- A universel conscience must be built. Associations and scientiste must work together to consolidate alternative power structures. 
The formation of a universel conscience and of a worid-wide informed public opinion pronouncing on what is desirable and reasonable to outlaw or promote can alone guarantee efficiency in applying the conclusions of the diplomate. In the process of forming this world-wide public opinion, associations and NGOs have a decisive role to play. Simply through their familiarity of working methods invoiving voluntary action and partnership, they can maintain an independence from economic pressure groups or from the vested or conflicting interests of different countries. A consensus on the challenges ahead for humanity and the means to meet them can emerge from these debates. This is our eminent responsibility. 
Scientific knowledge progresses every day. New discoveries and new ways of thinking cail into question our vision of the relationship between human-kind and the environment. This constant évolution underlines the necessity of using scientific rnethodology when laying the foundations of approaches to environmental and developmentai questions. Putting into practice discoveries, possibilities and thought modes generated by scientific research, the use of methods of appraisai and of critical reflection specific to science are major tools in this new approach. However, the work of scientiste must be directly linked to social demand: this is particularly necessary in environmental fields. Independently scientiste can research and find ground for vérifications in environmental fields. Associations and NGOS can play an essentiel role in explicating social necessities to scientiste, at times proposing invitations to tender, from @Icivil society", to the scientific community. 
The role of science in elaborating policy is very important. Yet it is not the role of science and even less the role of economic interests to define norms and regulations. These must arise from democratic debate open to the public. This debate needs to be deepened and broadened, avoiding exclusions or any monopoly on it by scientific culture, the culture of technical training, or other experts. Without giving people from the South or their countries access to scientific knowledge and technical expertise, the problems we ask the scientific community to resolve will only produce unilatéral solutions. 

6- Harmony in developrnent, environment and democracy can only corne from a political wili to link them and give thern meaning. 
Harmony implies defining development priorities and the means to put them into practice in conjonction with environmental policies compatible with these same objectives. It implies above all a desire to widen democracy when taking political décisions especially in regard to the conséquences of development. 
Too often, in development as well as in environmentai matters, non-democratic ways seem more efficient even if they resuit in the worst abuses of power. They represent a short term vision which privilèges the illusion of short term solutions which in the long run are always shown to be catastrophic. Only democratic approaches can assure the largest possible participation in decision-making concerning the necessary measures which guarantee freedom, in order to fight against social inequalities and assure the protection of the planet. 
This desire to widen democracy can be present at différent levels of power structures. Democracy in the work place can facilitate non-polluting forms of production and guarantee the rights of workers. Local democracy can be based upon direct participation and on respect for ecosystems. National democracy could contribute to a redistribution between différent social groups and in more control of political choices, notably in energy and industriel matters. Democracy on a regional basis could determine rights of access to resources on the basis of geo-political and cultural communities of interest. 

7- International democracy is still ta be defined.
The perpétuation or the aggravation of unequai relations in the international economic system is inconsistant with international democracy. Trends emerging from big international negotiations such as those which have opened concerning international commerce in the GATT, the World Sank's proposed structural readjustment plans concerning the debt crisis or on the financing of development, are worrying International democracy demands the largest possible circulation of ail available information. The power of one individuel over another, of an elite over the rnajority, of the "North" over the "South" originales from a unilatéral possession of historic, social, economic and technical information. We have to demand the end to secrecy in fields pertaining to public interest and assure international diffusion of knowledge. 
Urgency in the promotion of international democracy is heightened by threats to the environment. Broadening human rights and the rights of peopies must be the measure of progress in international law. Access to resources must be defined without becoming entrenched in the vested interests of the big financial holdings or in the thirst certain countries, large or smali, have for power. The means to put the décisions taken into practice and of controiling the structures for so doing must be the responsibility of Humanity as a whole. 
From the starting point of environmental and development dilemmas what really is at stake are the processes involved in moving from a huge feudai planet belonging to warlords to a démocratie planet. 

June 1992



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