Forests in International Environmental Politics

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Table of contents :
1.2 The environment in the North-South context
2. The International Context of Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon
2.1 The extent of the problem: difficulties of assesment
2.2.2 The Brazilian Situation
2.3 The international relevance of the Brazilian Amazon
2.3.1 Growing concern over deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon
2.3.2 The conflict about the extent of deforestation
2.3.3 The importance of deforestation in the global warming debate
3. Brazilian Responses to International Interest in the Amazon
3.1 The background of the 'internationalisation' idea
3.4 Brazilian environmental policy for the amazon
3.4.2 Changes in Amazonian Policy after 1988
4.2.2 The Pilot Programme for the Brazilian Amazon
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• A





T ■ .'-y.



International Organisations, NGOs and the Brazilian Amazon



Ans Kolk


International Organisations, ngos and the Brazilian Amazon


International Books, 1996

© Ans Kolk isbn 90 5727 0021 Keywords: Environmental studies, international relations, international political economy, forests, Brazil, World Bank Cover design: Marjo Starink Cover photograph: Peter Pennarts / Studio 3 Desk Top Publishing: Hanneke Kossen Printing: Druldkerij Haasbeek

International Books, Alexander Numankade 17, 3572 kp Utrecht, the Netherlands, Tel. +31 30 2731840, fax. +31 30 2733614



List of Tables and Figures — 8 Preface — 9 List of Abbreviations and Acronyms —11 Introduction —15 1 A Political Economy Perspective on International Environmental Politics 21 —


1.1 The environment in international relations — 21 1.1.1 Realism — 24 1.1.2 Liberal institutionalism — 28 1.1.3 Globalism — 33 1.2 The environment in the North-South context — 36 1.3 The international political economy of the environment — 42 1.4 The political role of non-governmental organisations — 51 1.5 Competing views in international environmental politics —- 57 2 The International Context of Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon 2.1 The extent of the problem: difficulties of assessment — 61 2.2 Causes of deforestation — 68 2.2.1 The global picture — 68 2.2.2 The Brazilian situation — 72 2.3 The international relevance of the Brazilian Amazon — 77 2.3.1 Growing concern over deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon — 77 2.3.2 The conflict about the extent of deforestation — 78 2.3.3 The importance of deforestation in the global warming debate — 82


Brazilian Responses to International Interest in the Amazon — 87 3.1 The background of the ‘internationalisation’ idea— 87 3.2 International interest in the Amazon: the mining sector — 91 3.3 An international conspiracy? Indians, mining and the Constitutional process — 99 3.4 Brazilian environmental policy for the Amazon — 106 3.4.1 Nationalist reactions to international concern — 106 3.4.2 Changes in Amazonian policy after 1988 — 109 3.5 Competing views on the Amazon in the national context — 115

4 The Forest Issue in the International Arena —127 4.1 The background of the rise of deforestation as an international environmental issue —127 4.1.1 The main issues at the Stockholm conference — 128 4.1.2 Changing priorities and perceptions in the period between unche


unced —


4.2 The Group of 7’s interest in tropical rainforests — 141 4.2.1 The environmental issue at summit meetings — 141 4.2.2 The Pilot Programme for the Brazilian Amazon — 144 4.3 The international debate on forests — 153 4.3.1 The


controversy —153

4.3.2 Changes after

unced —


4.4 Financial resources for international environmental policy — 163 4.4.1 The


discussion —163

4.4.2 The restructuring of the 5



The Environmental Relevance of the World Bank —177 5.1 Introduction —177 5.2 Relevant characteristics of the World Bank — 178 5.3 The effectiveness of World Bank projects — 193 5.4 The complexities of large projects in the Brazilian Amazon — 203 5.5 The tenets of the Bank’s environmental policy — 214 5.6 The Bank’s forest policy — 222 5.7 Environmental projects in the Brazilian Amazon: the 5.8 Conclusions — 240


— 230

6 The Dynamics of ngo Mobilisation on Rainforests — 245 6.1 International mobilisation on tropical rainforests: background and beginnings — 245 6.2




in the


activity on the

process -— 254 ppb

— 258

6.4 The dynamics of the World Bank-NGO relationship — 268 6.4.1


criticisms of the World Bank— 268

6.4.2 Continued pressure on the Bank — 273 6.4.3 The

broader context of NGO.actions against the

Bank — 277

6.5 Changing patterns of ngo actitivipes on environmental issues — 283 7 Conclusions — 287 Bibliography — 301 Samenvatting — 319 Index — 325


List of Tables and Figures

1.1 Views on the relationship between economic growth and environmental care — 51 1.2 Classification of international forces on the basis of problem/solution perception — 57 2.1 Rainforest area in selected countries — 67 2.2 Annual deforestation in selected countries — 68 2.3 Deforestation rates in the Legal Amazon until 1988 — 80 2.4 Deforestation in the Legal Amazon in the period 1988-1991 — 82 3.1 Entry of foreign capital into Brazil in the period 1964-1987 — 90 3.2 Classification of the 500 largest enterprises according to majority ownership — 92 3.3 Participation of state, national and international enterprises in the sales of the 20 largest enterprises per sector in 1991 — 93 3.4 Ten largest mining enterprises in terms of sales in 1991 — 94 3.5 Area made available for exploration in the Amazon and economic groups involved — 97 3.6 Share of international capital in the concession area of eight Amazon states in 1986 — 98 3.7 Brazilian approaches and actors with respect to Amazonian policy — 125 4.1 Estimated costs to implement the main chapters of Agenda 21 in developing countries in the period 1993-2000 — 165 5.1 Votes held by the largest member countries of the World Bank, as of June 1995 —180 5.2 Major borrowing countries as of 30 June 1995 — 183 5.3 Net transfers from


5.4 Estimated costs of five

and ppb


to the different regions in 1990-1995 —188

projects and donor contributions — 233

6.1 Evolution of ngo activity on environmental issues — 284 6.2 Factors shaping the evolution of ngo activities on an environmental issue — 285 7.1 Positions in the international environmental debate — 288


Nowadays the word environment frequently refers to the natural environment and to phenomena of non-human origin. This is the meaning of the word that will be followed throughout this book. In the preface, however, the broader and more traditional connotation, that of the whole spectrum of environmen¬ tal factors, will be used to thank those who have facilitated and been helpful in carrying out this research project. Financial support for this study, and especially for the field work in Brazil, the United States and various European countries, was provided by the Faculty of Political and Socio-Cultural Sciences


of the University of Amster¬

dam, and the Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research


It enabled me

to gather all the material I needed for my research and to interview a large num¬ ber of representatives of international organisations, of national and interna¬ tional non-governmental organisations, and of the Brazilian, Dutch and


governments, and scientists. These people, who very willingly exchanged their views and enthusiastically provided support, have been invaluable sources of information in the past few years. Instead of enumerating all the individual persons, I would like to mention the organisations they worked for at the time. In Brazil, this involved in particular the Centro Ecumenico de Documentaqao e Informa^ao, Centro de Troca de Informa^oes sobre Empresas Multinacionais, Comissao Pro-Indio de Sao Paulo, Forum de


Brasileiras, Fun-

daqao Pro-Natureza, Instituto Brasileiro de Analises Sociais e Economicas, In¬ stitute de Estudos Amazonicos, Instituto de Pesquisa Economica Aplicada, Universidade de Sao Paulo, Universidade Estadual de Maringa and Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro. In the us, it concerned the Commission on Sustainable Development; Environmental Defense Fund, Friends of the Earth, the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, the United Nations Development Programme, the us Agency for International Development, the World Bank, the World Resources Institute, World Wide Fund for Nature and World Wildlife Fund. Furthermore, I owe

Forests in International Environmental Politics


thanks to representatives of the Commission of the European Communities and the Food and Agriculture Organisation in respectively Brussels and Rome; of the International Institute for Sustainable Development in Canada; and in the Netherlands, of Both Ends, the Brazil Platform, the Catholic Organisation for Development Cooperation (Cebemo), the Dutch Committee for iucn, the Dutch Organisation for International Development Cooperation


Friends of the Earth, the Inter Church Organisation for Development Cooper¬ ation (icco) and the Working Group on Indigenous Peoples. The J.E. Jurriaanse Foundation provided some financial support for this publication. I am grateful to Gerd Junne and Jean Carriere for their helpful and stimulat¬ ing comments and to Alex Fernandez Jilberto, whose support and commitment contributed to making the endeavour not only an academic but also a personal pleasure. Kees Biekart kindly read the whole manuscript and made some final suggestions. There are many others who, especially after I experienced such health problems that the research even had to be interrupted, have been en¬ couraging and warm. They all encouraged me to carry on and made me again experience the indispensable worth of friendship. For different reasons, I would like to single out Peter van der Weijer, Ewout van der Weij, Judith Pennarts and Petra Bloem. I will use the final sentences of this preface to thank Bart van Lindert, whose love, support and good sense of humour have been most precious over the years. Some time ago, I read a book which the author dedicated to his partner with the words ‘sorry to have put you through this’. That is certainly not the meaning of this special acknowledgement. It has been a great pleasure to realise this undertaking as it implies recovery after a period of hardship.

List of Abbreviations and Acronyms


/ Associacao dos Empresarios da Amazonia


Business Council for Sustainable Development


Bank Information Center


Commission of the European Communities


Centro Ecumenico de Documenta^ao e Informa^o


Conselho Indigenista Missionario


Conferencia Nacional dos Bispos do Brasil


Campanha Nacional da Defesa e pelo Desenvolvimento da Amazonia


Conselho Nacional dos Seringueiros


Comissao Parlementar de Inquerito


Commission on Sustainable Development


Conselho de Seguranga Nacional


Companhia Vale do Rio Doce


European Community


Executive Director


Environmental Defense Fund


Earth Negotiations Bulletin


Escola Superior de Guerra


O Estado de Sao Paulo


European Working Group on Amazonia


Food and Agriculture Organisation


Federa^ao de Orgaos para Assistencia Social e Educacional


Fundo Nacional do Meio Ambiente


Friends of the Earth


Friends of the Earth International


Folha de Sao Paulo


Financial Times


Funda^ao Nacional do Indio


Funda^ao Pro-Natureza

Forests in International Environmental Politics



Group of 7


Group of 77


General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade


Global Environment Facility


Gazeta Mercantil


Gross National Product




Grupo de Trabalho Amazonico


Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais

of Brazil

Renovaveis ibase

Instituto Brasileiro de Analises Sociais e Economicas


Instituto Brasileiro de Mineraijao


International Bank for Reconstruction and Development


International Chamber of Commerce


International Development Association


Inter-American Development Bank


Instituto de Estudos Amazonicos


International Finance Corporation


International Monetary Fund


Instituto Nacional de Coloniza^ao e Reforma Agraria


Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Especiais


International Organisation


Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change


International Tropical Timber Agreement


International Tropical Timber Organisation


International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural


Jornal do Brasil




Multilateral Development Bank


Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency


Non-governmental organisation


New International Economic Order


National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration


Natural Resources Defense Council


National Wildlife Federation


Official Development Assistance


Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development


Operations Evaluation Department


Organiza^ao Estadual do Meio Ambiente




List of Abbreviations and Acronyms


Programa Grande Carajas


Plano de Prote^ao ao Meio Ambiente e as Comunidades


Indigenas PMTF

Portfolio Management Task Force


Programa Nacional do Meio Ambiente


Pilot Programme for the Brazilian Amazon


Preparatory Committee


Partido dos Trabalhadores


Rain Forest Trust Fund


Secretaria de Assuntos Estra(egicos


Structural Adjustment Programme


Sustainable Development


Secretaria do Meio Ambiente


Superintendencia do Desenvolvimento da Amazonia


Tropical Forestry Action Plan (Programme)


Uniao Democratica Ruralista


United Kingdom


United Nations Conference on Environment and Development


United Nations Conference on the Human Environment


United Nations Conference on Trade and Development


United Nations Development Programme


United Nations Environment Programme


United States



World Bank


World Commission on Environment and Development


World Resources Institute


World Rainforest Movement


World Wide Fund for Nature


In January 1996, the Brazilian President Cardoso signed a decree which en¬ hances the possibilities for filing injunctions against the demarcation of in¬ digenous areas. The act has aroused much protest: it is regarded as a reversal of the hard-won constitutional rights of the indigenous peoples which paves the way for a further destruction of the Amazon rainforest. National and interna¬ tional non-governmental organisations


have urged Cardoso to revoke

the decree. They have requested the World Bank, the European Union and the governments of the seven most industrialised countries to suspend funds allo¬ cated to projects in the Brazilian Amazon. The European Parliament strongly condemned the decision of the Brazilian government and called upon the Eu¬ ropean Commission to cease funding demarcation projects in Brazil. This res¬ olution received widespread attention in Brazil and provoked a strong reaction from the Brazilian Minister of Justice. He emphasised Brazilian sovereignty and criticised the members of the European Parliament by stating that ‘they should be more concerned with the problems in Bosnia, which they have not managed to solve’


1996). This conflict clearly illustrates the continued

sensitivity with respect to the Brazilian Ajmazon, which had already become apparent one decade earlier when concern over the environment mounted. In the mid-1980s the environment became an important issue in interna¬ tional politics. Concern for the environment spiralled, as did mobilisation on the issue, both nationally and increasingly also internationally. As awareness of the potential influence of environmental problems on the world economy and the interstate system spread, a wide spectrum of state and non-state actors be¬ came involved and controversies increased. It led to the revival of older debates on North versus South, trade versus aid, state versus market, and the question of development. The environment emerged as a new field in which pre-existing controversies came to the fore once again, and it started to be used as a pretext for pursuing other political and economic objectives. One of the areas in which this politicisation and internationalisation of the environmental debate could be noted was forests, and tropical rainforests in

Forests in International Environmental Politics


particular. Attention focused on the Brazilian Amazon, as the largest remaining tropical rainforest area in the world with a relatively high percentage of largely intact forests. Campaigns by international and Brazilian


raised knowl¬

edge of and concern over deforestation and the fate of local populations. This had, however, substantial domestic repercussions, because it built on a long¬ standing sensitivity with respect to the Amazon and existing accusations about international interests in the region. The resulting conflicts and attempts at consensus-formation and coalition-building were primarily directed at the level of the national state. The significance of the Brazilian Amazon originates from the fact that it became one of the first objects of an international environmental policy. This book examines the impact of the internationalisation of the environ¬ mental debate on policy-formation with regard to the Brazilian Amazon. It aims to shed light on the interrelationships between national and international politics, and on the role of international organisations and


The book

focuses on the way in which the environmental issue influences and is in¬ fluenced by political and economic factors, developing an international politi¬ cal economy perspective on the environment. It tries to bring together and elaborate on distinct research areas and approaches, which can be grouped into respectively national environmentalpolitics, international environmental negotia¬ tions, and international political economy. Over the past decades, many studies have been carried out which assess the causes and background of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, the situation of specific groups of actors and the interaction between them. Scholars from different disciplines have also aimed at advancing proposals to ameliorate the state of the environment and the prospects for the local population. Environ¬ mental policy-making for the Amazon at the level of the national state has re¬ ceived less attention; this applies even more to the allegations made by nation¬ alist sectors, the military in particular, about the supposed attempts to ‘interna¬ tionalise’ the region. As far as the Brazilian Amazon is concerned, this study will analyse these two areas by placing the so-called internationalisation in its con¬ text and relating it to international interest in the Brazilian rainforest. Much of the research into international environmental policy has concen¬ trated on the environmental negotiations themselves and on emerging patterns of cooperation. While yielding important insights into the state of environ¬ mental policy-making, interstate relations and the effectiveness of international institutions, such analyses tend to narrow political conflicts down to diplo¬ matic wheeling and dealing. The bargaining process between government rep¬ resentatives frequently results in intricate compromises with unclear, vague and non-binding formulations. Implementation of the decisions, often in another



framework, repeatedly gives rise to similar controversies, or new negotiations take up the same old issues again. Analyses therefore need to be placed in the international context, taking account of the broader struggle for power and resources. International political economy approaches, in turn, have paid much atten¬ tion to the structural political and economic features, which transcend the ob¬ vious division between states. International relations are viewed in the perspec¬ tive

of conflicts

over the role

of the

state ih the economic process, and trends


liberalisation, privatisation and deregulatipn. This background is fundamental for an understanding of international environmental policy. However, political economy has largely neglected the environment, the emergence

of ngos


the changes these developments have brought about in international politics. Evidence about the way in which the environment has been dealt with might enrich existing theories and reveal the functioning and development ternational system. This book seeks to combine these three strands

of the


of research

(national environmental politics, international environmental negotiations and international political economy) and contribute to filling the gaps they have left. The analysis of Brazilian environmental policy will primarily cover the period between 1988 and the middle of 1952. This period was followed by very tumultuous months, characterised by widespread popular mobilisation against President Collor, which ended with his impeachment. Vice-President Franco, his successor, did not have much political power and credibility. As a result, the formation and implementation of environmental policy came to a virtual standstill, and the situation in the Amazon merely reflected the traditionally existing political and economic inequalities and conflicts. With regard to international environmental policy, the main focus is on the years between 1990 and 1995, a period which witnessed both the emergence of a formidable international interest in the environment and its decline. To some extent, however, this development coincided with the implementation of pro¬ grammes and policies which had been prepared and negotiated during the preceding years. A major example of this tendency has been the Pilot Pro¬ gramme for the Brazilian Amazon, which is examined in more detail in this book. This delineation does not mean, however, that the study is strictly limited to the periods of time mentioned. In many cases, preceding years need to be ana¬ lysed to place current developments in their historical context. Such an approach also facilitates the understanding of events which have taken place since early 1995 and to which only brief reference will be made. These include the changes in World Bank policies under Wolfensohn and the difficulties imposed on the


Forests in International Environmental Politics

organisation as a result of the Republican majority in Congress, changes in Bra¬ zilian environmental policy under Cardoso and the conflicts to which it gave rise, and the ongoing international forest negotiations (see also the concluding chapter).

— The organisation of the study — The first chapter analyses the emergence of the environmental issue in interna¬ tional relations and the way in which different approaches, designated as real¬ ism, liberal institutionalism and globalism, have recently tried to explain it. At¬ tempts to understand and explain international environmental politics have mainly originated from liberal institutionalism, which features the interna¬ tional institutions’ role in bringing about coordination and cooperation. Al¬ though this perspective shares the realist emphasis on states, its pays less atten¬ tion to conflicts and the way in which political and material interests shape states’ behaviour. Globalist approaches, which examine the importance of the world system, non-state actors and transnational processes, have hardly studied the environment. As will be examined in more detail in this chapter, interna¬ tional environmental politics can only be understood by combining a stateoriented with a political economy analysis. In this way, both the revival of the North-South controversy as a result of the environmental issue and the increas¬ ingly important role of business organisations,


and international institu¬

tions are dealt with. Competing views on the necessity of market-based instru¬ ments or environmental regulation, and on the level at which solutions would have to be found, have shaped the context in which the problem of deforesta¬ tion has been debated. Chapter two briefly introduces the causes and background of tropical de¬ forestation, the extent of the problem and the difficulties of assessment. An important difference between Brazil and other rainforest countries has been the absence of a clear direct relationship between the causes of deforestation and international involvement (such as timber logging or cattle ranching for export purposes, decisive in respectively South East Asia and Central America). It is only through the incorporation of the Amazon in the Brazilian political econ¬ omy that the international links can be comprehended. The state played a cru¬ cial role in the large-scale colonisation of the Amazon which fundamentally changed the economy and the environment in the region. The Brazilian Ama¬ zon also stands out for another reason: a sudden upsurge of public interest in the region in 1988, brought about by the publication of alarming deforestation figures; global media coverage of burning rainforests; the subsequent associ-



ation of rainforest destruction with global warming; and the assassination of the rubber tapper Chico Mendes, which emphasised the harsh political struggle he and other people had been engaged in. International concern over the Amazon and its inhabitants provoked a strong reaction, which is examined in chapter three. Preoccupations about at¬ tempts to internationalise the region could already be noted in the late 1960s at the time of the military dictatorship. In the mid-1980s and early 1990s, com¬ parable sentiments and interests came to the fore again, but now in connection with increasing political attention to the fate of the indigenous populations and the environment respectively. The nationalist opposition to an environmental policy for the Amazon proved to be untenable. Although conflicts emerged time and again afterwards, considerable changes took place after 1989. The gov¬ ernment adopted a more open attitude towards (inter)national requests for the protection of the Amazon. The environmental issue had harmed Brazil’s image abroad; by reversing its position, it could be turned into a potential source of power. In the wake of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development


previously existing opposition to environmental

measures became weaker and new alliances were formed which favoured some kind of environmental protection, although with different perspectives on the degree of regulation. In the period between the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment and


attention to tropical rainforests increased while per¬

ceptions of their importance changed. In the 1980s, international initiatives were taken to contribute to forest protection, but they met with considerable criticism. Increasing politicisation reached its height at


where forests

became the focal point of a huge North-South controversy. As chapter four explains, another area of contention was the question of which countries would have to finance international environmental protection and in what way these funds would be managed. In the discussions about forests, Southern countries raised all controversial North-South issues, such as the transfer of technology and resources, the debt burden and access to Northern markets. After


when the environment moved to a less prominent position, the forest debate started to centre more specifically on the subject at hand, and politicisation declined considerably. In the conflicts over the environmental consequences of development and the incorporation of environmental concerns into economic policy and devel¬ opment projects, much attention has focused on the World Bank. Chapter five deals with the broader framework in which both protests against the negative environmental effects of World Bank loans and the Bank’s new environmental policy emerged. This included evidence, mainly provided by internal evalu-

Forests in International Environmental Politics


ations, about insufficient World Bank control of the environmental conse¬ quences of large, complex projects in the Brazilian Amazon, and about the de¬ clining economic effectiveness of Bank projects in general. Under these circum¬ stances, the Bank was forced to change its policies to improve economic and environmental performance. The major idea behind the new environmental ap¬ proach was to combine environmental protection with ongoing adjustment of developing countries’ economies. Increased environmental consciousness on the part of the World Bank was brought about by an effective coalition of international environmental groups, led by American


and mainly conservative Congress members. Chapter

six analyses the emergence of international


mobilisation on tropical rain¬

forests, with special attention to the Brazilian Amazon. The successful cam¬ paign against the multilateral development banks started in 1983, and formed the beginning of a decade of ngo action on the environment, which culmi¬ nated during


and the fiftieth anniversary of the World Bank in 1994.

During this period a gradual shift can be noted from action to consultation and implementation; a number of formerly protest


became engaged in advo¬

cacy work or in carrying out environmental projects. This was accompanied by a large growth of the


movement as a whole and also by increasing diver¬

gence between the different components. Throughout the last three chapters, the Pilot Programme for the Brazilian Amazon


will be examined from different angles. Chapter four deals with

the early phase of the


which originated in the Houston summit meeting

of the Group of the seven most industrialised countries, its set-up and purposes. In chapter five the specific role of the World Bank will be analysed as well as the further development of preparations and negotiations in the context of the pol¬ itical and economic situation in Brazil over the years. The participation of Bra¬ zilian and international


in the Programme and the accompanying con¬

troversies are included in chapter six. The


presents a new approach to en¬

vironmental problems in which negative and positive experiences with past projects are reckoned with as far as possible. A case which involves so many actors with often widely diverging interests also demonstrates the complexities of environmental regulation and the structural economic and political con¬ straints which can be distinguished. These aspects and the theoretical implica¬ tions will be further dealt with in the concluding chapter of this study.


A Political Economy Perspective on International Environmental Politics '/



— 1.1 The environment in international relations — The environmental issue started to be internationalised in the mid-1980s, when it became the subject of international controversies.1 The environment had been considered at the international level before, but this largely involved de¬ liberations in international forums, exchange of scientific information, and concrete action in the area of nature conservation. A major event in this period was the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, held in Stockholm in 1972, at which the North-South divide related to the environ¬ ment arose for the first time. Developments since the mid-1980s, however, have diverged from these earlier activities in both quantitative and qualitative terms. With the creation of the World Commission for Environment and Develop¬ ment


also known as the Brundtland commission) in 1983, more infor¬

mation on the global nature of environmental problems and the ‘risks of irre¬ versible damage’


1988: 27) became available, particularly with regard to

global warming, depletion of the ozone layer and deforestation. Concern for the environment spiralled, as did mobilisation on the issue, both nationally and increasingly also internationally. The number of conferences multiplied; this was accompanied by a surge of negotiations on international environmental measures and attempts at international policy-formation. Awareness of the international nature of environmental problems and their potential influence on the world economy and the interstate system increased. Environmental degradation might, for example, directly threaten the existence of companies because good production facilities and resources are no longer abundantly available. Influenced by national and international mobilisation,


As used here, ‘international’ encompasses not only the totality of individual coun¬

tries, but also international regulatory functions and institutions, and the involvement of societal groups at all levels.


Forests in International Environmental Politics

governments and institutions were likely to take regulatory measures, changing the conditions for production and trade. The rapidity and flexibility of compa¬ nies’ reaction to the environmental problem would give them a technological advantage (or disadvantage) and affect turnover and investment. Thus, mass mobilisation could have political and economic effects. This also applied to changes in the existing North-South division: a strengthening of Southern leverage as a result of the environmental issue might shake the foundations of accumulation and the existing political structure. The international relevance of the environmental issue has been increasingly recognised. It gave rise to the revival of older debates on North versus South, trade versus aid, state versus market, and the question of development. At the same time, however, prevailing political and economic ideas have shaped the contents and outcome of these discussions, just as political and economic deci¬ sions have influenced the state of the environment. The environment emerged as a new field in which pre-existing controversies came to the fore once again, sometimes used as a pretext for pursuing other objectives. A wide spectrum of state and non-state social forces have become involved in the discussions generated by the environmental problem. Business organisa¬ tions, for example, showed a mounting interest in the environmental issue, as could be seen from the activities undertaken by the International Chamber of Commerce (icc) and the Business Council for Sustainable Development (bcsd).

These consisted mainly of large internationally operating companies,

which expected to experience the negative consequences of stringent environ¬ mental measures at the international level and were able to formulate a rela¬ tively coherent position (see section 1.3). Much more visible were the non¬ governmental organisations


which expressed growing societal concern

for the environment and the negative impact of environmental degradation on natural areas, on human survival and well-being in general and/or on specific groups. Furthermore, individual scientists and their networks provided infor¬ mation about the extent and consequences of environmental change. In spite of frequent uncertainty and inconclusive evidence, dominant interpretations emerged which formed the starting-point for political decision-making. The conflicts about interpretations revealed the inherently political nature of the definition of a particular environmental problem. The international implications of the environmental issue also attracted scholarly attention: an increasing number of studies have examined the link between the environment and international politics. The first contribution to this field was by Sprout and Sprout (1965), who introduced concepts derived from ecology and applied them to international politics. Publications in the 1970s and 1980s focused mainly on international organisations and their re-

A Political Economy Perspective on International Environmental Politics


sponses in accordance with the political reality of the time. Examples include Caldwell (1990; first edition 1984), Kay and Skolnikoff (1972), Kay and Jacob¬ son (1983), Kilian (1987), and Rompczyk (1979). The majority drew on interna¬ tional law and had a merely descriptive character. This emphasis on description and on empirical information without aiming to present a coherent theoretical framework was also characteristic of later works, such as Brenton (1994) and Thomas (1992). Particularly since the early 1990s, attempts have been made to understand and explain international environmental politics from the perspective of inter¬ national relations. Traditionally, theories of international relations have not in¬ cluded the environment (like many other issue areas). This is understandable because they were formulated within a specific historical context in which en¬ vironmental problems occupied a less prominent position. Moreover, environ¬ mental policy-formation was in its early stages and was predominantly directed at the national situation; the need for an international environmental policy was felt considerably later. In addition, the academic discipline of international relations has focused much more on conflict than on cooperation; the environ¬ ment, however, was seen as an issue requiring international cooperation. Therefore, decreasing tensions between East and West, symbolised by the fall of the Berlin Wall, appeared to create opportunities for a shift towards analys¬ ing international cooperation. In view of the interrelationships between the environment, the world econ¬ omy and the interstate system, international relations perspectives might be able to contribute to a better understanding of emerging conflicts and coopera¬ tion patterns. Conversely, the study of international environmental politics could enrich existing theories by providing empirical evidence about the way in which the environment has been dealt with, revealing, in the process, the func¬ tioning and development of the international system itself (see also Smith 1993). In what follows, strengths and weaknesses of approaches developed within the field of international relations (realism, liberal institutionalism and globalism)2 will be indicated to assess their potential value for the study of

2 Various other classifications reflecting similar ideas have been used. Keck (1991), for example, who examines the possibilities of the regime approach to reconcile existing ‘paradigms’, distinguishes realism, functionalism or liberalism, and political economic globalism. Hollis and Smith (1992) distinguish realism, pluralism and structuralism, with structuralism being more or less equivalent to world-system approaches. Liberal institutionalism is preferred here to pluralism because of the important role of institu¬ tions in international environmental politics. A somewhat different classification would be to separate approaches adhering either to a state-centric or a multi-centric world


Forests in International Environmental Politics

international environmental politics. This will be accompanied by a brief examination of some studies which have applied these approaches to the envi¬ ronment. The critical analysis of these three perspectives, and of their strengths and weaknesses, will show which valuable elements will be used in this research project, an approach designated as ‘political economy’. This is the basic frame¬ work which will be further developed in the remainder of this chapter by the examination of the North-South divide, the international political economy of the environment, and ngos. It will subsequently be applied to the interna¬ tional politics of cooperation on tropical rainforests, particularly with regard to the Brazilian Amazon. It should be noted that the brief characterisation of per¬ spectives cannot do justice to all the peculiarities of the various positions; the objective is just to provide a broad and inevitably general overview for the pur¬ pose of understanding international environmental politics.

1.1.1 Realism’

In realism, states are not the only actors in international politics, but they are certainly the most important ones. Protection of the national interest and the

(Rosenau 1990). Rosenau’s ideas about the coexistence of both worlds will be examined in the section on liberal institutionalism, 1.1.2. Finally, a completely different method would be to classify the existing literature on international environmental politics in terms of its focus on agency, structure or process, as Stevis,. Assetto and Mumme (1989) did in their review. Although possibly useful for an inventory of the kind carried out by these three authors, this distinction is not very appropriate here. Apart from involving an ongoing and unsettled debate (see, for example, Hollis and Smith 1991) which most approaches try to address one way or another, it does not contribute much in providing elements for a theoretical framework for the examination of international environmen¬ tal politics. j Classical realism is frequently distinguished from more recent versions of realism, designated as neo-realism or structural realism. A controversy has arisen about the con¬ cepts and implications of structural realism (as formulated by Waltz), which pays more attention to the international system and its interactive elements than classical realism does (Keohane 1986). Subsequently, particularly in the American study of International Relations, the debate has focused on the contrasts between neo-realism and neo-libera¬ lism (these two correspond to realism and liberal institutionalism in my categorisation), see Baldwin (1993a). In this edited volume, diverging opinions between modern realists (as Grieco (1993b) labels the group of scholars in which he also places Gilpin, Krasner and Waltz) and institutionalists (including Axelrod, Keohane and Stein) are voiced, par¬ ticularly in the contributions by Grieco (1993a, 1993b) and Keohane (1993). Without

A Political Economy Perspective on International Environmental Politics


maximisation of power are crucial elements which guide state behaviour. The centrality of the struggle for power implies a strong emphasis on conflicts in international relations. Realist studies have traditionally paid much attention to security and military factors, but economic issues have increased in import¬ ance. Since realism concentrates on state power and the possible use of force, international organisations play a considerably less important role and serve mainly to support states’ decisions and purposes. Hence cooperation is sup¬ posed to take place as long as it corresponds to the political and material inter¬ ests of states. The potential significance o^f transnational actors, in the sense of non-state forces engaged in international politics, is not denied, but considered relevant only for economic matters and, in the end, subject to state rivalries within established power positions. In view of the realist focus on conflict, the environment would become a significant object of study particularly if it threatened security or the national interest. From the late 1980s onwards, the issue of ‘environmental security’ has increased in importance, encompassing a two-way relationship. On the one hand, international conflicts can lead to serious environmental degradation, illustrated most vividly by the burning oil wells during the Gulf War. Less clearly observable have been the environmental consequences of the prepara¬ tions for war and the attempts at preventing it, such as the impact of nuclear testing and the remnants of nuclear sites. On the other hand, scarcity of re¬ sources, for example water and oil, can incite or aggravate international con¬ flicts. In addition, when pollution crosses borders this can give rise to tensions between states; examples include contamination of large rivers and air pollu¬ tion resulting from industries and nuclear power plants. Although scholarly interest in environmental security has grown considerably,* * 4 it has not received much attention in the field of international relations. Anyway, it would not have changed the realist view on the main actors in international politics. The question of how environmental regulation affects sovereignty inevitably centres on states. This has been a highly relevant theme in international envi¬ ronmental politics since developing countries in general, and Brazil in particu¬ lar, have frequently claimed that sovereignty was at stake. Different interpreta-

entering into the specificities of this debate, section 1.1.2 will deal with some of the differences between both approaches. 4

Although focusing on political geography, Dalby (1992) mentions a number of

studies on environmental security and discusses the origins and complexities of the main concepts. Environmental security has been examined in much more detail in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union (see DeBardeleben and Hannigan 1995), but it has also been applied to the Amazon and the Antarctic (see Brigagao 1991).

Forests in International Environmental Politics


tions have been given of the environment-sovereignty relationship, with the extremes consisting of the idea that international environmental institutions erode sovereignty because state power is restricted, and, conversely, the notion that it strengthens sovereignty because states are parties to these agreements and mainstays in their implementation.3 * 5 However, as Conca has shown, these explanations fail to differentiate be¬ tween different kinds of environmental pressures and use a narrow definition of sovereignty which only considers the external dimension. In his view, the con¬ cept of sovereignty ‘finds its basis not only in autonomy relative to external actors, but also in the state’s jurisdictional power over civil society’ (1994: 707). Defined in this way and accounting for the variety of influences, a more refined analysis of the subject is possible, which leads to a less clear picture. In the case of the Brazilian Amazon, for example, it appears that ‘sovereignty is simulta¬ neously being narrowed in scope (by international prohibitions), deepened (by strengthening state capacities and state penetration of civil society), and ren¬ dered more brittle (by eroding state legitimacy)’ (Conca 1994: 710). A number of studies on international environmental cooperation have used the realist framework either implicitly or explicitly. In their introductory book on global environmental issues, Porter and Brown (1991) regard states as the dominant actors which shape the outcome of international cooperative efforts, without glossing over international organisations,


and companies. In this

respect, they distinguish lead, supporting, swing and veto states, which play different roles in negotiations on environmental regimes. The concept of regimes, used particularly in liberal institutionalism (see 1.1.2), is confined to a ‘system of norms and rules that are specified by a multilateral legal instrument among states to regulate national actions on a given issue’ (Porter and Brown 1991: 20). The position taken by states is determined by the particular defini¬ tion of their interests, which, ‘as in global economic politics’, ‘reflect domestic political and economic structure as well as “objective” national interests in the international environment’ (Porter and Brown 1991: 37). This includes econ¬ omic and bureaucratic interests, the environmental constituency, and political, economic and geographical factors encouraging or discouraging pleas for regu¬ lation.


These ideas differ fundamentally from Krasner’s. In his 1985 book on the ‘structural

conflict’ between North and South, he concluded that the South advocated authorita¬ tive measures rather than those based on market allocation, due to the objective of pres¬ erving domestic political integrity. The influence of the environmental issue in the North-South conflict will be further examined in section 1.2.

A Political Economy Perspective on International Environmental Politics


This approach has been further elaborated by Sprinz and Vaahtoranta (1994), who offer an ‘interest-based explanation’ for cooperation on air pollu¬ tion by examining the Helsinki Protocol on transboundary acidification and the Montreal Protocol on ozone depletion. Using an empirical-quantitative analysis, they assume that two domestic factors influence a state’s position on international environmental regulation: ecological vulnerability, and the costs of pollution abatement. When put into a table, this produces four categories: bystanders, scoring low on both dimensions; draggers, with low vulnerability and high costs; pushers, the opposites ofdraggers, with high vulnerability and low costs; and intermediates, which find themselves in a complicated situation because they are highly vulnerable whereas abatement would involve high costs. In the case of the Montreal Protocol, the behaviour of draggers, pushers, and intermediates conformed to what was expected on the basis of the two domestic factors. However, in the Helsinki process, this applied only to the pushers; the other three types were merely inactive. Starting from the assumption that the environment is subject to a similar ‘power game’ as economic and security matters, Kaelberer (1992) compared co¬ operation on ozone depletion and global warming. At the time, this contrasted a successful with an unsuccessful case. His analysis underlines the significance of the realist concepts of state power and interests in explaining international environmental policy-making, in particular to clarify the cases in which co¬ operation has not been successful. This is a different starting-point from the one taken by Sprinz and Vaahtoranta, who examined two cases of cooperation. Kaelberer explicitly set out to emphasise the value of realism by comparing it with liberal institutionalist explanations, which have constituted the dominant approach in research on international environmental cooperation. He showed that liberal institutionalism could not account for the differences in both cases, whereas realism could. In conclusion, the examples cited above show what realism can contribute to an explanation of international cooperation to achieve environmental regula¬ tion. This is particularly due to the importance of states in international nego¬ tiations, which still seem to be the almost exclusive domain of states. This was shown, for example, at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development


and its preparatory meetings. However, the function¬

ing of international institutions is not shaped by state interests alone: coopera¬ tion is a more complicated process. The attempts at consensus-formation, which frequently take place behind the scenes and involve many non-state ac¬ tors, deserve more attention. This involves a mixture of consent and power, which relates cultural aspects and material interests of state and non-state ac¬ tors. Regarding the latter category, many of them operate and lobby not only


Forests in International Environmental Politics

nationally, but increasingly also internationally, forming all kinds of coalitions. The growing significance of the world economy and the internationalisation of production and finance played an important role in this respect. The incorpo¬ ration of these aspects may also shed some light on where interests come from and how they are defined—something that realism takes as given.

1.1.2 Liberal institutionalism6

Some of the weaknesses of realism have been addressed by liberal institutional¬ ism. This term has encompassed a number of theories: functionalist integration theory in the 1940s and early 1950s; neo-functionalist integration theory in the 1950s and 1960s; and subsequently theories on transnational relations, (com¬ plex) interdependence and regimes. These theories share a more positive assess¬ ment of the possibilities for cooperation between states, and consequently place less emphasis on conflict and pay greater attention to non-state actors. As Grieco (1993a: 119) put it, ‘ [f] or functionalists, the key new actors in world politics appeared to be specialized international agencies and their technical experts; for neofunctionalists, they were labor unions, political parties, trade associations, and supranational bureaucracies; and for the interdependence school, they were multinational corporations and transnational and transgovernmental coalitions’. In liberal institutional theory as formulated in the 1980s, states occupy a much more prominent position: they are seen as the ‘principal actors’ in inter¬ national politics which ‘behave on the basis of their conceptions of their own self-interests’ (Keohane 1993: 271). However, compared to realism, institution¬ alists attach more importance to the role of international institutions in chang-

6 Other terms used for the same category have been neo-liberalism (Baldwin 1993a) and neo-liberal institutionalism (Grieco 1993a; Keohane 1989). Keohane (1993: 271-2) later preferred the term ‘institutionalism’ to show that elements of both (neo-)realism and liberalism were incorporated. As far as realism is concerned, this was strongly con¬ tested by Grieco (1993a, 1993b), who argued that neo-liberal institutionalists misread the realist ideas about states and anarchy. The major problem with the terms ‘liberal’ and ‘neo-liberal’ is the difference in the meanings attached to them in North America and elsewhere. In North America these labels are often used to describe state intervention and market regulation, whereas in most other parts of the world they refer to the reliance on free markets, with neo-liberalism being the more recent and radical application of these ideas (in Thatcherite England and Pinochet’s Chile, for example). To cite an example of the different usage in North America, what Cox (1987: 219-30) depicts as the neo-liberal state would be called the Keynesian or welfare state in Europe.

A Political Economy Perspective on International Environmental Politics


ing these notions and in bringing about cooperation where mutual interests between states exist; they give a much more positive assessment of the likeli¬ hood of cooperation. In this perspective, institutions are defined as ‘persistent and connected sets of rules (formal and informal) that prescribe behavioral roles, constrain activity, and shape expectations’ (Keohane 1989: 3). Keohane distinguishes three types of institutions, which are, however, not always dis¬ tinct: intergovernmental or cross-national non-governmental organisations; conventions; and regimes.7 8 Regimes are ‘institutions with explicit rules, agreed upon by governments, that pertain to particular sets of issues in international relations’ (Keohane 1989: 4).


Another definition of institutions is ‘sets of rules that define social practices, assign roles to the participants in these practices, and govern relations among the occupants of those roles’ (Young 1994: 43-44). This definition has been used particularly in research on international environmental regimes. It differs from Keohane’s in explicitly excluding international organisations; these can, how¬ ever, play a significant role in the implementation and administration of regimes (Young 1993a). Young’s definition of regimes will be followed for the purpose of the present study. The term ‘institutions’ will be used as formulated by Keohane to indicate the broader manifestations of institutionalisation. Liberal institutionalism in general, and regime analysis in particular, have dominated the study of international environmental politics. To some extent, this has reflected the ‘new institutionalism’ in international relations (for example, Keck 1991). Moreover, the international nature of the environmental problem, crossing state boundaries, has been perceived as requiring coordina¬ tion. As liberal institutionalists were concerned about how institutions might enhance the possibilities for international cooperation, and how and if poten¬ tial mutual gains would result in the formation of regimes, this merged political with scientific interests.


Beside differences with regard to cooperation and institutions, Baldwin (1993b: 4-8)

mentions four other topics in the debate between neo-realists and neo-liberals: the na¬ ture and consequences of anarchy; whether the relative or absolute gains of international cooperation are most important; which state goals have priority—economic or security issues; and the significance of capabilities and intentions. 8

International organisations are defined as ‘purposive institutions with explicit rules,

specific assignments of roles to individuals and groups, and the capacity for action , which (unlike regimes) ‘can engage in goal-directed activities such as raising and spend¬ ing money, promulgating policies, and making discretionary choices (Keohane 1989:



Forests in International Environmental Politics

A good example of the focus on how to improve the effectiveness of interna¬ tional environmental institutions is the book edited by Haas, Keohane and Levy (1993). They stated that effective institutions would be able to influence the three stages in the policy process: drawing up the agenda, formulating inter¬ national policy, and developing national policy. The first two stages were seen as facilitating conditions for environmental improvement and the last one as a necessary condition. Based on case studies of a number of environmental issues where cooperation took place (on such issues as acid rain in Europe, depletion of the ozone layer, and the pollution of the Baltic and North Seas), they con¬ cluded that institutions had played an important role. Institutions’ effective¬ ness was measured by their (positive) influence on three aspects: increasing gov¬ ernmental concern for the issue; facilitating the making and observance of agreements; and building national political and administrative capacity. Re¬ garding the role of international organisations, they were involved in monitor¬ ing rather than enforcement, and ‘promoting reevaluation of state interests was more important than forcing behavior against a state’s interests’ (Haas, Keohane and Levy 1993: 398). The research on regime formation has covered a number of fields: how regimes are formed (through self-generation, negotiation or imposition); which stages can be distinguished (agenda formation, institutional choice and im¬ plementation); which are the major factors in this process (power, knowledge and interests); and cross-cutting factors (individual leadership and context) (Young 1994). Furthermore, the persistence and transformation of regimes have also been examined (see, for example, Rittberger 1993) as well as their ef¬ fectiveness (see, for example, Levi, Young and Ziirn 1994). The large number of studies on regimes can be divided into different categories or approaches (see, for example, Haggard and Simmons 1987; List and Rittberger 1992). Over the years, regime analysis has met with a considerable amount of criti¬ cism. The earliest of these, formulated by Susan Strange (1982), charged that it was a fashionable topic for us scholars in particular and involved an imprecise concept which was value-loaded, too static and state-centred. As research on regimes increased rapidly, some of these objections have been addressed. For example, more dynamic approaches towards regimes have been developed and conceptual vagueness has diminished. The regime analysis has also increasingly been used in Europe, particularly in Germany, revealing differences with us approaches (Junne 1992:11-2; Rittberger 1993). Although diversity has increased with the growing number of studies, making generalisation more difficult, the large majority of regime analysts have continued to focus on states. Like realists, they took state preferences and interests as given, and did not pay much atten¬ tion to non-state actors, domestic politics or the global context.9 This peculiar

A Political Economy Perspective on International Environmental Politics


approach towards the functioning of institutions has frequently not only taken existing arrangements for granted, but also strengthened them (cf. Cox’s 1986 distinction between problem-solving and critical theories). Liberal institutionalists were aware of these deficiencies. The distinction made by Keohane (1989:158-75) between rationalistic and reflective approaches towards international institutions clearly took into account the weaknesses of the rationalistic study. Furthermore, in discussing factors which determine the effectiveness of international institutions, Young (1993b) discerned en¬ dogenous and exogenous variables. The first category, the attributes of the in¬ stitutional arrangements themselves, included the degree of transparency, the robustness of the mechanisms, and the stringency of the transformation rules. The broader social or contextual conditions included the distribution of power, interdependence, and the intellectual order.9 10 More recently, research has been done which aims to overcome these short¬ comings. Elaborating on the regime approach, cognitivist or ‘social construc¬ tivist’ analyses focus on the role of knowledge and ideas, and on processes of learning, on the way in which information may transform governmental and institutional interests, agendas and policies. In this perspective, states are no longer seen as unitary actors. Ernst Haas (1990), for example, has investigated processes of change within international organisations which take place through either adaptation or learning. Research on epistemic communities has examined the role of these ‘networks of knowledge-based experts’ in ‘articulat¬ ing the cause-and-effect relationship of complex problems, helping states ident¬ ify their interests, framing the issues for collective debate, proposing specific policies, and identifying salient points for negotiations’ (Haas, P.M. 1992: 2). However, this obviously involves a two-way relationship, in which scientists


Recent exceptions are Haufler (1993), who stressed the role of private organisations

in regime formation, and Ziirn (1993), who examined the domestic sources of regime formation. jo


a good illustration of the problem-solving nature of some institutionalist ap¬

proaches, Young, in making this distinction, remarked that the first category was di¬ rectly relevant to those designing international regimes, whereas they would find the second group of aspects ‘harder to subject to conscious control’. ‘Even so, a knowledge of these contextual factors can play an important role both in improving decisions about the timing of efforts to launch new institutions and in assisting those responsible for devising new provisions of constitutional contracts to adjust the character of new in¬ stitutions to the conditions under which they will operate’ (Young 1993b: 176). Simi¬ larly, Bernauer (1995: 353) emphasises the need to improve the assessment of the effec¬ tiveness of environmental institutions in order ‘to arrive at practical recommendations for the design and operation of institutions’.


Forests in International Environmental Politics

(and other non-state actors) become politicised as well: this includes aspects such as the specific way in which information is presented; the selection made by policy-makers (sometimes distilling different positions from the same evi¬ dence); and the promotion and funding of specific topics for further research (see Boehmer-Christiansen’s (1995) analysis of the British scientific community with respect to climate change). Increasing attention to non-state actors is also shown in Rosenau’s thesis on the ‘bifurcation’ of world politics, in which a multi-centric world has emerged beside the already existing state-centric world (Rosenau 1990, 1993). The cur¬ rent situation is characterised by a co-existence of and interaction between these two worlds. In the multi-centric world, Rosenau distinguishes interna¬ tional organisations,


subgroups, transnational actors and state bureau¬

cracies. Particularly subgroups have increased in significance, stimulating de¬ centralisation at all levels, and contradicting centralising tendencies brought about by interdependence issues and economic globalisation. Emerging envi¬ ronmental issues, particularly those labelled as ‘redistributive bads’ (aggrava¬ tion of pollution),11 are seen as having the potential to bring about decisive changes in the interaction between both worlds and the tensions between cen¬ tralising and decentralising tendencies. Although the bifurcation idea is interes¬ ting, it remains unclear what the real contribution is of the division into two worlds and the link with a particular type of environmental problem. The early 1990s also witnessed the revival of the concept of transnational relations. The major differences from earlier research consisted in the use of a more explicit definition;12 the recognition of states’ importance both nationally and internationally; and the incorporation of domestic structures into the ana-


The other three categories distinguished are: distributive goods (newly discovered

resources); redistributive goods (technological breakthroughs); and distributive bads (newly identified environmental problems, such as global warming and depletion of the ozone layer). According to Rosenau (1993), these three are likely to be less politicised because they involve, among other things, long-term effects on which mobilisation is more difficult. However, the classification of problems and its value is doubtful. Rosenau himself acknowledges this by giving the example of deforestation in the Brazil Amazon, which would fall in all categories. Moreover, of all environmental issues the ‘distributive bads’ have had the largest political impact in recent years. 12

Transnational relations were defined as ‘regular interactions across national boun¬

daries when at least one actor is a non-state agent or does not act on behalf of a national government or an intergovernmental organization’ (Risse-Kappen 1992: m2). They had to involve clearly identifiable actors or groups of actors’ from more than one country, which tried to ‘achieve certain political goals in the “target” country’ (Risse-Kappen 1992: 8).

A Political Economy Perspective on International Environmental Politics


lysis (Risse-Kappen 1992). By linking different theoretical debates, the project aimed to investigate the policy impact of transnational coalitions and actors and the influence of domestic and international circumstances. Such an ap¬ proach might yield important insights by overcoming major deficiencies of liberal institutionalism, although it is open to doubt whether the global (econ¬ omic) context and structural inequalities will be taken into account. '/


Globalism 7 /

Globalism is used here to encompass both world-system structuralism and those approaches which have been designated as global international economy (for example, Gill and Law 1988), international political economy (for example, Strange 1988), heterodox or new international political economy (for example, ripe 1994), historical dialectic (for example, Cox 1992), and structuralist (Palan 1992, who labels it second structuralist to distinguish it from the preceding world-system analysis). There is a multitude of differences between and within both groups (indicated here as world-system structuralism and international political economy). They will not be examined here in detail because the main focus is on assessing the strengths and weaknesses of these approaches for the analysis of international environmental politics. Globalist approaches have addressed the objections of liberal institutional¬ ism indicated above by examining the world system, as well as economic and political structures and processes. However, presumably precisely because of this focus, the environment has not been a very important object of study, es¬ pecially by comparison with liberal institutionalism. In spite of this lack of at¬ tention, globalist perspectives have some relevance for international environ¬ mental politics. World-system structuralism focuses on the structural depend¬ encies within a world system brought about by global economic integration, in which states operate according to their relative position in either the centre, semiperiphery or periphery. Although this fixed hierarchy could change over time, it determines states’ possibilities within the world system. According to this approach, development and underdevelopment result from the economic subordination of the (semi)periphery to the centre and of the weak to strong states (with semiperipheral slates somewhere in between). In this respect, the environmental aspect involves the centre s role in the (accelerated) exploitation of natural resources in the periphery. International institutions have been important for the maintenance and re¬ production of this unequal system. Regarding the environment, Rompczyk (1979) focused on the way in which international organisations pursued the

Forests in International Environmental Politics


objectives of industrialised countries in the formation of environmental policy. In his view, the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, the United Nations Environment Programme, and the World Bank operated in accordance with the Northern logic of amplifying dependency structures through the incorporation of Southern countries. The environmentally-damag¬ ing activities of transnational corporations were legitimised in this integration strategy. Such an explanation of international environmental politics can be criticised on various counts, such as its neglect of the state, its static view of politics, and the lack of attention it pays to the complex dynamics of North-South relation¬ ships and national political processes. Nevertheless, its contribution consists in establishing the link between the environment and the world economy by plac¬ ing it in the structurally unequal relationship between North and South. This is all the more important since the environment-development nexus has domi¬ nated many discussions of international environmental politics, giving a new impetus to the North-South conflict (see section 1.2). International political economy approaches address the weaknesses men¬ tioned above, particularly the importance of and the interrelationships between national and international processes (and coalitions), and the inseparability of politics and economics. In the existing literature, environmental degradation and resource depletion have been mentioned as manifestations of a broader political, social and economic crisis (see, for example, Lipietz (1992a), who con¬ nects them to the crisis of productivism), or as one of the consequences of the process of globalisation, which might give rise to conflicts or become an incen¬ tive for change. Cox (1992) has mentioned the global ecosystem as the third component of the global system, next to the world economy and the interstate system. These three are ‘autonomous in having their own inherent dynamics, and, at the same time, interdependent with each other. Contradictions are generated within each of the three spheres, and contradictions arise in the interrelationships among the three spheres’ (Cox 1992:161). In this perspective, international en¬ vironmental politics can be seen as functioning within the interplay of the three spheres. This is a very useful characterisation of the problematic which can serve as the starting-point of analysis. The problem with this perspective, however, is that of the descent from the general theoretical level. This lack of empirical support is related to the approach’s relative novelty, its objective to reveal inher¬ ently fluid power structures, and the difficulties of dealing with findings that do not fit the overall framework very clearly.13

A Political Economy Perspective on International Environmental Politics


For example, the role of international institutions has not received very much attention in international political economy apart from examination of their functions as mechanisms that legitimate and strengthen hegemony and its norms,14 co-opt Southern elites and absorb counter-hegemonic ideas (Cox 1983:172-3). To substantiate the characterisation of these institutions as ‘in part the institutionalisation and regulation of existing order, and in part the site of struggle between conservative and transformative forces’ (Cox 1992: 177), a more detailed analysis is necessary which takes account of their peculiarities. Moreover, because of the focus on political economy, the role of ngos in international politics, particularly environmental


has been underesti¬

mated, especially their potential as a counter-hegemonic force that can press for societal and political change. Subsequent sections will address these features by examining the North-South conflict, international organisations, the interna¬ tional political economy and ngos in the context of the emergence of the envi¬ ronment as an international issue, with specific reference to tropical rainforests and the Brazilian Amazon. In conclusion, environmental research within the academic discipline of in¬ ternational relations has concentrated on the impact of the environment on political and economic issues, what Conca (1993: 309) has called ‘explicit envi¬ ronmental politics’. As explained in the introductory section of this chapter, the reverse relationships (the impact of political and economic issues on the envi¬ ronment) and the interaction between them seem to be more significant, since they have shaped (‘implicit’) international environmental politics to a great ex¬ tent. Therefore, such an approach could fill gaps in existing analyses by placing the realist focus on states and the liberal institutionalist emphasis on institu¬ tions in a different perspective. It would represent the international relations dimension of research on the ‘political economy of the environment’ directed at the national level (as done, for example, by Guimaraes (1991) in the case of Brazil), and on specific issues and actors, sometimes carried out in other aca¬ demic disciplines.


This last aspect, which of course applies to other approaches as well, seems to be

more problematic in the case of international political economy in view of its broad, almost comprehensive character and its non-positivist methodology (positivism in the sense in which it is used by, among others, Hollis and Smith (1992: 12)). 14

Hegemony is used in the Gramscian sense of a ‘structure of values and under¬

standings about the nature of order that permeates a whole society, in this case a world society composed of states and non-state corporate entities’ (Cox 1992:179).

Forests in International Environmental Politics


— 1.2 The environment in the North-South context — The emergence of the environment as an international problem gave rise to a revival of the North-South conflict in the early 1990s. During the first eruption of this conflict, in the early 1970s, Southern countries succeeded in putting their demands for a New International Economic Order cal agenda. The adoption of the nieo declaration by the



in 1974 was the culmination of efforts by the Group of 77

on the politi¬

General Assembly


the platform

which united Southern countries (named after the number of countries which subscribed to a joint declaration at the first meeting of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development The



in 1964).

requests pervaded and complicated, for example, the 1972


Conference on the Human Environment. The South rejected the metaphor of ‘Spaceship Earth’ that was used to characterise the threats posed by environ¬ mental degradation to humankind as a whole. It was especially Brazil that em¬ phasised the metaphor’s fallacy: since it failed to deal with the structural in¬ equalities between North and South, such an approach would only maintain the status quo without producing any acceptable result (Araujo Castro 1972; Guimaraes 1991: 143-57). As a result of these strongly-worded objections, the Conference focused more directly on the relationship between environment and development, particularly the differences between North and South re¬ garding environmental and developmental priorities (see section 4.1). Environ¬ mental considerations were, however, negligible in the


campaign; even if

they were mentioned in documents and declarations, this was mainly to stress the broader political and economic changes requested by the South. The adoption of the nieo programme by the un General Assembly resulted from the peculiar conjunction of political and economic factors in this period. This included the widely supported ideas about the interdependence between North and South, and the need for a dialogue and for some kind of interna¬ tional regulation to diminish the most extreme effects of unequal economic development. Southern countries strongly objected to the focus on ‘basic needs’ in order to alleviate absolute poverty, which became the dominant orientation of development programmes in the early 1970s. They saw this par¬ ticular approach as an infringement of sovereignty, and emphasised instead the need for international economic reforms. These would have to consist of the transformation of the international monetary system, stabilisation of com¬ modity prices, reform of international economic institutions, restrictions on the activities of multinational corporations, and the adoption of specific pro¬ grammes for development aid


1974: 324-32).

A Political Economy Perspective on International Environmental Politics


The acceptance of the Southern demands in the context of the United Na¬ tions was enabled by the increasing number of new states following decolonisa¬ tion, which changed majorities. Moreover, Southern confidence and leverage had grown as a result of the power acquired by the opec; although the majority of the developing countries were oil importers, the oil crisis gave them a moral boost (and a financial injection as a result of the recycling of‘petro dollars’). In spite of declining American hegemony, the us and other Northern countries still showed commitment to international institutions in this period. Finally, although differences could be noticed, Southern countries were able to formu¬ late a relatively coherent position because of the work done by un agencies and secretariats, particularly




(the Economic Commission for

Latin America). Although the


programme was adopted, no practical steps towards the

realisation of its objectives were taken, which revealed the merely symbolic character of this support. In the early 1980s, the North-South dialogue on econ¬ omic issues nearly stopped due to two, mutually related developments. Firstly, the international economic recession led to policy changes in the North, which started to focus on fighting rising levels of inflation and unem¬ ployment and raising protectionist barriers. Countries which had traditionally supported many Southern concerns (such as the Scandinavian countries) turned their attention to domestic economic problems. The economic measures result¬ ed in a decline in world trade, resource flows and investments and in falling commodity prices, and had a negative impact on Southern economies. Espe¬ cially in Latin America, this added to the enormous problems caused by the foreign debt: it became increasingly difficult to service the debt built up by widespread borrowing in the context of rising interest rates and a declining gross national product. It was in this period that Latin American countries, including Brazil, turned from being net importers of capital to net exporters. Secondly, in a number of Northern countries, the United States and the United Kingdom in particular, neo-liberal leaders were elected who opposed existing patterns of international cooperation and state-guided development patterns. International institutions, the


and its agencies in particular, were

taken less seriously by the us and ran into financial difficulties. Only the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund


in which Northern coun¬

tries predominated, were seeivas appropriate international organisations to deal with economic and development matters. Developing countries had to transfer political power to these organisations in order to manage the debt problem. This intervention in their economic policies resulted in structural adjustment programmes which involved trade liberalisation, privatisation and deregulation of their economies. According to this ‘Washington consensus’ (Williamson


Forests in International Environmental Politics

199°: 9-33),

which emerged from the crisis of Keynesianism, a market-oriented

approach was necessary to reverse the tendencies which had caused the debt crisis. These were connected with the enormous size of the state sector, which, by adopting the strategy of import substitution, had encouraged protectionism, inefficiency, and lack of fiscal discipline (Bresser Pereira

1992: 15-6).

These changes in the international situation explain the decline of the


demands and the diminishing intensity of the North-South conflict. It meant the end of the challenge to the liberal order, in which the South opposed mar¬ ket-oriented solutions and tried to move existing international institutions in the direction of‘authoritative’ allocation, provided this did not threaten sovereignty (Krasner


This strategy was inspired not only by material interests,

but also by the objective of reducing vulnerability to external shocks caused by the international economy.15 In the




faltered as a result of the

emphasis on domestic reforms, the case-by-case approach followed by the World Bank and


and the increasing differentiation between Southern

countries. A ‘North-South’ divide appeared within the South itself, with coun¬ tries such as Brazil, Mexico and South Korea at one extreme and sub-Saharan African countries at the other—a divergent process of integration into the in¬ ternational economy which Ominami

(1986: 175-82)

has characterised in terms

of cooptation versus marginalisation. Nevertheless, in spite of their differences, Southern countries have common interests, particularly in adjusting international economic conditions to en¬ hance possibilities for development. The reduction of external indebtedness and of protectionism in the North, the achievement of adequate prices for pro¬ ducts and commodities, and the transfer of technology and financial resources are binding elements. They require international negotiations and agreements which are impossible for the strongest countries to achieve on their own (see, for example, Corea


This idea of shared interests, and the need for co¬

operation between Southern countries and for a new North-South dialogue, inspired the creation of the South commission in



and of its institutional

According to Krasner (1985), Southern countries strove to increase predictability and

security because of their small size, weak domestic societies and political systems. Exter¬ nal stability was required to prevent domestic political turmoil; for Southern policy¬ makers, criticising the North had the additional advantage of raising domestic support. Although this explanation contains valuable elements with regard to the


it is not easily applicable to the North-South controversy surrounding



though the populist aspect of castigating the North certainly played a role, the



position was mainly voiced by the larger countries, and the number of (relatively stable) democracies was much higher than in the early 1970s.

A Political Economy Perspective on International Environmental Politics


successor, the South Centre, in 1990. This was the context which saw the emer¬ gence of the explicit link between environment and development, and the rec¬ ognition that the environment could be a new source of leverage for the South. During the third session of the in August 1991, the



preparatory committee (PrepCom)

accused the North of focusing on environmental pro¬

tection while neglecting economic and trade issues. As a result of this pressure, more attention was paid to these so-called cross-sectoral issues in the negotia¬ tions. In a 1991 paper prepared at the time of the third PrepCom by a group of experts including Southern environmentalists, the South Centre formulated the G-77’s interests in and strategy for the yNCED negotiations. Because it dealt with environment and development, the Conference was seen as providing an opportunity not only for an integrated approach towards sustainable develop¬ ment, but also for: (...) engaging in more balanced negotiations between the North and the South, and it could yield results that the developing countries have been seeking for some time. Global action on the environment cannot succeed without the full participation and collaboration of the South. Indeed, unced

is an international conference where the North is seeking environ¬

mental concessions from the South, and where the South can make such concessions in return for firm commitments by the North to restructure glo¬ bal economic relations (South Centre 1991: 1-2). In view of this newly obtained bargaining power, two ‘key strategic consider¬ ations’ would have to shape the South’s bargaining position (South Centre 1991: 3-7). The first involved the need to acquire sufficient environmental space’ for future development; the fact that Northern growth had resulted in environ¬ mental degradation should not impede development in the South. Second, the ‘resource gap’ in the South (between investment needs and savings, and be¬ tween import needs and export earnings), which was likely to be aggravated by environmental imperatives, should be diminished. Therefore, steps should be taken to transfer technology and resources, increase access to markets, reduce the debt burden, ensure that commodity prices would reflect the environmen¬ tal costs of the South, and regulate multinational corporations with regard to safety and the environment. In fact, the environmental issue brought some of the demands of the


back on the agenda, but did not change the Southern

objective of following the Northern growth path, leaving unquestioned the en¬ vironmental consequences of this development model. According to the strategy paper, the environment could provide a fresh im¬ petus for the North-South dialogue and for negotiations on development and international economic reforms, not only before and during, but also after


Forests in International Environmental Politics


It was suggested that ‘the South’s position should stress measures to

reverse the South-North flow of resources' (South Centre 1991: 13; italics in orig¬ inal). If the South was to use its bargaining strength to the full extent, which was not yet the case, according to the South Centre’s paper, it should play its cards right. Moreover, it needed to become more united and ‘recognize and use the fact that some developing countries have greater importance in the eyes of the North in deliberations on the global environment’ (South Centre 1991: 25). Networks and task forces of experts were necessary to counter Northern scien¬ tific dominance in the negotiations. Contacts with Southern


would have

to be intensified to seek their advice, profit from their know-how, and establish closer links with Northern


in this way. Related to this, public opinion in

the North should be addressed to correct the negative environmental image of the South and to explain its position. In the negotiations themselves, the South should ensure that the results ac¬ corded with its vital interests and avoid reaching a binding agreement in one forum without obtaining concessions in another. It should even be careful with ‘seemingly non-binding declarations’: As experience has shown, such recommendations or statements of principle can, in another setting, become de facto binding on the countries of the South, while remaining mere statements of intent which can be ignored by the countries of the North. A declaration of principle on the environment can, for example, be turned by international financial institutions, which are controlled by the North, into an instrument stipulating conditions for loans and thus an added element of conditionality or cross-conditionality prac¬ ticed vis-a-vis the developing countries (South Centre 1991: 8; italics in orig¬ inal).

For similar reasons, they (vainly) rejected an expansion of the World Bank’s power in the environmental area, particularly with respect to an even more central role in the administration of environmental funds. The strategy recommended by the South Centre did guide the South’s posi¬ tion during


(indicated as the


plus China). The most contentious

issues, in which the North-South conflict stalled negotiations, were those on forests and financial resources (see sections 4.3 and 4.4). With regard to forests, the


repeatedly referred to the question of sovereignty, defined in the sense

as upholding state autonomy vis-a-vis external actors (see 1.1). Although the South largely succeeded in closing ranks (especially when typical North-South issues were involved) and avoiding unwanted environmental regulatory agree¬ ments, it did not obtain major concessions from the North on international economic reforms, trade, debt, transfer of technology or financial resources.

A Political Economy Perspective on International Environmental Politics


This picture has not changed significantly since unced. The decreasing pol¬ itical importance of the environment now that the conference had been held implied, however, that the necessity of closing ranks diminished. Different groupings of countries within both North and South emerged, showing an in¬ creasing diversification of views and interests. They only presented a united front in negotiations on certain specific issues. As far as the South was con¬ cerned, these included financial resources and the question of environment and free trade. The discussions held in the framework of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade


showed a clear North-South divide. Southern coun¬

tries repeatedly expressed their strong objections to ‘green protectionism’ and the possibility that environmental requirements would bar their development. They requested concrete financial commitments and concessions on the debt problem, but without success. The lack of major concessions on the part of the North can be related to the relatively limited power of (and the budgetary constraints faced by) the


as a

result of declining support from the North, especially the United States. Apart from the Gulf War interval, when the us saw the Security Council as an effec¬ tive forum to justify its military actions, only matters without high political and economic relevance have been relegated to the


Institutions with a more

limited membership or with voting powpr based on financial contributions have dealt with these other prominent issues, which have had a large impact on the environment. The


has had almost no influence in these areas. It has

focused instead on the (explicit) environmental aspects. Consequently, agree¬ ments on international economic reforms proved impossible in the


context without fundamental changes in Northern commitment to the


Nevertheless, during the period in which the environment became the sub¬ ject of international controversies, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the distinc¬ tion between these two types of forums became somewhat blurred as far as the environmental issue was concerned. As pointed out in section i.x, the environ¬ ment could influence the functioning of the world economy and the interstate system, and formed a new problem which revived older debates. This politici¬ sation, due in part to the activities of environmental


provoked a reaction

on the part of other state and non-state actors. This also meant that the envi¬ ronmental issue transcended rhe traditionally state-oriented international negotiations, adding another dimension to the North-South conflict, the inter¬ national political economy of the environment, characterised by international (or transnational) processes of consensus-formation. This political economy will be examined in the next section.


Forests in International Environmental Politics

— 1.3 The international political economy of the environment — The environmental issue strengthened not only Southern demands for interna¬ tional economic restructuring, but also the proponents of some kind of inter¬ national regulation. The ‘regulationist’ coalition in international organisations, which had lost power as a result of the popularity of neo-liberalism, perceived the environmental problem in terms of international solidarity and the need to ensure Our Common Future (as the Brundtland report was entitled). It was therefore seen to call for an international approach. The environment seemed to offer possibilities for international bureaucracies to advance and introduce more political regulation. The wced, established by the


General Assembly in 1983 following a pro¬

posal put forward at the 10-year review of the 1972 Conference, was more or less an exponent of international Keynesianism. In that sense it succeeded the Pearson and Brandt commissions, consisting of ‘mainly Northern social and liberal democrats and members of the official South’ (Graf 1992: 555). Like its prede¬ cessors, the Brundtland commission assessed how Southern demands could be realised within the existing international order. It concentrated on the relation¬ ship between environment and development in a broad perspective. Its 1987 report extensively documented the scale and causes of the environmental de¬ struction, pointing out, among other problems, those resulting from economic growth and overconsumption. However, the recommendations of Our Common Future have received more attention than its analysis, particularly the concept of

sustainable development


which was put forward. The contradictions

between analysis and recommendations can be explained by the statement by Khalid (1989:12), vice-chairman of the Brundtland commission, that the report is ‘preeminently a political document’. The current dominant interpretation of sustainable development originates from the Brundtland commission, although it elaborated on previous ideas on a World Conservation Strategy as formulated by the



Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) in 1980 and on studies carried out in the 1970s (Adams 1990: 14-65; Harborth 1989: 12-32).


and similar concepts had been discussed befc x, but the momentum and politi¬ cal importance that they gained from 1987 onwards were unprecedented. Ac¬ cording to the


‘sustainable development is development which meets

the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’


1988: 43). In order to realise this, a series of

critical objectives should be aimed for. The most important of these in the short term were the resurgence of (a qualitatively different) economic growth, and the fulfilment of basic needs. Other goals, such as the achievement of a

A Political Economy Perspective on International Environmental Politics


sustainable population level, enhancement of the resource base, and a reorien¬ tation of international economic relations and technology, would seem to be oriented toward the facilitation and/or realisation of future needs



49-65). In general, much emphasis was placed on a ‘sustainable world economy’: If large parts of the developing world are to avert economic, social and envi¬ ronmental catastrophes, it is essential that global economic growth be revi¬ talized. In practical terms, this means more rapid economic growth in both industrial and developing countries, fre'er market access for the products of developing countries, lower interest rates, greater technology transfer, and significantly large capital flows, both concessional and commercial


1988: 89). The problems and inconsistencies of sd become especially clear with respect to the necessity of economic growth, and the relationship between poverty and environmental degradation. The supposed need for economic growth has two problematic connotations. Firstly, if economic growth and sustainability are not fundamentally contradictory, which means that growth can lead to either an improvement or a deterioration of the environment, then ‘there is no reason to have economic growth as an operational objective of sd’ (Lele 1990: 614).16 Secondly, according to the mainstream interpretation of sustainable develop¬ ment, poverty should be diminished to stop the cycle of poverty and environ¬ mental degradation. It is, however, open to doubt whether economic growth can achieve that, as experiences of the past decades have shown. Hence, as Lele (1991: 614) points out, ‘if economic growth by itself leads to neither environ¬ mental sustainability nor removal of poverty, it is clearly a “non-objective” for sd’.

In addition, the analysis of


is based on the close relationship between

poverty and environmental degradation, resulting in a downward spiral in which they reinforce each other. However, the structural causes of these two problems have been only partially examined, focusing especially on more tech¬ nical aspects. As Graf put it, ‘[i]n a later article, Brundtland herself confirms the Report’s tendency to interpret the manifestations of poverty as the major causes of environmental degradation’ (Graf 1992: 556; his italics). Because more atten¬ tion was paid to the negative environmental impact of developments in the South, the consequences of Northern growth policies were glossed over. The attempt to integrate the concepts of ‘sustainability’ and ‘development’ within


Within this line of reasoning, the only convincing reason for growth would be the

collection of funds to implement and control environmental policy.

Forests in International Environmental Politics


sustainable development has resulted in a discourse that largely neglects the old contradictions of the development notion. The popularity of the concept is to a large degree related to its vagueness. Sustainable development has become an all-encompassing term which is claimed to direct projects, policy and research, a ‘“metafix” that will unite everybody from the profit-minded industrialist and risk-minimizing subsist¬ ence farmer to the equity-seeking social worker, the pollution-concerned or wildlife-loving First Worlder, the growth-maximizing policy maker, the goaloriented bureaucrat, and therefore, the vote-counting politician’ (Lele 1991: 613). This wide acceptance and support can be seen as a major achievement of the Brundtland commission and as a successful attempt at consensus-formation. The solution to the environmental problem is to be found by pursuing a spe¬ cific form of economic growth. However, this consensus has, at the same time, generated new contradictions, since all the relevant political actors started to formulate their particular strategy on how to achieve this, giving rise to a variety of interpretations. The Brundtland commission itself proposed a regulationist approach and stressed the need for effective international cooperation and international re¬ forms. Institutional changes were required in view of the weakening confidence in international institutions; as stated in the report, the commission ‘regrets but cannot ignore the recent decline in multilateral co-operation in general and a negative attitude to dialogue on development in particular’


1988: 90).

All existing institutions (national and international, ranging from bilateral aid agencies and the World Bank to




should be reoriented in the

direction of sustainable development. Moreover, the commission recom¬ mended an increase in the flow of resources to the South and an improvement of its quality’, the adoption of rules in the areas of trade, investments and trans¬ fer of technology, and the incorporation of environmental aspects into codes of conduct for multinational corporations


1988: 67-89).

This particular emphasis on institutions and regulation contradicted the political and economic realities of this period, as the preceding section has shown. Nevertheless, it set the tone for the international environmental debate by forcing and provoking other actors to formulate a reaction. This was further encouraged and necessitated by the 1989 decision of the


General Assembly

to hold a conference on environment and development


in 1992. The

inconsistencies of the Brundtland report and the vagueness of the sustainable development concept left enough room for different interpretations. The chap¬ ter on industry (entitled Industry: producing more with less) contained not only recommendations for regulations but also an appeal for responsible behaviour by companies and the use of economic instruments. This was accompanied by

A Political Economy Perspective on International Environmental Politics


a number of relatively optimistic statements about the possibilities to bring about change, for example, ‘[fjortunately, the past two decades of environmen¬ tal action have provided governments and industry with the policy experience and the technological means to achieve more sustainable patterns of industrial development’ (wced 1988: 211). Such a comprehensive document could serve as a starting-point for interna¬ tional business associations which formulated their views on the environmental problem. These opinions are particularly interesting to analyse because of the importance attached to multinational companies in achieving

sd (wced


18). The International Chamber of Comrherce and the Business Council for Sustainable Development, both representing multinational corporations, undertook specific activities on the environment in the period before


In doing so, they built on aspects of the Brundtland report, especially on the concept of sustainable development (sometimes reformulated as ‘sustainable growth’), but largely rejected the regulationist approach it advocated. Instead, solutions would have to be found in self-regulation, voluntary codes of con¬ duct, and market-oriented instruments. A major example of such an approach is the Business Charter for Sustainable Development launched by the International Chamber of Commerce in April 1991. This voluntary code, consisting of 16 non-binding principles for environ¬ mental management, received widespread business support and was under¬ written by more than 1,000 (national and international) companies and asso¬ ciations in one year (Willums and Golucke 1992: 9). In the introduction, the Charter emphasised the compatibility of economic growth and environmental protection: growth provides the conditions in which environmental protection can be achieved, and environmental protection ‘is necessary to achieve growth that is sustainable’ (Willums and Golucke 1992: 355). It asserted that ‘one of the greatest challenges’ was to make market forces work in a sustainable manner, ‘with the help of performance-based standards and judicious use of economic instruments in a harmonious regulatory framework’ (Willums and Golucke 1992: 356). Based on the Charter’s ideas, the


recommendations for


also stressed that ‘open trade is a key requirement for sustainable development’; international trade and investment should, therefore, be further liberalised (Willums and Golucke 1992: 18). In the context of


the Business Council for Sustainable Develop¬

ment appeared to be more important than the




in 1990 to express business concerns and interests during the

was established



the 48 members were leaders of multinational corporations, representing key industrial sectors. The direct reason for creating the the Secretary-General of



was the request by

Maurice Strong, to the Swiss industrialist

Forests in International Environmental Politics


Stephan Schmidheiny to serve as his principal advisor. In order to facilitate his work and broaden the basis of support, Schmidheiny subsequently invited other business leaders. During the advice and guidance to the



process, the


was to ‘provide

secretariat and initiatives and activities

undertaken by business and industry’, including icc programmes (Chatterjee and Finger 1994:115; quoted from the BrundtlandBulletin),17 It has been claimed that, because of this distinct position, the bcsd could exert much more influence than, for example, the majority of ngos, which had to rely on participation in preparatory committee meetings (ibid). The


status reflects the special

importance attached to the private sector, which differed from the role


were supposed to play. Moreover, companies were able to express a much more coherent view than the large variety of ngos (see also sections 1.4 and 6.x). Shortly before the conference, the bcsd published a book entitled Changing course. A global business perspective on development and the environment (Schmid¬ heiny 1992). Assuming the compatibility of economic growth and environmen¬ tal protection, it aimed to show that care for the environment could and should be merely left to market forces. To underline this message, almost half of the book was dedicated to case studies of companies’ ‘successful steps towards sus¬ tainable development’. Other requirements in this respect were international free trade and a minimum of regulation. Although the need for or the desirable existence of some kind of government regulation was indicated at various points in the book, as will be shown below, this did not really affect the overall theme. The book emphasised the responsibility of companies to care for the envi¬ ronment and to take the lead. In order to achieve ‘clean and equitable’ econ¬ omic growth, seen as an integral part of sustainable development, environmen¬ tal costs (such as pollution and resource depletion) should not only be reduced as much as possible but also calculated and included in production costs. As such, this ‘internalisation’ (designated as ‘full-cost pricing’ in the



and as ‘getting the prices right’ in World Bank terminology; see chapter 5) has been widely accepted and supported. It has, however, proven very difficult to put it into practice, especially since international rules and standards have been lacking and companies are unlikely to implement it individually for reasons of competitiveness. Moreover, it is debatable whether the calculation of some types of environmental degradation as a production factor or externality would


In addition to advice and lobbying, companies also contributed financially; accord¬

ing to Chatterjee and Finger (1994: 117), they fhnded nearly one-fifth of the costs of UNCED

(including the non-governmental Global Forum).

A Political Economy Perspective on International Environmental Politics


make sense, because collective goods can hardly be divided into separate units. Regarding this aspect, Changing Course stated that ‘it may be sufficient merely to introduce environmental charges slowly but predictably’ (Schmidheiny 1992: 17). The bcsd stressed the desirability of self-regulation, which was preferred to economic instruments and particularly to ‘command and control’, the direct government regulation of corporate activities. Although the relevance of gov¬ ernment influence was recognised (particularly in providing a basic regulatory framework), the reliance on market forces was seen as superior, mainly because of its supposedly lower costs. A ‘right mixf would have to be found with less command and control, since too much emphasis has been laid on this ap¬ proach, the



Remarkably, the book mentioned the ‘threat of government regulation’ as one of the forces driving industry towards self-regulation (Schmidheiny 1992: 20). Research on this aspect carried out in 1990 and 1991 also showed that laws and regulations (being) developed in a company’s home country were the pri¬ mary reason for changing its environmental policies; voluntary international guidelines were much less significant


1993: 37-9).18 Moreover, many

multinational corporations focus predominantly on compliance with regula¬ tions and prevention of incidents, while only a minority tries to use the market opportunities of green business


1993:178-9). In the case of nationally-

oriented companies, which are not directly represented by organisations such as the


a more conservative, cautious attitude vis-a-vis these matters can be

expected in most cases (see also chapter 3). The peculiar, indeed ‘global business’,19 perspective of the



clear in the discussion of economic instruments. These instruments, which are based on market incentives, can create inequalities between sectors and indus¬ tries because of, for example, different degrees of energy intensity and effi¬ ciency. According to Schmidheiny, some kind of temporary compensation might be given, but it is added that ‘ultimately we have to accept that a move toward sustainable development will cause far-reaching change in the structure of business and industry; there will be losers and there will be winners’


It should be noted that the number of international agreements increased consider¬

ably after the 19


survey was held; changes in this area might well be possible.

It has been pointed out that the term ‘global’ should be qualified because the inter¬

nationalisation strategy of large multinational corporations depends on their domestic situation; moreover, international trade and investments have concentrated on a few regions (North America, Europe, and East and South East Asia) (Ruigrok and Van Tulder 1995: 152-73).


Forests in International Environmental Politics

(Schmidheiny 1992: 25). It can be argued that the bcsd represents the views of those companies which expect and are most likely to be the ‘winners’; at various instances, the book contests opposing views, presumably expressed by likely ‘losers’. Protectionist lobbying by businesses is rejected (see below), and with regard to regulation versus economic instruments, for example, it is stated that: Business has favored regulation in the past because it also [like governments] is more familiar with this approach, and feels it can influence it through negotiation. In addition, in many nations regulations are passed but rarely enforced (Schmidheiny 1992: 24). Interestingly, regarding developing countries the bcsd urged a more rigorous approach, especially when dealing with the issue of‘conditionality’. Condition¬ ality was described as a two-way process in which both sides should fulfil certain conditions, comparable to situations that companies face, and which might better be designated as ‘reciprocal commitments’ or ‘mutual accountability’ (Schmidheiny 1992: 162). In this respect, structural adjustment programmes were considered helpful to reach an ‘attractive investment climate’, because ‘they increase the pressure on states to make the right changes’ (in the direction of macroeconomic stability and free, open markets, which together with clear property rights and political stability have to be met to enable sustainable devel¬ opment) (Schmidheiny 1992:172). The relationship between structural adjust¬ ment programmes and the environment will be examined in section 5.5. Finally, the bcsd stressed the need for free trade and rejected attempts to erect barriers for the sake of the environment. These were seen as separate issues: free trade would lead to economic growth (enabling sustainable develop¬ ment in the sense of the Brundtland commission,/, and environmental protec¬ tion should be pursued at the national level (Schmidheiny 1992: 70). Only in the case of international environmental degradation, harmonisation of rules would be necessary by way of international agreements, without limiting trade. Much importance was attached to the gatt in its capacity of striving for free trade, which should remain its predominant objective. Regarding the environ¬ ment, gatt ‘can reduce the trade interference of national regulations by en¬ couraging their harmonization’ (Schmidheiny 1992: 74). In view of this emphasis on gatt, it is relevant to examine the ideas formu¬ lated on the environment in this framework. Under growing pressure from en¬ vironmentalists in particular, gatt published a report on trade and environ¬ ment in May 1992. In a defensive manner, the report emphasised the ‘contribu¬ tion of trade to a better environment’ (gatt 1992: 2) and explained the det¬ rimental effects of protectionism within the free-trade logic. Remarkably, it admitted the potentially negative influence of trade expansion on the environ-

A Political Economy Perspective on International Environmental Politics


ment, which could ‘outweigh the conventional benefits from open markets (in¬ creased specialization, more competition and so forth)’. Nevertheless, this was supposed to occur solely ‘if a country lacks a domestic environmental policy that reflects its environmental values and priorities’. To cope with this prob¬ lem, environmental instead of trade policies should be changed: modifying the latter would not only produce losses as a result of less efficiency, but it would also lead to problems in other sectors of the economy ‘caused by the absence of appropriate environmental policies’


1992: 3).

Apart from the confusion of cause and effect within this line of reasoning, the difficulties increase if the limited rdbm for manoeuvre with regard to domestic environmental policy is considered as well. According to the report, autonomous domestic policy-making has become practically impossible be¬ cause this would ‘sooner or later’ lead to conflicts between countries. Therefore multilateral rules should be adopted to harmonise the foundations of domestic environmental policies; however, it remains unclear how a country’s so-called environmental values and priorities might be incorporated into this general framework. The actual result of this emphasis on free trade has been the prohibition of environmental policies directed towards either the restrictive import of pro¬ ducts from a particular environmentally-damaging production process or other limitations to preserve natural resources.According to


these are im¬

proper policies to achieve environmental goals, but they are relatively difficult to combat because protectionist groups have established an (implicit or ex¬ plicit) alliance with environmental groups


1992: 4-5). The



mentioned the protectionist sentiments on the part of companies, stating that ‘the great majority of the barriers to trade—tariff and otherwise—are the result of businesses lobbying governments’ (Schmidheiny 1992: 70). The solution to this phenomenon was less clear, considering the next sentence: ‘Given this, business must work with governments to bring down those barriers’ (ibid). According to the


as soon as a sufficient number of countries partici¬

pate in multilateral agreements, free trade will go hand in hand with a better environment.2' In the meantime


rules may appear environmentally un¬

friendly, but this is considered to be a bad argument for ‘legalizing inferior poli¬ cies’


1992: 35). In line with these ideas, the


(and its successor the

20 However, the actual interpretation and meaning of the various gatt rules have re¬ mained uncertain and ambiguous so far (see, for example, Pearce and Watford 1993300-12). 21 Concurrently, in the same report a range of problems was mentioned which would lead countries not to engage in multilateral agreements (gatt 1992: 29-30).

Forests in International Environmental Politics

World Trade Organisation) has focused on the trade effects of environmental policies rather than the environmental effects of international trade (the Brundtland commission recommended a reorientation of trade organisations in the latter direction). An assessment of the environmental impact of free trade does not yield a clear picture (see section 5.5). On the one hand, one of the effects of liberalisation will be an increase in economic activity and greater use of resources and energy, neglecting and harming the environment in the same way as domestic trade does. It will, on the other hand, also eliminate environmentally-destructive subsidy systems (of which the European Common Agri¬ cultural Policy is a case in point). Since the environment-trade debate is still unresolved, it will continue to be the subject of much controversy. After this examination of the wave of lobbying activities for free trade and market forces before


it is interesting to consider how the results of the

conference themselves have been interpreted. The outcome was judged as fa¬ vourable to companies, not only by critics but also by business representatives. As stated in a book published by the icc: It


could have taken a negative stance on market forces and the role

of business, and there was at one time the real possibility that the conference might be pushed to lay down detailed guidelines for the operations of trans¬ national corporations. Instead, it acknowledged the important role of busi¬ ness (Willums and Golucke 1992: 20; italics in original). This also applied to the expected follow-up to the conference at the national level: We expect that these national laws and regulations will not be as stringent, bureaucratic and ‘anti-business’ as some feared before



and control’ policies were definitely moved to the side in favour of economic instruments and cost-effective policies (Willums and Golucke 1992: 21). After


business organisations have continued their activities, aiming at

policy development, business strategy and sustainable development demon¬ stration projects. Initially this work was still carried out by two different forums (the


and the World Industry Council for the Environment, created by

the icc in 1993). From 1995 onwards, however, they have merged to form the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, which, in the words of its chairperson, aimed to ‘pursue a vigorous program of activities to ensure that international business has an even more effective voice on the important issues of the environment and sustainable development’



unced demonstrated the particular mainstream interpretation which has emerged from the originally regulationist approach towards sustainable devel-

A Political Economy Perspective on International Environmental Politics


opment. Rather different perspectives have been adopted by radical critics and alternative groups. Although a variety of views can be distinguished, the large majority has continued to emphasise the need for more intervention and fun¬ damental changes. Three different positions have emerged in the 1980s with different views on the possibility to combine economic growth with environ¬ mental care, which are designated as neo-liberalism, environmental regulation and transformative environmentalism (see table 1.1). _v_ table 1.1

Views on the relationship between economic growth and

environmental care

’> /


environment vs economic growth



environmental regulation

changes needed

transformative environmentalism

not compatible


represented a landmark in the international discussion on environment

and development, and a very large number of ngos participated in the process. Although they covered the whole spectrum of views, from the most radical ac¬ tivist to the fairly conservative groups, the more moderate, larger advocacy or¬ ganisations were the major


in the negotiations. Beside the inherent tend¬

ency for consensus-oriented actors to be more inclined to enter into negotia¬ tions, in the case of unced it also originated from the specific set-up of and the prevailing ideas about NGO participation (see section 6.x). The next section will deal with the international political relevance of environmental



chapter 6 examines the role of ngos with regard to tropical rainforests and the World Bank in more detail, section 1.4 will pay specific attention to a clarifica¬ tion of the



— 1.4 The political role of non-governmental organisations — There are many problems with the


concept, especially its vagueness (‘a

catch-all phrase’) and its implicit state-centredness: when governments serve as points of reference for politics, non-governmental organisations are easily given secondary importance. Traditionally, the


concept has been used in the

22 At the time of their fusion, wice had 58 and the bcsd 52 members, representing ‘leading corporations’ in 35 countries (bcsd 1995).

Forests in International Environmental Politics


framework of the United Nations to refer to the list of identified organisations with certain rights within the Economic and Social Council. Not only did this cover only a limited number of organisations, but it also was a rather arbitrary selection. To cite an example, business organisations were recognised as


and were therefore asked to participate in national and international (prepara¬ tory)


meetings and supposed to produce an


standpoint’ with pol¬

itically very diverse organisations. In practice, however, consensus appears to have been reached on the use of ngos in the sense of non-profit organisations (Willetts 1992: 6); obviously this does not solve the problem of business organi¬ sations which operate under the guise of ngos. Classifications for ngos abound, based on such criteria as size and member¬ ship. The former resulted in types like ngos),



while the latter produced a typology of igo,



(small and big and



pending on the extent to which they were non-governmental or not. Within this fluid scale, ranging from exclusively government membership to membership without government funding, the



(International Quasi

Non-Governmental Organisation) could be found somewhere in the middle, where governments and


cooperate, whether on an equal basis or not

(Willetts 1992: 11-3). Although these classifications structure the ideas on the phenomenon at hand, they do not explain the political significance of ngos, representing various organisations regardless of their ideological and practical orientation. The notion of ngo bears a close relationship to theorising on social move¬ ments, and represents an attempt to understand the activities of these mainly national organisations at the international level (Finger 1994: 48-59; Shaw 1994: 648-57)- An example has been the examination of the ‘third system’ in politics (Nerfin 1987).23 The first system is government, the second is business, and the third system consists of the people’ (or ‘citizens associations’, terms preferred to


in this view). The objective for the people would be to confront both

the prince’ and the ‘merchant’. In other words, the third system was seen as holding out the promise of giving people the voice and power they lacked in the

23 Other concepts that were used to avoid the term


were ‘interest groups’ and

pressure groups (Willetts 1982, 1992: 3-4). Interest groups were supposed to embody a common interest based on economic activities, whether they acted politically or not. Pressure groups, politically active by definition, could be either promotional groups (furthering general goals from a specific point of view and including welfare agencies and political parties) or sectional groups (striving for the interests of sections of society such as certain economic groups). A major weakness of this distinction concerned the marginal differences between the various groups.

A Political Economy Perspective on International Environmental Politics


other two systems. A local, national and international space is distinguished within each of the systems. Although throwing a somewhat different light on the world order, the ‘third system’ view does not seem to contribute much to a better understanding of the people or


This is particularly due to the

somewhat artificial separation between the systems, the neglect of the fluidity of power and co-optation processes, and the optimistic view of people’s organi¬ sations as if these have always represented the people detached from political struggles. The


phenomenon has also been characterised as one of the manifesta¬

tions of a globalising civil society (Macddnald 1994; Shaw 1994),25 which de¬ veloped in the context of the process of globalisation and the changing inter¬ state system. However, as in the case of the' international state forms, the main determinants of global civil society are to be found at the national level. An explanation of the role and purpose of ngos should therefore consider the na¬ tional context in which they emerged and function. In fact, the debate on non-governmental organisations goes to the heart of state-society relationships and their specific historical origins. This means that in countries under authoritarian rule, where civil society is subjugated to state power,


either play a marginal role or do not exist at all. Broadly speaking,

without entering into national peculiarities, a regional pattern can be discerned which reveals a generally dependent position for African


while in Latin

America a resurgence of civil society accompanied the end of dictatorship, which explains the much more radical position they have frequently taken. The industrialised countries have experienced an increase in both the number and influence of


with the notable exception of Japan (Maull 1992: 355-7).

The difficulty of comparing organisations which mean different things within distinct countries could be surmounted by explaining the political context of NGOS.

For Northern ngos, the freedom to engage in political activity is larger than in most Southern countries. In the South, the more complex situation is due to the fact that environmental deterioration takes place in the context of an enor¬ mous gap between rich and poor. This environment-development nexus has had implications for the diversity of ngos involved. In this respect, a distinc¬ tion has been made between




24 Norman Uphoff (1995) has even argued that

(grassroots organisations),



cannot be designated as the third

sector (system), but that they are a sub-sector of the private sector. Civil society is understood as the ‘network of institutions through which groups in society in general represent themselves—both to each other and to the state (Shaw 1994: 647).

Forests in International Environmental Politics


are the ‘grassroots’ organisations (or ‘local organisations’) which represent and advance the interests of the poor and ‘marginal’ sections of the population, whereas


are seen as intermediate or support organisations with a (semi-)

professional staff, performing functions in the field of empowerment or the alleviation of poverty (Edwards and Hulme 1992: 24). Since Southern


have a national political reach and the greatest possibilities for international cooperation, they can to a certain extent be compared with Northern


hence these are the organisations which will be focused on and designated as ngos.26

In their relationship with the state,


serve as an alternative to the politi¬

cal arena on certain issues, especially if the political space for relatively autono¬ mous action is limited. They pursue practical, political and scientific objectives by helping poor people, speaking both on behalf of popular sectors and from a particular ideological background, which has been formed through education and professional experience. As Cesar Fernandes (1988: 9-11) has noticed re¬ garding Latin America,


have combined the characteristics of three in¬

stitutions in a specific way: universities’ professional competence, religious in¬ stitutions’ attitude towards other people (‘legitimators’), and political parties’ ideologies and strategies. The interaction of


with the state takes place in the context of neo-

liberalism, which has affected Southern


more than those in the North. As

a result of the shift towards market forces and the concomitant reduction of state influence, non-governmental organisations could expect less from the state and needed to redirect their political orientation. In view of the poor socio-political and human rights record of many states, this development might also be regarded more positively, as indeed many


have done. However,

this more sceptical view of the state differs in contents from the view of the neo-liberal proponents. Moreover,


views on this subject vary considerably

between geographical regions and social formations: to cite an example, many Latin American


are openly hostile to the state, an antagonism which also

exists in Asian countries but has not impeded working relationships; African ngos

are generally less politicised (Korten 1991: 29).

26 There is a development towards a more independent posture of grassroots organisa¬ tions vis-a-vis


in which the former tentatively establish their own contacts with

foreign donors and cooperate with a number of ngos simultaneously. This adds to the complexities of the relationships between these two kinds of organisations regarding, for example, potential dependencies and representational problems (see, for example, Edwards and Hulme 1995). These features will not be explored here.

A Political Economy Perspective on International Environmental Politics


Concurrent with the diminution of state autonomy, the position of ngos was often strengthened because of their strong links with the population and the (alleged) efficiency of their activities. They were discovered by international organisations, particularly the World Bank, in view of their supposed ability to perform state functions in the neo-liberal context (Souza 1992: 140); this has evolved gradually, and has become more urgent with the intensification of pov¬ erty and the dismantling of the state. An ‘internationalisation of poverty’ has materialised, in which Northern


fund Southern counterparts to combat

some of the worst problems. For Southern


questions have arisen as to

their future role: should they behave like market organisations, or as new paral¬ lel organisations which fulfil former state functions? In either case, problems and contradictions can be expected. In the North, the transformation of the state has produced similar di¬ lemmas, but at a somewhat different level, since the disparities in, for example, income levels are lower, and societies have been less disintegrated. The relation¬ ship between Northern and Sou thern


is peculiar because of the fact that

funds come from the North, which puts Southern


in a more or less de¬

pendent position.2 A classification of organisations can be made, with special attention for envi¬ ronmental


which elaborates on the objectives pursued by these organisa¬

tions. In developing countries, activities have been divided into either socio¬ economic or political, or put differently, into the alleviation of poverty versus empowerment.25 While the former groups aim at raising incomes and produc¬ tive capacity, the latter strive for the deepening of political understanding and a strengthening of the organisation, which is eventually intended to contribute to social reforms. Ideas on the level at which environmental problems should be attacked can more or less be incorporated into this basic distinction: the reduc¬ tion of poverty through concrete activities takes place at the same political level as the amelioration of a local environmental problem. A perception of the en¬ vironment in its broader context might lead to a similar political analysis and strategy as the empowerment objective. Bearing these considerations in mind, the following categories of environmental


which are relevant for the

examination of international environmental politics can be distinguished.

27 For an examination of the relationship between Northern


on the one hand,

and donor agencies and governments on the other, see for example Hellinger 1987 (see also note 26). 28 More elaborate classifications have been made (for example, Korten 1991: 24-5; Brown and Korten 1991: 58-61), but these do not change the general argument as presented here.

Forests in International Environmental Politics


The first group consists of the ngos mentioned above, which focus on direct assistance of popular organisations to combat poverty or attack serious local environmental problems. It should be noted that for obvious reasons of survi¬ val, income-generation has received more attention than the environment. The conflicts they encounter at the local level may have a national and even interna¬ tional bearing. On the whole, however, this is an exception since the primary objective is to help grassroots organisations directly by servicing them, fre¬ quently in the form of concrete projects. Environmental organisations oriented towards preservation belong to the second category. Traditionally, they have operated both nationally and interna¬ tionally on the basis of a narrow definition of the environment, in which the conservation of nature occupies a central position. Although these



the offensive in lobbying, in advocacy work, their political view is fairly conser¬ vative, particularly when changes in their domestic societies are involved. They generally accept and are accepted by mainstream thinking and have established contacts at nearly all policy-making levels, as can be seen from the frequent exchange of officers between these


and government agencies. In some

cases these organisations have a considerable following (especially in the United States), on which their political influence is based (see chapter 6). Beside their advocacy role, mainly at the international level, these


are also active in

supporting and carrying out specific conservation projects. The third category consists of ‘environment and development’ organisa¬ tions. These are


which see the environment in its broader context: the

environmental problem is related to the developmental question and is the sub¬ ject of similar political and economic struggles. These organisations have fo¬ cused on protest activities or on advocacy work, but on the basis of a critical view of the existing system and the need to bring about substantial changes. ‘Environment and development’ organisations are commoner in the South than in the North, for which at least two explanations might be found: firstly, the economic and social situation is more serious; and secondly, this analysis includes a critique of the unequal international division of wealth and power, which frequently falls in line with the position taken by Southern governments. Criticising the unequal international situation has been more difficult for Northern


because if they object to existing patterns of production and

consumption they could come into conflict with their adherents and under¬ mine their own bases of support. In contrast to the more integrated perspective of many Southern organisations, Northern


have therefore either focused

on global inequality and debt problems (developmental organisations) or on environmental problems, often those of the South (environmental organisa¬ tions). However, a critique of Northern life-styles is gradually being incorpor-

A Political Economy Perspective on International Environmental Politics


ated into this environmental analysis and cooperation between these two types of ngos started recently.

The differences between


in general, and those in the North and the

South in particular, are thus fourfold: regarding the role of ngos in state-civil society relationships in a neo-liberal setting; the contacts with grassroots or¬ ganisations; the analysis of the problem; and the possible solutions. These fea¬ tures are important because they lie at the heart of international cooperation, where


participate in (in)formal meetings with international (govern¬

mental) organisations. In this way, the global political economy and the inter¬ play with national developments have political repercussions on processes of consensus-formation and co-optation. These aspects will be further elaborated in chapter 6, which examines international the context of changing



mobilisation on rainforests in

activity in the past decade. It will be shown that

over the years, the number of


transformation has declined and that

oriented towards action and structural


have become increasingly involved

in consultation and the implementation of projects.

— 1.5 Competing views in international environmental politics — /

The main positions adopted in the debate on international environmental politics and their major representatives as discussed in this chapter are sum¬ marised in table table 1.2


Classification of internationalforces on the basis of problem/solution

perception view on relationship economic growth—environmental care

Compatible Decentralised


Modifications needed

Structural transformation

project-oriented ngos


main locus Centralised, of solutions national

International approach


World Bank protest-oriented




The horizontal axis exposes the controversies on the possibility of combining economic growth (or the existing pattern of capital accumulation) with envi¬ ronmental care. The vertical dimension concerns the ideas on the locus where solutions should mainly (but not exclusively) be found, either through decen-

Forests in International Environmental Politics


tralisation or through a certain centralisation, whether at the state level or in international bodies.29 Although the distinction between the different aspects is more fluid than is suggested in this table (especially with regard to



chapter 6) and resembles a continuum, it nevertheless serves to indicate the basic structural cleavages in the late 1980s. The relationship between growth and environment refers to the debate on sustainable development, which, as examined in section 1.3, has concentrated on the first two columns. This mainstream conclusion means that either minor alterations suffice to regulate market behaviour and guarantee more environmentally-conscious production and consumption patterns, or that drastic changes are superfluous in view of the market’s capacity to solve temporary dislocations. In the case of gatt, this has led to an even more extreme stand¬ point, which implies that the surplus of market interference has produced en¬ vironmental destruction and that the solution consists of the removal of all international trade barriers. A more moderate approach has been expressed by the Business Council for Sustainable Development, which nevertheless stresses the primacy of market forces and private companies’ responsibilities. It should be noted that national companies frequently adopt a different position on these matters, even if they share the The



views in public (see chapter 3).

country-by-country principle has recognised state jurisdiction

and led to a national approach, although aiming eventually at the dissolution of nationalist, protectionist coalitions and, practically, at a decline in state sover¬ eignty. The World Bank has shared this perspective on the state, albeit showing some sensitivity to the detrimental effects of the development policies pursued in the past decades (see chapter 5). Generally speaking, conservation organisations and some environment and development


have cooperated with international organisations to ad¬

vance step by step towards a more or less clearly defined goal. Environment and development


incline to view the dominant economic and political order

and the preservation of the environment as incompatible, especially because of the impossibility of arriving at a more equitable distribution of wealth. They therefore advocate structural transformations, but the level at which these are to take place may differ. The radicalism of ngo proposals and the political prior¬ ities assigned vary substantially, which means that a more specific indication of organisations on various issues is needed to make a more adequate classification.

29 The centralised-decentralised division is derived from the interesting taxonomy of world views by Dryzek and Lester (1989: 317), who distinguish two possibilities instead of three.

A Political Economy Perspective on International Environmental Politics


It is against this background that the issue of tropical rainforests will be examined. Tropical rainforests embody an internationalised environmental problem, regarding both the kind of social forces interested in it and the per¬ ception of the international consequences of ongoing deforestation. The Bra¬ zilian Amazon, on which international attention has primarily focused, is one of the first objects of a truly international environmental policy. The case of deforestation in the Amazon is relevant for the examination of international '/

environmental politics: it became highly politicised, especially in the period between 1987 and 1993, and connected other controversial international issues, particularly the inequalities between North and South. Pivotal interna¬ tional organisations and ngos have shown considerable interest in the Brazilian Amazon, influencing the terms of the debate and the development of policies. This politicisation gave rise to a dynamic situation in which national and international developments have intermingled, producing contradictions, at¬ tempts at consensus-formation and a transformation of political coalitions. This provides information about the interrelationships between national and international politics, and between international organisations and



about the way in which the environmental issue influences and is influenced by political and economic factors. The next chapter deals with some basic characteristics of tropical rainforests, particularly the causes of deforestation, the difficulties of measuring the extent of the problem, and the global implications of deforestation. The relevance of Brazil in the international debate will subsequently be explained. The domestic context and repercussions of the international interest in the Brazilian Amazon are examined in chapter 3. Subsequent chapters analyse international develop¬ ments and the interaction between national and international discussions and actors.


The International Context of Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon


V t

— 2.1 The extent of the problem: difficulties of assessment — International attention for tropical rainforests1 has been inspired by the con¬ cern that ongoing deforestation causes irreparable damage to unique ecosystems. Protection has been deemed necessary because rainforests have an unparalleled biodiversity, containing innumerable herbs, plants and animals, and are a reser¬ voir for genetic material, new crops and medicine. Moreover, they perform im¬ portant regulatory functions for soils, water and climate, protecting vulnerable tropical soils against erosion, stabilising the local and regional water supply sys¬ tem, and fixing carbon. This last aspect, the emission of carbon dioxide as a result of deforestation and the contribution to climate change and global warming, has been particularly controversial (see section 2.3.3). Finally, rain¬ forests generate all kinds of products, ranging from wood to latex, fruits and honey, and provide a living for the local, often indigenous, population. Over the years, interest has shifted from the local to the global functions of rain¬ forests (see section 4.1). In fact, perhaps more than with any other environmen¬ tal issue, the specific importance attached to rainforests is closely linked to per¬ ceptions of nature. The debate has involved the whole continuum of views ranging from anthropocentrism, which puts strong emphasis on the fate of humankind, to ecocentrism, in which the intrinsic value of nature occupies a central place.


A common categorisation of forests is to distinguish between tropical moist forests,

tropical dry forests, temperate forests, and plantations. These respectively cover 1.5,1,6, 2.2 and 0.1 billion hectares of land, together accounting for approximately 40% of the total land area in the world (World Bank 1991c: 67-70). The defining characteristics of tropical moist forests are that rainfall should generally exceed 100 millimetres in any month, with mean annual temperatures of at least 24°C (World Bank 1991c: 95). Moist forests can be further divided into tropical rainforests, whose peculiarities will be ex¬ plained below, and tropical deciduous forests, which lie at the boundaries of rainforests.


Forests in International Environmental Politics

To assess the implications of deforestation, it is important to know the pre¬ cise extent of the problem. However, it is virtually impossible to provide con¬ sensus figures because of many factors that will be examined below. Estimates are available, but the differences between them reflect the basic assumptions of the institutions that have gathered the figures, and the difficulties of collecting them. Although there is virtual international unanimity on the general position that deforestation has increased and led to a precarious situation, a multitude of conflicts arise when measures are proposed and applied to specific countries, because these easily impinge on vested economic and political interests and feelings about national sovereignty (see chapter 3). Disagreement about defor¬ estation figures has played a role in this political controversy. Of the many actors that are engaged in the process of gathering information on deforestation,2 three broad categories can be distinguished. It should be pointed out that all involved would stress their intention to provide correct figures; nevertheless, practice has revealed that the differences might sometimes be related to interests of various social forces. The following classification will shed some light on these divergent influences and backgrounds of the environ¬ mental movement, national governments and international organisations. The first category consists of those who want to highlight the magnitude of the problem and the imminent threat to the earth and its inhabitants. The Northern environmental movement, especially the more radical parts, indig¬ enous peoples and a broad coalition of local activists and concerned individuals might be grouped together here. An example of figures from this perspective is the Friends of the Earth report by Norman Myers (1989), ‘who has frequently been criticized, however, for employing speculative methods’ (Barraclough and Ghimire 1990: 8). His information is mainly based on non-governmental sources because in a previous investigation their figures, which greatly exceeded those of national governments, had been confirmed by remote-sensing data (Myers 1989: 9).3


The first surveys of forest resources were made to assess the commercial value of

timber by national governments, international institutions and foreign companies (Westoby 1989: 90-2). 3

Remarkably, in a more recent article Myers still largely clings to his 1989 figures

without entering into the discussion of their validity (Myers 1992). Nevertheless, as compared to the 1989 publication, he substantially changed the Brazilian figures, lower¬ ing deforestation by 2 million hectares (from 5 to 3 million) and adding this same amount to the primary forest area (see tables 2.1 and 2.2). Moreover, whereas the 1989 publication seems to refer to the 1980s, without giving an exact period or year, the later article explicitly deals with 1989 figures.

The International Context of Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon


National governments have also produced estimates, though the source is often unclear; sometimes they rely on satellite data if publication has not been prohibited for military reasons. Various authors have expressed doubt about the reliability of these national estimates (see, for example, Barraclough and Ghimire 1990: 7-8). Mather (1992: 67) refers to the variability in precision and accuracy of data delivered by individual countries, stating that ‘in general terms, estimates of deforestation are usually five to seven years out of date’. Myers (1989: 9) stresses their ‘undue optimism’, which in his view is due to the Forestry Departments that have generally provided the information. These de¬ partments’ estimates have frequently also included other types of vegetation and concern the total area that they are responsible for rather than the actual forest area. Moreover, interpreting information from remote sensing may cause diffi¬ culties because of the inability to distinguish primary forest from secondary growth, the dependence on weather conditions, and the large amounts of money needed.4 Therefore inspection on the spot should supplement and ver¬ ify satellite data (cf. Malingreau 1991). Nevertheless, Myers (1989: 9) regards remote-sensing data as the best method to assess deforestation rates, question¬ ing the reasons for the limited availability of this statistical information. With increasing statistical precision it should )>e asked whether previous estimates can reasonably be compared with current figures: the rapid acceleration of de¬ forestation may be partly due to the use of these more exact techniques undp/unep


1990: 105). A final observation concerns the emerging gap be¬

tween the available technologies for assessment5 and the capacity to use them. Janz and Singh, working in the forestry division of the ture Organisation



Food and Agricul¬

hint at the potential danger that technology might be

regarded as the ultimate goal and not as a means, stressing the critical attitude that forest inventory experts should take vis-a-vis their own activities (Janz and Singh 1991:11, 20-1). Generally speaking, Southern governments would like to present low or moderate deforestation figures which will reassure international concern and prevent further appeals for drastic international action, frequently regarded as an infringement of national sovereignty. National and international interests in the exploitation of rainforests (whether for agriculture, ranching, speculation,


The accuracy level of remote-sensing data may be raised if a smaller area is examined

more intensively. This also means, however, that costs increase. j

This includes the use of computers, all kinds of statistical techniques, geographical

information systems and land evaluation techniques (see Janz and Singh I99I: Molina 1991).

Forests in International Environmental Politics


or the extraction of wood, minerals or genetic material) benefit from a low level of controversy and international agitation on the issue. The interests at stake appear to support the postulate that national governments provide rather low deforestation figures. The idea, held by some Southern governments in the period before unced, that the problem of deforestation would yield significant international funds for the South proved to be mistaken (see chapter 4). The third category of actors presenting deforestation rates includes interna¬ tional organisations and particularly the Food and Agriculture Organisation. Although this organisation is subject to similar circumstances to those of na¬ tional governments, a few aspects differ fundamentally. Firstly,


would en¬

deavour to give objective, universally applicable information on forests that may improve its external image and prestige. A reliance on certainty is likely to underestimate the actual degree of forest loss because figures should be con¬ firmed from various sources before being accepted. Secondly, the technical and bureaucratic expertise of the organisation greatly exceeds that of national governments, which enables

to present informa¬


tion on all countries for longer periods of time. However,


suffers from a

similar lack of local verification missions as national governments and from the insufficiency of funds to verify much national data with remote-sensing infor¬ mation (Barraclough and Ghimire 1990: 6). As Westoby points out: Precisely because national authorities have collected information about their forests at different times, for different purposes, have classified their forests differently, and have changed these classifications over time, the figures as¬ sembled by fao are necessarily something of a hotchpotch. But they are the most reliable information presently available (...) (Westoby 1989: 92). Future assessments will increasingly be based on satellite data and aerial photo¬ graphy to the detriment of information from local sources, which means that the complexities of reconciling very different figures are expected to diminish. Furthermore, as a result of the tendency towards intensive use of satellite data, the dependency on


as a source of statistical information is likely to augment.

Thirdly, as the main international organisation on agriculture,


might be

able to prejudice the terms of the debate and the definition of the problem. For example, because of the fact that


has produced large volumes containing

forest information, the underlying assumptions may frequently be reproduced without discussion. In its Forest Resources Assessment 1990 Project,


tried to overcome a

number of the flaws of assessing deforestation by relying on a range of sources and on satellite data at the same time


1993). The method used for analys¬

ing the satellite data is a comparison of 1980 and 1990 maps, which covers ap-

The International Context of Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon


proximately 10% of the forest area,6 7 and which is viewed as representative of the total. This procedure has, however, been criticised, particularly by the Brazilian institute charged with doing the national assessment,


the National Space

Research Institute, has repeatedly expressed doubt about the reliability of the extrapolation of the surveys because of the heterogeneous nature of rainforests, especially in the case of the Amazon. It should be noted that the figures pro¬ duced by


itself also gave rise to a controversy in the late 1980s (see section

2.3.2). The improvements in the factual assessment done by


which have

led to more adequate figures, should nop conceal the assumptions and limits. Although the analysis has been carried ouj: according to certain criteria and with a particular level of reliability (margins of error), these have been neglected in the political interpretation and use of the figures. Having mentioned the different interests in deforestation rates and the sources of information available, the fundamental assumptions on which the dif¬ ferent estimates are based should be explained. Two factors can be distinguished: the definition of forests used; and the criterion employed to measure the extent of deforestation. This yardstick might be the level of conversion to other land uses (whether completely or partially), modification in vegetation, alteration in forest cover, damage to the ecosystem, or changes in climatic functions. The classifications into various compqnents and categories of forests imply that excluded types of vegetation will consequently not be listed. While an ac¬ curate assessment of the total area of these forest types causes difficulty, it is even more complex to measure rates of disappearance (Mather 1992: 66). Prob¬ lems of a conceptual nature emerge primarily as a result of borderline cases. For example, in its definition of forest land,


used to include those areas that

will be reforested in the near future. It would be a hard task to distinguish the latter areas (Mather 1992: 66; Westoby 1989: 97), not to mention the complex¬ ities of the reforestation issue (for example, do newly forested regions really constitute forest land?). Another example that might be cited is



tiation between woodland' and other land (Mather I992-- 66), which is a rather

6 The project is intended to be transformed into a continuous one, which will analyse 10% of the forest area every year, covering the whole area in 10 years. Lack of money will presumably be the major stumbling block (personal communication with project mem¬ bers, May 1992). 7 A basic distinction is that between closed and open forests and woodland. Forest and woodland have usually been classified together as land under natural or planted stands of trees’ (Mather 1992: 58). Closed forest is forest in which crown cover exceeds 40%, open forest has a crown cover of between 10% and 40%, and woodland is the area which has some ‘forest characteristics but does not meet the definition of forest (World Bank


Forests in International Environmental Politics

subjective criterion, particularly if one takes into account the gradual changes in landscape and over time. fao

considers deforestation to be a complete conversion of (open and

closed) forest to agricultural land ‘with depletion of tree crown cover to less than io percent’


1993: 10), in which the function of the area occupies a

central position. Therefore, degradation of primary forest without a complete change in function is not considered deforestation. Thus serious damage result¬ ing from logging and other disruptive incursions into the rainforest has been ignored (Barraclough and Ghimire 1990: 7). Environmental organisations generally regard the degradation of entire forest ecosystems as fundamental, which means that the stage of ‘deforestation’ has been reached much earlier than in


terminology. Put in a more general way, environmentalists tend to

view the rainforest in its totality rather than to consider separate aspects. Some¬ times this results in a viewpoint that considers every activity in rainforest areas as contributing directly to deforestation. However, these kinds of positions lead to similar problems of assessment: how should one measure only slight alter¬ ations of forest cover? Or, if deforestation is defined less rigidly, where should the line be drawn, can this be applied on a global scale, and what are the conse¬ quences for worldwide deforestation figures? After these observations on the complexities of deforestation assessment, the stage has been set to contemplate the actual figures. Since the purpose of the present research is not to settle this statistical debate but to highlight its political ramifications, the following tables will only sketch a general picture. The main source of information is


for reasons explained above; surveys from a dif¬

ferent origin (particularly those by Norman Myers 1992) are used where pos¬ sible to facilitate comparisons. Tables 2.1 and 2.2 reflect the two sources of information mentioned above, supplemented with figures from Repetto. Table 2.1 presents figures on respec¬ tively closed, primary and rainforest areas in selected countries. The forest sur¬ face is relevant for the measurement of the deforestation rates: if the original area differs fundamentally between various sources, the vanishing percentages would also vary (even if the absolute figures were similar). This table clearly illustrates the differences which exist between the various sources.

I99ic: 94)- This is a general division between the three categories, but the use of different terms for the same phenomenon and the multitude of definitions and criteria have led to much confusion. In


Forest Resources Assessment 1990 Project, for example, a

distinction is made between closed and open canopy forest, fragmented forest, shrubs, and man-made woody vegetation cover.

The International Context of Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon



2.1 Rainforest area in selected countries (x 1,000 hectares) rainforest a. in 1990

closed forest area in ip8o

primary forest area in 1989




















Bolivia Brazil

j* >



1,155 8,246



















Papua New Guinea




















105,975 1


[1] Repetto 1988: 7; based on data provided by the World Resources Institute

and the International Institute for Environment and Development; [2] Myers 1992: 433 (see also note 3); [3] fao 1993: Annex 1, table 7

Even more striking than table 2.1 are the variations in table 2.2: this is where the dispute has been most intense. Comparing Myers’ figures with those of fao shows that the former are higher in all cases, in accordance with the logic de¬ scribed in this section. Particularly in the period between 1987 and 1993, the disagreements on the figures played an important role in the controversy on rainforests. Since it has taken some time to collect and interpret all the data involved, as in the case of the


Forest Assessment, it seems that the publication of these figures co¬

incides more or less with the declining intensity of both the statistical dis¬ cussion and the debate on rainforests itself. Table 2.1 shows that the Brazilian Amazon is by far the largest remaining rainforest area in the world, comprising a relatively high percentage of largely intact forests. Although estimates of the rate of deforestation range from 8% to 20% (see section 2.3.2), even the unlikely highest figure is much lower than in other countries. Beside its exceptional position with regard to size and the ex¬ tent of deforestation, the causes of deforestation in the Amazon have also dif-


Forests in International Environmental Politics

fered from those in other regions. Before turning to the peculiarities of the Bra¬ zilian situation, some attention will be paid to the background of deforestation in general.

table 2.2

Annual deforestation in selected countries (x 1,000 hectares)


Bolivia Brazil Colombia















223 13





























Papua New Guinea



















Sources [i] Repetto 1988: 7; based on data provided by the World Resources Institute and the International Institute for Environment and Development; [2] Myers 1992: 433 (see also note 3); [3] fao 1993: Annex 1, table 8

— 2.2 Causes of deforestation —

2.2.1 The global picture

An examination of the causes of deforestation should take account of the various levels and processes, and involve both the direct, visible activities and the national, regional and international context in which they are embedded. These structural causes are very much part of the problem, but, generally speak¬ ing, they do not seem to be part of the solution, as forest projects have shown (see also chapters 4 and 5). The political dynamics of deforestation have been examined repeatedly (for example,

Barraclough 1992;

Barraclough and

The International Context of Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon


Ghimire 1990; Guppy 1984; Ledec 1985; Mather 1992; Repetto and Gillis 1988; Westoby 1989;


1990) and will not be extensively reiterated here. Instead,

an attempt will be made to delineate similarities and some of the differences between the Brazilian Amazon and other relevant forest regions. Several factors have been indicated as directly responsible for deforestation: the construction of highways, commercial logging, pasture, colonisation pro¬ grammes or ‘spontaneous’ migration, slash-and-burn agriculture, mining and hydro-electricity projects. In an attempt to quantify the causes, Myers (1992: 431-2) estimated the following worldwide»i990 figures: slash-and-burn agricul¬ ture 6.5 million hectares, commercial logging 4.5 million hectares, cattle ranch¬ ing 1.5 million hectares, and various (roads, mining and dams) 1 million hec¬ tares.8 * * * Other sources only mention percentages. A World Bank forest policy paper estimated that agricultural settlement was responsible for approximately 60% of tropical moist forest loss, while logging and other uses accounted for the remainder (World Bank 1991c: 31). Another World Bank publication reported the same percentage, although considerable regional variations were indicated (Rowe, Sharma and Browder 1992: 34). In a report prepared for the Com¬ mission on Sustainable Development, the


referred to 1980 figures, in

which agriculture accounted for 86% of tpopical forest loss (63% from subsist¬ ence farming, 17% from cash crops and 6% from ranching), whereas ‘over¬ harvesting for fuelwood, infrastructure, industrial logging and other purposes all accounted for less than 7 per cent each’


1994: 9). Primo Braga (1992:

177) mentioned the following estimates: 64% resulting from agricultural con¬ version, 18% from commercial logging, 10% from fuelwood gathering, and 8% from cattle ranching. These figures are tentative, particularly because the inter¬ action between the various factors plays an important role. In addition to the global picture, which shows the relatively important con¬ tribution of agriculture to deforestation, one should also consider the relevance of separate causes for different regions. Generally speaking, timber logging for export has been most significant in South East Asia (for example, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia) and also in certain parts of Africa (for example, Gabon and Ivory Coast); this applies to cattle ranching (for the export of meat) in


In the light of the preceding section on the difficulties of assessment, these figures

should be treated with caution. The total area deforested until 199° (I2 million hectares) seems to be open to dispute and, as Myers indicates, the division into various causes is not very precise. Moreover, the figures mentioned do not add up to 12 million hectares; therefore, slash-and-burn agriculture would probably amount to approximately 5 mil¬ lion hectares.


Forests in International Environmental Politics

Central America. In Brazil, such direct connections to international trade are less obvious, and these factors play a minor role (see the next section). Beside the direct causes, however, the underlying pattern of the structural national and international linkages has to be considered. As Guppy has pointed out: Discovering the reasons for the sudden dramatic acceleration in rain forest destruction is like slicing into a multilayered cake. On the surface, obvious factors include population growth; the increased need for land for agricul¬ ture, stock-raising and settlement; the wish to raise capital for development; and a rapidly growing demand for timber, fuelwood, and other forest pro¬ ducts. Yet when we look carefully we find that these are not necessarily de¬ cisive, or even important causes. Underneath are other layers—of social mores, of political expedients, of national and global economics, and of ide¬ ological conflict (Guppy 1984: 932).

He has distinguished four causal levels (Guppy 1984: 944): the top layer consists of land-hunger and population growth, the second of the social conditions, the third of the political background, and the fourth of the ready availability of funding. Developments in the Brazilian Amazon illustrate the existence of and the interaction between these different levels (see sections 2.2.2 and 5.4). One of the salient features affecting the South, in which almost all tropical rainforests are situated, has been the debt crisis and its consequences (see 1.2). Although these differed from country to country, a common characteristic has been an increasing reliance on export-oriented policies, a greater openness to the world economy, and emphasis on international trade. To increase exports, many rainforest countries put more emphasis on timber trade, the exploitation of minerals, and, outside the rainforest areas, on the expansion of commercial agriculture. As a result of multiplying exports of raw materials and agricultural products, prices fell considerably and reduced earnings, a process which has been further aggravated by protectionist tendencies in the industrialised coun¬ tries. The monocultures which resulted from the export orientation not only worsened the local environment but also created an outward migration of peas¬ ants to hitherto ‘unoccupied’ land, either voluntarily or stimulated by govern¬ ment programmes. Moreover, the dependence on


and World Bank heavily

influenced the national economies and diminished governments’ ability to de¬ vise an alternative to the export orientation. This does not mean that govern¬ ments necessarily would have acted otherwise without the adjustment pro¬ grammes: for example, a high percentage of environmentally-damaging mega¬ projects started in the 1970s, when the first great loans were granted. Neither

The International Context of Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon


can a direct, linear relationship be established between the debt crisis and de¬ forestation (see Kraemer and Hartmann 1993). In examining the implications of the debt crisis, national political and socio¬ economic structures and styles of development are important aspects. Gener¬ ally, the national power base has consisted of the elites, whether agricultural, industrial, commercial or military. Even if there had been willingness to change the land tenure system or to improve the situation of labourers and the landless, harsh economic conditions and the direction of the adjustment would have complicated matters. However, almost without exception, in their policies gov¬ ernments have relied on the support of lafge landowners, national or multina¬ tional corporations, financial elites or the army, or a combination of them, de¬ pending on the history and dynamics of the society in question. Rainforest countries have been commonly characterised by an unequal land tenure system. This frustrated a more balanced distribution and use of land, facilitating clientelistic practices and leaving landless labourers and peasants no alternative but to migrate to remote areas or work for landlords. Combined with the tradition that those who bring land under cultivation receive the title, this encouraged the logging and/or burning of forest areas. Land owned by the state has been as fiercely exploited as that in private hands, not to mention the detrimental effect of public policy in general (Barraclough and Ghimire 1990: 17-22; Repetto and Gillis 1988; see section 2.2.2). The introduction of new rural technologies in the 1960s (by way of the Green Revolution) and the renewed emphasis on agricultural exports in the 1980s further aggravated the situation. Local circumstances have not necessarily been related to global, or even na¬ tional, developments. Lor example, the collection of fuelwood from the forest and the traditional form of shifting cultivation will continue independently of changes at the global level (such as international trade). Eventually, however, these changes may transform the position of the rainforest in the existing social, political and economic structures, increasing the pressure on and the struggle for land. In this connection, the population issue should be discussed briefly, since it has been frequently perceived as the main factor leading to deforestation. Al¬ though the impact of an increasing number of persons on the local environ¬ ment might be obvious, more structural aspects which have led to population pressure on the forests can be distinguished: the unequal land tenure system,


Cf. for example Ehrlich and Ehdich (1990), who in this latest sequel to their 1968

Population bomb stated that the population explosion was the first and loremost envi¬ ronmental problem, without paying much attention to the political and economic dy¬ namics.


Forests in International Environmental Politics

the expansion of commercial agriculture, industrial and development projects, timber operations, an expanding population in other areas, and the solutions chosen to solve these (Barraclough 1992: 48-9). As Ledec (1985: 189-94) points out, with the assistance of (inter)national powerful forces, governments have preferred to resettle the poor rather than redistribute land, build roads, and organise settlement projects which directly harmed the rainforest. Therefore population pressure is not the root cause of deforestation. This has been sub¬ stantiated by Barraclough and Ghimire (1990: 15), who showed that the ‘ab¬ sence of any close correspondence between deforestation rates and either rates of total or agricultural population growth or average income levels is striking’.10 In Brazil, population pressure was not an important factor behind the defor¬ estation process.

2.2.2 The Brazilian situation

An important difference between Brazil and other rainforest countries has been the absence of a clear direct relationship between the causes of deforestation and international involvement. The apparent causes of deforestation are the construction of highways, colonisation, land use for pasture, mining, wood production, hydro-electricity projects and the construction of dams.* 11 With re¬ spect to pasture, the situation in the Amazon is not comparable to Central America, where meat export was a significant force behind deforestation. The Amazon region is a net beef importer (Hecht and Cockburn 1990: 267). The majority of ranches were established to occupy land and to symbolically put livestock on it, whereas the real motivation consisted of keeping the value of the owner’s assets intact and acquiring title to the land, including the right to sub¬ surface minerals.

jo Although Mather (1992: 250-1) refers to a close statistical relationship between popu¬

lation growth and deforestation at a global level, he explains the fundamental causes behind this tendency. 11 Attempts have sometimes been made to quantify these causes in the Brazilian Ama¬ zon, but the results are controversial. To cite an example, Hall (1989: 145-50) gave the following figures for the period 1966-1975, derived from official Brazilian sources: live¬ stock 38% (90% of which has been state-subsidised), peasants 31% (of which 13% spon¬ taneous and 17% state-directed), highways 27% and forestry/lumbering 4%. He added that pasture has presumably expanded significantly since then. Mahar (1989: 8) presented 1980 agricultural land use figures in Legal Amazonia: 83% was (relatively) undisturbed, 11.1% occupied for pasture, and 5.9% for crops.

The International Context of Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon


Timber has been produced predominantly for national use instead of for export, as in other regions.12 In 1990, Brazil exported none of its production of logs, which is by far the largest forest product both in Brazil and on the inter¬ national market. It exported 6.4% of its sawn wood, 24.9% of its veneer, and 20.7% of its plywood.13 In this same year, the share in the total exports of the timber-producing countries for these three types was 6.0%, 7.9% and 2.5% respectively. Since 1990, Brazilian exports have been slowly increasing, as has the share in world trade. The share of the Amazon in the total Brazilian timber production has been rising, from only i.3°/fi in 1979 to 72.1% in 1989 (calculated from Seroa da Motta 1992:17; see also section 3.4.2). Hence, although showing a gradual increase over the years, the timber trade has not been a substantial catalyst of deforestation in the Amazon. In the case of the Brazilian Amazon, the causes of deforestation were primar¬ ily national in character while international relationships worked more indi¬ rectly. It is only through the incorporation of the Amazon in the Brazilian po¬ litical economy that the international linkages and the articulation of foreign influence can be understood. This has had implications for (international) at¬ tempts to reduce deforestation: measures have to be taken at a more structural level, intervening into the national economy and the political process. An examination of the wider context should take account of the peculiarities of the Brazilian situation: it involves a large and highly complex economy and society, characterised by both advanced industrialisation and an enormous gap between rich and poor, which has a dynamic which cannot be easily compared with other rainforest countries. The large-scale colonisation of the Amazon, which has been a leading force in the environmental destruction, originated in 1964 when the military came to power. The objective of ‘developing’ this area was very closely related to the dictatorship’s general politico-economic strategy. This process of dependentcapitalist development’ (Cardoso 1974) or sous-developpement industrialise (Bresser Pereira 1976) aimed at a deepening of the industrialisation process

12 This can be explained by the substantially higher degree of heterogeneity of trees in the Amazon and the inaccessibility of large parts of the Amazon, which increases the costs of exploitation. Moreover, many Brazilian timber species are relatively unknown to the potential customers. By contrast, in South East Asia, timber has been easily ex¬ ploitable, uniform and commercially valuable (Westoby 1989:150-1). Scarcity of timber in other regions may, however, lead to more interest in the exploitation of the Brazilian rainforest. ,3 The information on timber production and trade in this paragraph is calculated from itto 1995:58-9.


Forests in International Environmental Politics

based on an alliance between state, multinational and national capital, in which the latter occupied a clearly subordinate position (Evans 1979). This capitalist development effort resulted in rapid economic growth, especially in certain sec¬ tors of the economy (durable consumer goods and capital goods), but the de¬ pendence on foreign capital and technological knowledge of multinational cor¬ porations increased substantially. The pattern of skewed land ownership in rural regions was further strengthened by this reliance on imported technology and the elite-oriented policy, which left peasants and labourers powerless. The military dictatorship expressed the ideological underpinnings of the model in the doctrine of national security and development, which consisted of three elements (Moreira Alves 1988a). The first element concerned the maintenance of national security against internal subversion, supposedly supported by the Soviet Union, which was a primary objective and legitimised the establishment of a strongly repressive military apparatus. Secondly, as the most influential country in Latin America, Brazil chose the side of the United States in the global conflict between the two superpowers. In spite of this, a more or less independent posture was supposed to guarantee the potential superpower status of Brazil, facilitated by its vast resources, size and geographical position. The third component of the doctrine stressed the necessity of economic growth, especially in ‘non-developed’ parts of the country, in order to sustain national security. This geopolitical aspect directed the military’s attention to the occupation of border regions and the North Eastern part of Brazil; it was further strengthened by the vision of de¬ veloping new lands (cf. the American drive to the West). After 1964, the infrastructure of the Amazon region was improved by high¬ way construction and electrification. Furthermore, regional development plans attempted to attract foreign and national investors, and the exploitation of the rainforest for its (mineral) resources and land was encouraged. Agricultural and economic policies reflected this general tendency: land concentration and agri¬ cultural mechanisation in the South ousted small peasants, higher taxes were levied for unused ground, inciting cultivation of land, and loans and all kinds of tax facilities were readily available for the Amazon (Browder 1988). High inflation rates and low land prices further stimulated speculation. This process lies at the heart of the destruction of the rainforest. National forces took the lead, supported to a considerable extent by foreign capital and international development projects; large mining and hydro-electric projects and a number of highways and colonisation programmes should be mentioned in this con¬ nection. This leads to the question of state influence in the Brazilian economy and the relationship between state, national and international capital. While the

The International Context of Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon


importance of international capital in the process of‘dependent development’ has generally been acknowledged (Bresser Pereira 1984; Cardoso 1974; Evans 1979; Moreira Alves 1988a), the state played a crucial role; this is especially ap¬ parent in the case of the Amazonian frontier expansion (Hurrell 1991: 204). The state’s leading position has become evident in considering the sequence of development plans for the Amazon, such as the Operaqao Amazonica, Plano de Integra^ao Nacional and Plano Nacional de Desenvolvimento (Binswanger 1989; Kohlhepp 1991; Mahar 1989; Seroa da Motta 1992; World Bank 1992c). Since the most profitable investments could be made in the Southern part of the country, state guidance was considered necessary to encourage investment in other regions and attract funds from national and foreign investors. How¬ ever, as subsequent chapters will show, state power should not be overestimated: a number of factors, such as the limitations of bureaucracies and the difficulty of implementing policies in such an enormous country, have seriously ham¬ pered the effectiveness of policy-making. As a result of state guidance, the Amazonian economy changed substan¬ tially: the prevailing system of simple reproduction became subordinated to the logic of capitalist production and the inherent drive for capital accumulation. Dominant forces in Brazilian society focused on influencing state policy in order to profit from the ‘newly discovered’ area, particularly those interests that supported the military dictatorship and its political and economic model, in¬ cluding the ideological, geopolitical component. The most important interests in this respect have been the state bureaucracy, the army, and both national and international industrial, agrarian, mining and construction firms. In trying to secure a considerable part of the ‘free goods’ of the Amazon and of the alloca¬ tion of state subsidies, credits and tax facilities, they formed influential power groups (see chapter 3). In the case of the Amazon, influential forces, such as the Association of Ama¬ zonian Enterprises


based in Sao Paulo,14 the Amazonian Association of

Agriculture, and the very conservative Rural Democratic Union



predominated. This is clearly shown by successful lobbying both within the state bureaucracy and within the political system (Hurrell 1991: 208-9). A strik¬ ing example of this domination was the effective coalition of interests estab¬ lished in the early 1970s to bring about a shift in Amazonian state policy in

Pompermayer (1984) made a distinction between traditional ranchers, tied to com¬ mercial capital, and modern industrial and agroindustrial capitalists, who founded Initially,



focused on the settlement of large-scale cattle ranches, but afterwards the

lobby was directed at private colonisation projects; neurs from all sectors of the economy.


then came to comprise entrepre¬


Forests in International Environmental Politics

favour of large corporations and to the detriment of smallholders. Proponents of this strategy were


and a few state agencies, particularly



Superintendency for the Development of the Amazon), basa (the Bank for the Amazon) and the Ministry of Planning; the only state agency that preferred small-scale agriculture was


1989: 18-27). On later occasions

(the Institute for Agrarian Reform) (Hall


also succeeded in effectively pushing for¬

ward its goals, for example, in the late 1970s regarding large-scale private col¬ onisation schemes and Programa Grande Carajas


see section 5.4).

The relaxation of military rule in 1974 eventually resulted in the transition to a formal democracy in 1985, based on a wide coalition of opposition forces that was united, according to Bresser Pereira, in an informal ‘social democratic’ pact under the ideological hegemony of the national bourgeoisie; this pact fell apart in 1985 for several reasons (Bresser Pereira 1984: 197-204; Bresser Pereira 1988: 141-3). The transition to democracy was supported by centre-right political forces: powerful interests (including those of the military) were not harmed, and direct elections were circumvented in spite of large demonstrations. Jose Sarney, supposed to become vice-president, assumed the presidency in 1985 when the very popular Tancredo Neves died shortly after being (indirectly) elected. What is important here is the emergence of many popular, grassroots move¬ ments in this transitional period (1974-1985), which tried to influence state policies without, however, being able to definitely oppose very powerful elite interests with a strong position in Brazilian society (Moreira Alves 1988b). The rise of popular protest was a result of the inherent contradictions in the Brazil¬ ian development model, in which large sections of the population had been marginalised. The first signs of an environmental consciousness appeared as part of the growing opposition. Although the environmental movement was at first largely separated from the general struggle for democratisation and a better distribu¬ tion of wealth and income, during the transition to democracy a politicisation took place (see, for example, Viola 1992). Gradually a broad conglomeration of activist groups emerged, representing a landscape of urban and rural, in¬ digenous, middle-class and popular backgrounds. However, it took a long time (and at a certain point international pressure) before this had a significant impact on official Brazilian environmental policy. For many years, the position adopted before and during the 1972 Conference on the Human Environment persisted, which meant the assignment of abso¬ lute priority to economic growth while shifting the responsibility for environ¬ mental pollution and its solution to developed countries (see chapter 4). In Stockholm, the Brazilian delegation made a distinction between absolute and

The International Context of Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon


relative pollution (Ozorio de Almeida 1972: 48-9). In this respect developing countries were seen as insignificant polluters compared to the developed coun¬ tries and considered to be unable to sacrifice their scarce means to other policy objectives than development. Corresponding to the traditions of Brazilian diplomacy, sovereignty has re¬ ceived high priority with international cooperation supposedly subject to na¬ tional interests. The ‘relative’ Brazilian sovereignty of the Amazon, as perceived by a number of international interests, has been rejected unequivocally: if the products and riches of the rainforest were to be shared with (parts of) the inter¬ national community, then the principle 6f equal distribution would also have to be applied to political, economic and technological power (Guimaraes 1990: 261-2; see chapter 4). As will be explained below, the year 1988 marked a turningpoint, because a number of events had lasting implications for Brazilian politics.

— 2.3 The international relevance of the Brazilian Amazon —


Growing concern over deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon

In the course of the 1980s, international attention for the Brazilian Amazon gradually increased. This not only originated from the large size of the rain¬ forest area and its peculiarities, but also from the national and international mobil isation that started at the beginning of that decade. The campaign against the multilateral development banks, which us environmental NCOS initiated in 1983, brought about an international coalition of Northern and Southern or¬ ganisations (for a detailed account see section 6.1). In Brazil, the protests against the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank built on the op¬ position to the military dictatorship, uniting Indians, environmentalists and rural activists, particularly rubber tappers (see chapter 3). Due to these success¬ ful actions in particular, international knowledge of and concern over the fate of the inhabitants of the rainforest increased. Three developments in 1988 brought about a sudden upsurge of public in¬ terest in the Amazon (Goldemberg and Ribeiro Durham 1990: 23). Firstly, evi¬ dence on the extent of the deforestation problem was given in a 1988 publica¬ tion by the Brazilian National Space Research Institute


Alarming defor¬

estation figures were reported, amounting to an area of 8 million hectares in 1987 alone. Although an intense conflict on the accuracy of these data arose (see

Forests in International Environmental Politics


2.3.2) , the sheer size of the area and the images of burning rainforests spread by global media coverage, including a number of captivating documentaries, caused much concern.


Secondly, concern grew as to the consequences of the fires for the climate and for the unique rainforest ecosystem. Increasing publicity on global warm¬ ing became associated with the developments in the Brazilian Amazon, co¬ inciding with a warm summer in various Western countries. The significant contribution of forest burning in the Amazon to the emission of carbon dioxide was made explicit in subsequent years and became a controversial issue (see 2.3.3) . Overall, the threat to the survival of the species living in the rainforest and its special character provoked a reaction on the part of conservationists and those who cared for the riches of the Amazon. Thirdly, the assassination of the rubber tapper Chico Mendes in December 1988 emphasised the harsh political struggle he and other people had been en¬ gaged in, reinforcing feelings of international solidarity and stimulating all kinds of action. A large gathering of Indians at Aitamira in February 1989, where Indians from all over Brazil and the Americas met, further contributed to this process. The rapidly increasing national and especially international concern was pri¬ marily based on the deforestation figures and their subsequent linkage to global warming. They both gave rise to a controversy, albeit at different levels, as will be explained in the following sections.

2.3.2 The conflict about the extent of deforestation The deforestation figures which incited (inter)national concern in the first place were those published by inpe in 1988. On the basis of noaa



Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration) satellite data, 1987 deforesta¬ tion in Legal Amazonia1’ was estimated at 8 million hectares.16 This figure was

15 The common usage of the Amazon (which will be followed here as well) refers to the

Legal Amazon, which covers approximately 500 million hectares and consists of the states of Acre, Amapa, Amazonas, Mato Grosso, Para, Rondonia, Roraima, and parts of Goias and Maranhao. The Northern region (or the Classical Amazon) is smaller and comprises Acre, Amapa, Amazonas, Para, Rondonia and Roraima. 16 The interpretations were based on the data supplied by a thermic sensor carried on

the noaa satellites. The figure is derived from the 1989 report of the CPI da Amazonia (the congressional commission of inquiry, hereafter referred to as cpi 1989), which was established to ‘investigate the denunciations of the devastation of the Amazon (...) and

The International Context of Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon

scrutinised and, very rapidly, fiercely criticised,



distanced itself from the

publication, emphasising that the team, led by Alberto Setzer, had produced incorrect information. The critique focused on a number of aspects relating to the method used. The


thermic sensor registers heat originating from

fires. A first problem arose from the assumption that all the points stood for fires of approximately the same size; this proved to be false. Secondly, burning of waste or repeated fires on the same place were calculated as deforestation. Thirdly, the relation between forest burning and the actual rate of deforestation (including, for example, logging) was not adequately assessed. In addition, there were other problems regarding interpretation and assumptions, such as the real extent of the original rainforest and the most appropriate way to extra¬ polate. Another estimate of the area deforested in 1987 came from Philip Fearnside, a well-known specialist in this field, who used Landsat satellite data and infor¬ mation provided by a foreign expert on the basis of noaa. He arrived at an estimate of 3.5 million hectares, which led to a total deforestation percentage until 1988 of 8%


1989: 3-4). In a World Bank publication, Dennis Mahar

extrapolated figures from 1985 (provided by Fearnside) and arrived at an esti¬ mate of 12% deforested area out of the total forest by 1988 (Mahar 1989: 6). However, it has been pointed out that this projection was based on an exagger¬ ated expectation of the rapidity of deforestation. In addition, if the deforesta¬ tion of earlier periods (presumably in the 1960s) had been included as well, the figure would have risen to 13.8%


1989: 4, 19).17 Finally,


published a

correction of the 1988 report mentioned above, which the congressional com¬ mission of inquiry


see note 16) labelled as having the greatest credibility of

all the depositions submitted the extent of deforestation,


1989: 5). In this follow-up to a 1980 study of


again used Landsat data and arrived at the

figures presented in table 2.3. The investigation into the latest rate was done at the request of the president before the emergence of international attention to the issue. However, it took place in the midst of the controversy and was, in that sense, also part of it. An inpe

researcher publicly denounced the figures, stating that they had been low¬

ered intentionally in order to minimise international reaction; especially be¬ cause it coincided with the publication of president Sarney’s environmental plan Nossa Natureza (see section 3.4.2).18 The congressional commission of in-

the foreign participation in these denunciations’. iy Some other unsubstantiated estimates amounted to 10% (attributed to the politician

Fabio Feldman) and between 15% and 20% (Thomas Lovejoy, a us biologist) (cpi 1989:



Forests in International Environmental Politics

quiry examined the accusations, but did not validate them.1’ Only two aspects were considered in more detail: the area of the Legal Amazon considered; and the inclusion of‘old’ deforestation (from before the 1960s) in the figures


1989: 7-14).


2.3 Deforestation rates in the Legal Amazon until 1988


deforestation in % (cumulative)

Until 1975


Until 1978


Until 1980


Until 1983


Until 1986


Until 1988


Source CPI 1989: 6; figures provided by INPE

Since the Legal Amazon had always been the unit to calculate the percentage of deforestation, talcing a different one would easily lead to confusion. The fact that a slightly smaller area was taken than in the figures before 1988 was not thought to be very important. It is nevertheless obvious that it would be more suitable to assess deforestation compared to the original size of the forest, rather than relating to the total area of the Legal Amazon.20 Alternatively, this could

18 The employee, Vitor Celso da Carvalho, asserted that the correct figure was 9.3%. In his opinion, the ‘construction’ of the official rates further discredited Brazil’s image in¬ stead of removing doubts. After a few days he resigned, stating that it would be very difficult to continue his work within inpe (fsp, 8 and 11 May 1989). 19 According to the cpi report, Vitor da Carvalho said that the methodology used (and to which he had objected) would not by itself make the figures unacceptable. Rather than reacting to the inpe data stricto sensu, he disapproved of the sensationalist mode of the publicity (cpi 1989:10). 20 The figure of 9.3% was acquired by dividing the deforested area (including ‘old’ deforestation, i.e. 34,397,598 hectares) by the total rainforest area (i.e. 370 million hec¬ tares). In the inpe calculations, the same numerator was used, but the Legal Amazon was the denominator (491 million hectares). The difference from the Legal Amazon area used in previous estimates was considered negligible (amounting to 6.9 million hectares) and would, indeed, lead to a decline in the deforestation rate.

The International Context of Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon


be solved by taking the absolute deforestation figures in hectares or square ki¬ lometres. It could be concluded from the discussion on whether or not pre-1960 de¬ forestation figures should be included that other estimates (Fearnside and Mahar) had not done so either. Nonetheless, the


figure was adjusted to

7.01% instead of the 5.124% mentioned in table 2.3, corresponding to an area deforested until 1988 of 34,397,590 hectares. Fearnside and Mahar arrived at the figures (excluding old deforestation) of 39,976,500 and 59,892,150 hectares re¬ spectively. The


concluded that the publication of fraudulent documents or

intentionally false figures by


could hot be proved. It did, however, men¬

tion that political divides and internal disputes within tific polemic



had led to a scien¬

1989: 13).

In the years after 1989, similar discussions on the figures have emerged time and again, but with much less ferocity. To cite an example, in the months preceding


there were rumours that fires in 1991 outnumbered those of

all preceding years. According to two Brazilian newspapers, this was one of the reasons for the dismissal of Secretary of the Environment Lutzenberger in 1992 (see also sections 3.5 and 4.3.1). An


report, published two months earlier

than in other years, denied this, giving instead an ‘estimate’ which showed a decline compared to 1990.21 The fact that later discussions did not receive much attention could be ex¬ plained from the fact that in 1988 and 1989 the extent of deforestation was highly political and, therefore, part of an intense struggle between various forces. The political sensitivity was also clearly shown in the announcement by the Minister of the Army that, from that period on, the military Cartographic Centre would interpret the satellite data. In his view, the interpretation would then be correct and end all existing misunderstandings


15 April 1989). Fur¬

thermore, it turned out that in 1987 deforestation was exceptionally high, due to the long, dry season and the uncertainty on the future regulation of land rights, which incited land-invaders to burn large areas beforehand. After 1988, the abolition of subsidies, the incidence of more rainy seasons and the severe economic problems (which substantially discouraged investors possibilities and interest) slowed down deforestation. Table 2.4 presents the figures for the period 1988-1991 (including ‘old’ deforestation). The large international attention to carbon dioxide emissions as a result of deforestation in the Amazon was largely based on the 1987 figure and its extra¬ polations. The confusion surrounding the most accurate data was therefore also

21 Reported in econet conference ax.unced, INPE e queimadas, 20 May 1992.


Forests in International Environmental Politics

transplanted to this issue and added to the more general political and scientific conflicts on carbon dioxide emissions.


2.4 Deforestation in the Legal Amazon in the period 1988-

1991 (x 1,000 hectares) year

cumulative deforestation

April 1988


August 1989


August 1990


August 1991


Source inpe 1992

2.3.3 The

IMPORTANCE of deforestation in


Global warming became an important political issue in 1988. The emission of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, which lead to higher tempera¬ tures, was increasing rapidly. The fear that this would produce an additional warming of the planet (much larger than the natural greenhouse effect) was expressed in public. Global warming received considerable attention, especially in the United States, where 1988 was an extremely warm summer. The poten¬ tial impact of global warming is largely unforeseeable, but is expected to in¬ clude substantial climatic changes, resulting in more extreme weather, rising sea levels, and damage to ecosystems. In 1988, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change


was created to assemble more scientific information

and to stimulate response strategies. Rising concern over global warming went hand in hand with demands for national and international measures to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. Four gases can be distinguished in this respect: carbon dioxide (CO2, re¬ sulting from burning of oil, gas, wood or coal); methane (rotten vegetation); chlorofluorocarbons/halons


used in refrigerators, air conditioners and

fire extinguishers); and nitrogen oxide (cars, agriculture and organisms). Dif¬ ferent estimates have been made of the degree to which they contribute to the total emission of greenhouse gases, but to give an indication, the



respectively 61%, 15%, 20% and 4% (Houghton, Jenkins and Ephrawms 1991: xxi); another source gives the ratios of 50%, 16%, 28% and 6% unep

1990: 24).22


The International Context of Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon


The conflict about the scientific evidence of global warming has continued. ‘Sceptics’ argue that cycles of cooling have alternated with warming and that the presently perceived threat is alarmist and exaggerated, or even false (see, for example, Bottcher 1992 for an extremist view). Other, less radical, scientists, policy-makers and some industries (the power sector, for example) adhere to a more gradual approach and would like to wait until more scientific evidence has been gathered. Many of them emphasise that previous ‘Armageddon’ scenarios (such as those of the Club of Rome) have also proven to be over-pessimistic. They put their faith in the natural balance of the earth and in the ability of human intelligence and modern technology to solve problems. Although these climate sceptics have attracted much attention, the convic¬ tion that measures to diminish greenhouse gas are urgently needed has increas¬ ingly dominated international negotiations. This has originated either from the idea of an imminent threat to nature and humankind or from the precaution¬ ary principle: despite scientific uncertainties, it is better to act now to prevent global warming from occurring, rather than doing nothing and running the risk. These views have guided


action, the


and the Framework Con¬

vention on Climate Change, which was adopted in May 1992 and came into force in March 1994.23 In spite of this increasingly broadly shared starting point, the climate change issue has threatened vested interests and has been highly controversial. Con¬ tending views concern the responsibility for the emission of the various green¬ house gases, the actual measures which have to be taken, their status (binding or not) and timetable, and the money and technology needed to implement them. Especially in the first years after global warming had become a political issue, during the initial phase of the negotiations, many conflicts arose.24 One

22 In both sources ‘ozone and others’


added to the category of cfcs.

2-’} With respect to the reduction of emissions—the crucial issue during the negotiations —the Convention states that the developed countries (and other countries belonging to the so-called Annex 1 category) ‘shall adopt national policies and take corresponding measures’ ‘with the aim of returning individually or jointly to their 1990 levels of these anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases not controlled by the Montreal Protocol’


document A/AC.237/i8(Part n)/Add.i, Articles 4.2a and

4.2b; the Montreal Protocol, signed in 1987, deals with the reduction of cfcs). This

target was not obligatory, in spite of the fact that all Northern countries except the us had supported it. At the first conference of the parties for the


in Berlin in

March/April 1995, it was decided that negotiations would start about more stringent measures. At the same time, however, almost no country has been able to meet its com¬ mitments so far. 24 Although controversies have continued to exist, different coalitions are being

Forests in International Environmental Politics


of them, the question of which sources and countries are accountable for which part of the emissions, is relevant for the Brazilian Amazon, as it deals with the contribution of deforestation to global warming. The total contribution of deforestation to global warming has been esti¬ mated at 14%

1990: 24); this mainly comes from the release


of carbon.25 More important than these overall figures, however, has been the weight that this source of co2 emissions is given in relation to other sources, particularly to the burning of fossil fuels. The carbon released by deforestation as a percentage of total carbon dioxide emissions approximated 22% in 1987 and 21% in 1989 and 1990 (calculated from Houghton, Callender and Varney 1992: 8). Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is estimated to account for ap¬ proximately 4% of total co2 emissions (World Bank 1991c: 36).26 As a percent¬ age of carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning, deforestation ac¬ counted for 28% in 1987 and 27% in 1989 and 1990 (ibid). According to the Brazilian government, deforestation in the Amazon represented between 4.4% and 7.6% of carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels



These figures have been relatively uncontested. The dispute centred on a ranking of countries on the basis of their contribution to the greenhouse effect. In its ‘World Resources 1990-91’ report, the World Resources Institute a



think tank, calculated a greenhouse index for each country based on its

emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and


in 1987. The us occupied the

first position with 17.6% of total emissions, the USSR the second (12.0%), Brazil the third (10.5%, with carbon dioxide emissions exceeding even those of the us), followed by China (6.6%), India and Japan (both 3.9%), Germany (2.8%) and the United Kingdom (2.7%)


ranked seventh, preceding the us According to the


1990:15). Per capita, Brazil


1990: 17).

the information contained in the 1990



was still characterised by many uncertainties and ‘[djisputes over the relevant

formed. After


insurance companies and banks (which fear the effects

of global

warming on respectively insured and financed properties) and producers of clean energy (which expect profits) have increasingly shared environmentalists’ concern about the greenhouse effect, advocating stringent measures. 2.5 The problems with this kind of figures will not be further explored here (see Hall 1991:16-7). The contribution of methane and nitrous oxide to deforestation has been less well documented: published estimates for methane vary from 1.8% to 4% (Houghton 1989: 39). 26 Another source has calculated a range between 4.6 and 6.6% in 1989 and between 2.7 and 3.3% in 1990 (Reis 1991: 223). It should be noted that these figures were based on deforestation rates provided hectares in 1990.

by inpe

of 2.38 million hectares in 1989 and 1.38 million


The International Context of Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon

choice could easily be used to delay international agreements, and hence action’ (Hammond, Rodenburg and Moomaw 1990: 705). The people who developed the greenhouse index recognised that the approach ‘coincides more closely to a political than to a scientific world view’, but precisely because of this the index was seen as a very suitable instrument to help negotiations: Any global agreement on greenhouse gas emissions will need an accounting system that measures national contributions in a way that is reasonably ac¬ curate, simple enough to be interpreted and administered by policy makers rather than scientists, and that can be widely perceived as fair (Hammond, Rodenburg and Moomaw 1990: 706) :t 1

These claims were fiercely rejected and the political nature of the index was emphasised. The most strongly worded critique came from the Indian Centre for Science and Environment, which accused the wri of shifting the blame for global warming to the South, calling it ‘a case of environmental colonialism’ (Agarwal and Narain 1991). Beside environmentalists, climate scientists also ex¬ pressed their objections.27 The main criticisms focused on the false precision that the figures gave, on the ‘net’ emission concept used by


and on the

arbitrariness of the data. Particularly relevant in this respect was the great em¬ phasis laid on the contribution to global warming of vegetation, deforestation and livestock rather than of fossil fuel emissions. This was the major reason for the relatively high greenhouse index of Southern countries. The prominent po¬ sition of Brazil could be explained from the fact that 1987 deforestation figures were used, whereas


took 1980s averages for most other countries. As ex¬

plained above, this was an exceptional year, something which even



knowledged in its report. A final aspect concerned the fact that all greenhouse gases were taken together, including ozone. Unlike most other countries, the United States at the time insisted on this comprehensive approach rather than just focusing on carbon dioxide. According to critics, this could help the us to ‘hide its inaction

27 See, among others, letters sent to Environment, March 1991 and Nature, 7 February 1991, and McCully 1991. 28 Agarwal and Narain especially criticised


failure to distinguish between ‘survi¬

val’ and ‘luxury’ emissions. To- this charge, Hammond replied that even if it were possible to make such a distinction, it involves essentially political judgements that are beyond the scope of the World Resources report, which is intended to provide accurate, accessible information on which there is substantial expert or scientific agreement (Indian Express, 28 January 1991); an interesting statement in the light of the acknowl¬ edgement of a ‘political world view’ as quoted above.


Forests in International Environmental Politics

on carbon dioxide behind the cuts in


emissions it is already committed to

under the Montreal Protocol’ (McCully 1991: 163; see note 23). Related to this, the greenhouse index gave Northern countries the oppor¬ tunity to emphasise the need for a global approach to the problem, in which all countries had to bear part of the burden. Northern countries preferred not to enter into the debate on the historical responsibility for emissions and to shift attention from the reduction of carbon dioxide emission in the North to the broader issue, because of the economic and political difficulties which drastic measures would entail. Southern countries repeatedly criticised these tenden¬ cies, questioning, for example, the concept of ‘joint implementation’, which offers the possibility of diminishing domestic emissions by adding the reduc¬ tion brought about by helping other countries to achieve this. Although this idea formed one of the incentives for the European Community to participate in the Pilot Programme for the Brazilian Amazon (see chapter 4), Brazil has continued to express its objections to joint implementation.29 In the next edition of the World Resources report, the

changed the


greenhouse indices substantially. The 1989 ranking was compared with


and showed a remarkably lower position of Brazil on the list (5 th and 6th in the wri



respectively and a share in total emissions of 3.8% and 3.9%); on

a per capita basis Brazil disappeared from the first 50 positions unep


1992: 208-10). It was particularly the declining rate of forest burning that

contributed to this shift, because approximately 80% of total Brazilian green¬ house gas emissions was attributable to co2 emissions resulting from deforesta¬ tion (calculated from wri/undp/unep 1992: 346-9). Although the intensity of the controversy diminished relatively rapidly, the initial publication of the greenhouse index coincided with the politicisation of and the large interna¬ tional attention for deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. This international concern had substantial domestic repercussions, because it built on a long¬ standing sensitivity with respect to the Amazon and existing accusations about international interests in the region. These Brazilian responses will be examined in the next chapter.

29 At the first Conference of the Parties to the


in Berlin in March-April 1995, for

example, the Brazilian delegate opposed joint implementation because he ‘did not want to exchange “smoke for trees’” (enb, 12(21): 5). 30 The differences between both indices appeared to be insignificant. Some attention was paid to alternative indices of greenhouse gas emissions (without giving statistics) to show the scientific disagreement on this issue. The view presented in the


report is

that all these rankings should be presented to improve insight and decision-making (wri/undp/unep

1992: 208-9).


Brazilian Responses to International Interest in the Amazon


— 3.1 The background of the ‘internationalisation’ idea — International interest in the Amazon has had different reasons and charac¬ teristics. Already the first visits to the Amazon, soon after the ‘discovery’ of the ‘New World’ in 1492, were economically motivated by the presence of mine¬ rals, new plants and rubber trees. Gradually, the mere exploitation of existing riches changed to a broader notion of profitability, which included, for example, investments in mineral processing companies, ranches and timber en¬ terprises. It was the military dictatorship which started to put great emphasis on the strategic and economic importance of the Amazon in its doctrine for na¬ tional security and development (see section 2.2.2). The plan to create a whole series of lakes in the Amazon, which the us Hudson Institute launched in the early 1960s, received much attention in Brazil and was placed in the context of us geopolitical objectives.1 Protection of the region against foreign intrusion, be it from neighbouring countries or one of the superpowers, occupied a central place in a special study by the Superior War College


1968). It also referred to the danger of psy¬

chological warfare, revolutionary guerillas and subversion; this supposed in¬ fluence of the Cold War on Brazil was, however, far removed from the interna¬ tional political reality. The idea, used for national purposes, stemmed from the


See the congressional speech of federal deputy Cabral about this matter and the se¬

cret report made by three Brazilian diplomats (both reprinted in Revista Brasileira de Politica Intemacional (xi(41/42),'1968: 138-66). The report, entitled A verdade sdbre 0 Instituto Hudson, emphasised the need to develop a Brazilian great lakes plan which reckoned with the national interest. Prado Lopes (1968: 73-83) made an attempt to this end. It should, however, be noted that the Hudson Institute’s ideas were known as pro¬ vocative and unconventional’, features promoted explicitly by its founder Herman Kahn in this period (Smith 1991: 154-7).


Forests in International Environmental Politics

strong anti-communist ideology which prevailed during the dictatorship. It served to legitimate the Brazilian military’s intervention in the Amazon. These (geo)political and economic features formed the background to the first congressional commission of inquiry on the Amazon. This cpi, established in 1967, had objectives comparable to its 1989 successor: to investigate the acti¬ vities of large international companies in the Amazon (Procopio 1992: 121-36; Veloso 1968). While focusing on the Amazon, the


did not originate from

concern for the environmental features of the region. Instead, it was part of the dictatorship’s nationalisr struggle for, among other things, mineral resources and against a denationalisation of the economy, which had nothing to do with environmental protection. The


resulted in a long list of foreign proprietors of Brazilian companies

and foreign enterprises operating in the Amazon (Veloso 1968). European, us and Japanese firms were very influential in the mineral exploration and process¬ ing sector. The commission concluded in June 1968 that foreign land owner¬ ship in the Amazon, both by individuals and groups, had increased in the 1950s and intensified after 1966. In that sense, these were the early signs of the Ama¬ zon reflection of the triple alliance (multinational, national and state com¬ panies; see below) on which the dictatorship’s economic strategy was built. Foreign interest in the acquisition of land in the Amazon could have had various causes. Four possible explanations can be enumerated, beginning with speculative purposes. The second explanation refers to the high level of profita¬ bility and security for foreign capital in Brazil, which was relevant for agricultur¬ al and timber companies. The third reason was the availability of vast mineral resources, which incited foreign capital to buy land and wait for a high return when the minerals would be exploited on a large scale. The fourth hypothesis fitted in with the military ideas that foreign powers intended to occupy the scarcely populated Amazon and profit from its resources. In this case, colonisa¬ tion would have been the result of planning by foreign companies rather than spontaneous migration. Since this could have many negative social, economic and especially strategic consequences for Brazil, the congressional commission of inquiry advised the taking of measures (in addition to those already taken by the military government) to guide and limit foreign influence. In that case, the beneficial effects of international investments might predominate, which could be found in the rapid economic integration of the region, leading to higher standards of living and an efficient use of potentially productive land. In fact, these features show the peculiar combination of the economic strategy for the Amazon and the ideological and geopolitical legitimation. This is a different approach from the exclusive security vision of the Amazon, which entails an occupation of so-called ‘empty’ regions to bring them into the na-

Brazilian Responses to International Interest in the Amazon

tional economy (see



1968). By protecting national security and territorial

integrity, the integration of the Amazon region into the socio-economic and military structure of Brazil would be strengthened. It also goes beyond ideas on the Brazilian potential for regional, and possibly even international, leadership, a megalomania which permeated military thinking. According to Reis (1968), the potentially powerful position of the country was due to its demographic importance, the fact that it was the major centre for industrial activities after the us, its pacifist tradition, and other factors. In this respect, the Amazon as¬ sured the Brazilian grandeur, not only on territorial grounds, but also economi¬ cally, ideologically, politically and socially. The region comprised half the Bra¬ zilian territory, offered perspectives for economic growth and the use of new agricultural techniques, and its soil contained many natural resources. In spite of the nationalist rhetoric, the military welcomed foreign invest¬ ments in Brazil, including the Amazon. The triple alliance was a fundamental feature of the Brazilian dictatorship. It consisted of state, national and interna¬ tional capital, with national companies occupying a minor position. The civil¬ ian and military technobureaucrats2 were the backbone of state guidance of the economy, both by strategic planning and by directing state enterprises and mixed public-private companies. The development strategy was based on the technological, financial and organisational knowledge which only multina¬ tionals could provide. As can be seen in'table 3.1, the entry of international capital had increased enormously from 1968 onwards. This marked a strong contrast with the preceding period, when a primarily protectionist economic policy prevailed and international capital was regarded with suspicion and hostility. With the military in power the agricultural and commercial alliance lost power to a financial and industrial coalition backed by multinational enterprises. The economic model was based on an extremely un¬ equal division of wealth and income, which enabled the growth of the capital and consumer goods industries, and was accompanied by a depoliticisation and a demobilisation of society. Under the dictatorship, international capital ceased to be the subject of a political discussion. What nationalists wanted to protect from foreign hands were the rights to minerals and resources, i.e. to prevent the denationalisation of the Amazonian soil. Despite the military preoccupation with preserving Bra¬ zilian sovereignty (which was never really the subject of discussion), they did


As Guimaraes (1991: 118) points out, the new technobureaucratic caste consisted of

technicians (professional experts who strove for managed changes in the economic pro¬ cess) and bureaucrats (the traditional public servants who were more attached to the preservation of the status quo).

Forests in International Environmental Politics



3.1 Entry of foreign capital into Brazil in the period 1964-1989 (in $m)





















































Source Paiva Abreu

1990: 404-9

not object to multinationals’ participation in the exploitation of Amazonian minerals. The state’s defensive strategy for the Amazon aimed at a large state influence in the exploitation of natural resources and raw materials. State and interna¬ tional capital reaped the benefits of this policy as far as the minerals were con¬ cerned (see below). In other instances, national enterprises also gained consid¬ erably; the construction activities for the highway programmes can be cited as an example. The overall results of the dictatorship’s policy were the interna¬ tionalisation of the Brazilian economy, the demobilisation of society, and the exploitation of nature, leading to a high level of deforestation in the Amazon. It is important for the subject examined in this chapter that the crucial ele¬ ments which the commission of inquiry brought up in 1968 have persisted ever since, albeit adapted to and changed by a different national and international context. Around 1968, attention was focused on international political, econ¬ omic and strategic interests in the Amazon, which aroused a political reaction within Brazil alone, and should be seen in the context of the dictatorship’s economic strategy. In the 1980s, with increasing international concern over the fate of the rainforest and its inhabitants and mounting national and interna¬ tional protests, the alleged threat of the internationalisation of the Amazon came to the fore again. The nationalist sentiments surrounding the international involvement in the Amazon, which were heard during the 1968


revived in the middle of

1987. The reason for this resurgence was the preparation of the 1988 Constitu-

Brazilian Responses to International Interest in the Amazon


tion, particularly the articles dealing with recognition of the Indians’ legitimate land rights. This aspect was directly connected with alleged foreign interest in the preservation of minerals in Indian territories, in the peculiar sense that in¬ ternational mineral companies wanted to keep Brazilian tin off the world mar¬ ket to ensure high prices. In the conspiracy, the mineral multinationals were said to have found their partners in the church and church-related organisa¬ tions, who were supposed to support the Indians’ demands for an independent state.* * 3 This so-called ‘Yanomami’ state would encompass parts of both Brazil¬ ian and Venezuelan territory. The importance of the attention paid/to this ‘international conspiracy’ lies in the fact that it centres on points of long-standing contention: minerals and the question of which forces control this sector, and indigenous rights. It resembles the arguments used during the 1960s, when the Amazon’s importance in the East-West conflict was emphasised for national purposes. Here again, the con¬ spiracy was a construction to be used in the domestic context without reflecting international developments. The campaign as such, and the misinterpretations, exaggerations and (intentional) misunderstandings involved4, revealed structu¬ ral conflicts. These remained in place and sometimes erupted in later years, es¬ pecially with the increase in (inter)national environmental action for the Ama¬ zon. Before looking specifically at the accusations and controversies during the Constitutional process, the mining sector will be examined in more detail.

— 3.2 International interest in the Amazon: the mining sector — Policy-making on the Brazilian Amazon has been highly controversial because it involves a large area with substantial border regions, where minerals are ready available. According to Bardalez Hoyos (1992: 141), the Amazon possesses 97%


This was the message earned by the newspaper O Estado de Sao Paulo in a senes of

articles in the second week of August the Indigenous Missionary Council (cnbb),

The organisations accused specifically were


the Brazilian national council of bishops

and the International Council of Churches

cally examined in September mation






The campaign was criti¬

(1987) and in a supplement of Tempo e Presenga, No.


a publication by the Ecumenical Centre of Documentation and Infor¬

(see also note 7). As a result of its explicit support for indigenous rights,

was also the subject of critique. The cpi which was established to investigate the denunciations concluded that there

cedi 4

were no real grounds for the accusations because of the unconvincing nature of the documents used in the campaign (Teixeira de Carvalho and Carneiro da Cunha 1987:


Forests in International Environmental Politics


of Brazil’s bauxite reserves, 77% of the tin, 40% of the manganese, 59% of the kaolin, 48% of the gypsum and 22% of the iron reserves, and it contains major gold reserves. The fact that Indians have lived in the Amazon rainforest, which, moreover, represents a unique ecosystem, has produced more interest in the region and complicated the political process even further. A serious test was the Constitutional process (which lasted from 1 February 1987 until 5 October 1988), during which a large mobilisation and lobbying around these issues took place (see 3.3). The transition to democracy required the transfer of state power from the military to civil politicians. In that sense, the military technobureaucracy had to occupy a different political position, which came to concentrate on the preser¬ vation of certain established rights. This included, for example, the exclusion of civil intervention in military affairs and in issues which the military considered crucial, and continued state (and thus, military bureaucratic) presence in key economic sectors. The political changes did not substantially change the struc¬ tural aspects of the Brazilian economy: its high degree of internationalisation and the fundamental role of the state in the triple alliance. The latter phenome¬ non is clearly illustrated by table 3.2, which considers the 500 largest enterprises in terms of majority ownership. A clear tendency towards less state-owned and more private enterprises can be noted, however.


3.2 Classification ofithe 500 largest enterprises according to majority owner-

ship (in %) ownership
















Source Exame

1992: 30

The classification presented in table 3.2 does not reckon with one of the pecu¬ liarities of the Brazilian economy: the concentration of state, international and national enterprises in particular sectors. International investments dominated the sectors of (durable) consumer goods and capital goods. National enterprises were predominant in the construction industry, agricultural/cattle sector, and light industrial goods. In addition to public services, the state operated especially in (the distribution of) petrochemicals, mining and the iron and steel industry. In other sectors, the shares were more equally divided, particularly between national and international investors. Table 3.3 presents the 1991 respective shares in the sales of the 20 largest enterprises in mining and related areas.

Brazilian Responses to International Interest in the Amazon



3.3 Participation of state, national and international enterprises in the

sales of the 20 largest enterprises per sector in 1991 (in %) international








iron and steel industry












non-ferrous minerals



f, 0.0'

Source based on Exame


1992: 30

For a long time, the mining sector was largely ‘protected’ from international influence as part of the market reserve policy followed by the Brazilian dictator¬ ship. This policy entailed an ‘empty space’ approach, in which state (or, to a lesser degree, national) enterprises were stimulated to enter sectors where foreign investors had not been active until then. Furthermore, in the interests of national security, international investment was strongly limited in areas such as mining, energy, informatics and engineering construction (Ffollerman 1988: 63-4).5 It should be added that these were also sectors where substantial benefits could be obtained. While the restrictions were partially reduced in the course of time, the privileges for state enterprises in mining have remained, which is not to say that international capital has not had a significant and profitable stake in this sector. Table 3.4 provides a survey of the ten largest mining enterprises in 1991 on the basis of sales figures. It shows the predominant position of the Companhia Vale do Rio Doce


and other state and national enterprises, while only

one international company is listed. Despite the information provided, table 3.4 is inadequate on a number of points. Obviously, sales do not give a full picture of powerful positions in the sector and of ownership patterns. Other important companies in terms of equity, which are not included in the table, are Paranapanema (nationallyowned,7 $388.6 million), Braspetro (state enterprise, $279.1 million) and


Another protective measure taken was the law of similars , which banned the import

of foreign products which are equivalent to those made in Brazil (Hollerman

1988: 63).

(j The cvrd is one of the state companies which president Cardoso plans to privatise after mid-1996.

Forests in International Environmental Politics



3.4 Ten largest mining enterprises in terms of sales in 1991







sales (x$m)

market share in % [a]

equity (x$m)

















Rio do Norte






























[a] share of sales of the 20 largest enterprises in this sector [b] not registered Source Exame 1992: 211

MineraijaoTaboca (national ownership, $211.5 million) (Exame 1992: 211). Fur¬ thermore, it does not indicate the intricate relationships between various large conglomerates, which is one of the most salient features of the Brazilian triple alliance. The Companhia Vale do Rio Doce, the


system as it has some¬

times been called, encompasses approximately 35 companies,7 8 either subsi¬ diaries or enterprises in which it has a significant holding. This frequently in¬ volves a majority position, slightly above 50%, because of the legal restrictions in the mining sector and in order to facilitate the access to investment subsidies,


In spite of the fact that Paranapanema is generally characterised as a national com¬

pany, this company is—according to data compiled in Guia Interinvest (1986: 648)—a partnership of two Japanese enterprises: Sanyo Kokusaku (50%) and Marubeni (50%). It was this enterprise, according to Allen (1989:164) and


(1987: 43-5), which

was involved in the O Estado de Sao Paulo campaign (see note 3). As the major Brazilian tin producer and one of the largest worldwide, Paranapanema had significantly reduced its prices in 1985 and 1986 in order to strengthen its position on the world market,


had started a legal procedure against Paranapanema to request for more restrictions in the company’s main tin mine Pitinga, situated in the indigenous Waimiri-Atroari area.

8 The main areas in which the cvrd operates are iron ore, pellets, manganese, wood pulp, aluminium, bauxite, rail and maritime transport, and port activities. Exports take place primarily in the sectors iron ore and pellets, bauxite and aluminium, wood pulp, and manganese (Freitas 1991: 91-3).

Brazilian Responses to International Interest in the Amazon


which often required a (predominant) state or national ownership. In this man¬ ner, partnerships have been established with multinational, national and other state companies, which cover a range of related activities (for example, alumi¬ nium, paper and pulp, construction). A closer examination of the firms enum¬ erated in table 3.4 will illustrate the interrelationships and the degree of foreign participation. The ownership of Nibrasco, ranking fourth in 1991 sales, is shared between cvrd

(51%) and Japanese investors (49%).9


holds a minority position

(46%) in Minera^ao Rio do Norte, founded in 1971 by a consortium to start the bauxite production in the Trompetas Prpject. The other companies involved are: Alcan Aluminium of Canada (24%), Reynolds Metals (5%),


(Spanish, 5%), Companhia Brasileira de Alummio (Votorantim group, 10%) and Shell Brasil/Royal Dutch Shell (10%). Remarkably, the company is classi¬ fied as national in the table, possibly because neither state nor foreign capital has a majority holding. Hispanobras is a partnership of cvrd (50.89%) and ensidesa/ini

(Spanish, 49.1%). Finally, the


also has a majority holding

in Itabrasco (51%), while the other shares are owned by finsider (Luxembourg). Taken together, these four enterprises represent 13.5% of the 1991 market share; with the inclusion of cvrd, this results in a total share of 63.7%. Foreign, especially Japanese, participation is significant in the


system as a whole.

The largest flow of foreign funds to the' cvrd has come from Japan.9 10 The cvrd

companies which are characterised by Japanese minority positions oper¬

ate in the aluminium/bauxite, forest and wood pulp, and transport sector. This represents a complex web of partnerships, in which one


subsidiary has a

significant share in another subsidiary. Traditionally, state ownership of cvrd has exceeded 50%; however, around 1985 figures were given about the rapid decline of this share (from 87% in early 1984to 5I-2°//° in ^ate I9^5)> an

Van de Laar, A., 1980, The World Bank and the poor, Boston, The Flague and London: Kluwer Nijhoff Veening, W., 1994, ‘De milieulobby en de Bretton Woods-insteilingen: een terug- en vooruitblik’, Derde Wereld, 13(2), pp. 39-48 Veloso, FI., 1968, ‘Aquisi$ao de terras por estrangeiros’, Revista Brasileira de Politica

International, xi(41-42), pp. 115-138 Viola, E., 1992, ‘O movimento ambientalista no Brasil (1971-1991): da denuncia e conscientizaqao publica para a institucionaliza$ao e o desenvolvimento sustentavel, in: M. Goldenberg, ed, Ecologia, ciencia epolitica, Rio de Janeiro: Revan, pp. 49-76 Waldman, M., 1991, ‘Oito crfticos ecologicas a conversao da divida’, in: P.R. Schilling, M. Waldman and P. Davidoff C. Cruz, Conversao da divida e meio ambiente, Sao Paulo: cedi, pp. 59-82


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Forests in International Environmental Politics

—, 1990a, Brazil and the World Bank. Into the fifth decade, Washington —, 1990b, BTOR for Mission re: G-y Pilot Program, 14 November, Office Memorandum —, 1990c, Pilot Program to Protect Brazil’s Tropical Rain Forests. Observations of World Bank mission, 6-8 November —, i99od, Pilot Program to Protect Brazil’s Tropical Rain Forests. Observations of World Bank mission. Annex: Generalprinciples, 6-8 November , 1990c, The World Bank and the environment, first annual report, fiscal 1990, Washington —, 19 9of, Forest policy: an approach paper, 25 October , 1991a, The World Bank and the environment. A progress report. Fiscal1991, Washington , 1991b, Forestry Development. A review of Bank experience, Washington: Operations Evaluation Department, No. 9524, 22 April —,1991c, The Forest Sector. A World Bank Policy Paper, Washington —, I99id, Brazil: Country strategy paper. Initiating brief. Memorandum, 7 January > x99Ie> Back-to-office report, G-y initiative, tripartite meeting, Brazil, 20 May, Office Memorandum —, I99if, Pilot Program to preserve the Brazilian rain forest. Report by the World Bank and EC to the G-y Summit, 31 May —> I99Ig> Pilot Program to preserve the Brazilian rainforest, 2 July —, 1992a, World Development Report 1992. Development and the environment, Oxford: Oxford University Press —, 1992b, Annual report 1992, Washington 1992c, Effective implementation: Key to development impact (R92-195). Board review of the Portfolio Management Task Force Report, Memorandum R92-195/1, 3 December , I992d, Effective implementation: Key to development impact (R92-199). II. Portfolio Per¬ formance and Country Assistance Strategies, Memorandum R92-195/2, n December —, I992e, Brazil. An analysis of environmental problems in the Amazon, Washington, grey cover, 9104-BR, 21 May —, 1992b National Environmental Project. Aide memoire, 4-February —, 1993a, The World Bank and the environment. Fiscal 1993, Washington > x993b, Effective implementation: Key to development impact (R92-195). III. Internal staffing and budgetary issues. Memorandum R92-195/3, 6 January 1993 , 1993c, Por folio Management: Next Steps, Memorandum R93-62, 5 April 1993d, Portfolio Management: Next Steps—A Program of Actions, Memorandum R93125,16 June —, I993e, Getting results. The World Bank’s agenda for improving development effective¬ ness, Washington, July > x994a> Making development sustainable. The World Bank group and the environment. Fiscal 1994, Washington —, 1994b, Review of implementation of the forest sector policy, Agriculture and Natural Resources Department/Environment Department, 5 December —> x995> Annual report 1999, Washington wb/cec (World Bank/Commission of the European Communities), 1991a, Pilot Pro¬ gram to conserve the Brazilian rain forest. Progress report of the October 1991 World Bank/CEC technical mission to Brazil, Washington: 12 November



—, 1991b, Pilot Program to conserve the Brazilian rainforest. Progress report of the October

ippi World Bank/CEC technical mission to Brazil. Annex 2: Update of relevant Brazilian policies, Washington: 12 November wb/cec/gob (World Bank /Commission of the European Communities/Government

of Brazil), 1991a, 4th tripartite meeting Geneva, 16-17 September —, 1991b, Pilot Program to conserve the Brazilian rain forest. Establishment of a Rain

Forest Trust Fund, Washington: 13 November wri/undp/unep, 1990,

World Resources ippo-pi. A guide to the global environment,

New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press —, 1992, World Resources ipp2-py. A guide to the global environment. Toward sustainable

development, New York and Oxford: Oxfdrd University Press wrm, 1990,

Rainforest destruction. Causes, effelts and false solutions, Penang

wwf, 1993,

The Southern Green Fund: views from the South on the Global Environment

Facility, Gland Yanaguihara, T., 1987, ‘Examining two complementary economies’, Infobrazil, 8(4), pp.

5-8 Young, O.R., 1993a, ‘International organizations and international institutions: lessons learned from environmental regimes’, in: S. Kamieniecki, ed, Environmental politics,

in the international arena. Movements, parties, organizations, and policy, New York: State University of New York Press, pp. 145-164 —, 1993b (1992), ‘The effectiveness of international institutions: hard cases and critical variables’, in: J.N. Rosenau and E. Czempiel, eds, Governance without government:

order and change in world politics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 160-


—, 1994, ‘International regime initiation’, International Studies Notes, 19(3).



Ziirn, M., 1993, ‘Bringing the second image (back) in: about the domestic sources of regime formation’, in: V. Rittberger, ed, Regime theory and international relations, Oxford: Clarendon, pp. 282-314



In het afgelopen decennium is de internationale politieke aandacht voor het milieu aanzienlijk toegenomen. Grotere bekendheid met de omvang en ernst van milieuproblemen en de mogelijk ingrijpende wereldwijde gevolgen voor mens en natuur stimuleerde de roep om concrete internationale maatregelen. Omdat de aanpak van milieuproblemen veranderingen in bestaande productieen consumptiepatronen en winstgevende economische activiteiten vereist, raakt de totstandkoming van milieubeleid aan politieke en economische belangen. Op deze wijze bei'nvloedt het de internationale politieke en economische verhoudingen, het functioneren van zowel de wereldeconomie als het interstatelijke systeem. De milieuproblematiek leidde tot een opleving van oudere debatten over onder meer Noord-Zuid tegenstellingen, de gewenste rol van de staat in de economie, ontwikkelingsvraagstukken en de bijdrage die internatio¬ nale hulp zou kunnen of moeten leveren. Een van de terreinen waarop deze controversiele onderwerpen bij uitstek naar voren kwamen, was die van de ontbossing van tropische regenwouden, met name in het Braziliaanse Amazonegebied. De internationale aandacht voor dit gebied had politieke consequenties in Brazilie zelf, vanwege al langer be¬ staande gevoeligheden voor internationale inmenging en vanwege politieke en economische belangen die in het geding waren. Dit boek is een onderzoek naar de invloed van de internationalisatie van het milieudebat op de vorming van milieubeleid voor het Amazonegebied. Hierbij staat de interactie tussen natio¬ nal en internationale ontwikkelingen en actoren centraal, alsmede de wijze waarop milieu, politiek en economie samenhangen. In de studie wordt een politiek-economisch kader ontwikkeld om de inter¬ nationale milieuproblematiek te bestuderen. Deze vormt een aanvulling op verschillende benaderingen die vooral binnen internationale betrekkingen gangbaar zijn. Aandacht voor Staten en interstatelijke samenwerkingsverbanden, die van groot belang zijn bij internationale milieuonderhandehngen, wordt gecombineerd met analyses die niet-statelijke actoren en processen, en achterliggende politieke en economische factoren benadrukken (hoofdstuk i).


Forests in International Environmental Politics

Voor wat betreft het Braziliaanse Amazonegebied sluit het aan bij onderzoek naar de politiek-economische achtergronden en oorzaken van ontbossing. Milieupolitiek wordt gekenmerkt door conflicten en pogingen om consen¬ sus te bereiken, die men vanuit twee elkaar aanvullende perspectieven kan karakteriseren. Enerzijds woedt er een strijd over de mate waarin de aanpak van milieuproblemen regulering vereist en in hoeverre dit aan marktkrachten wordt overgelaten. In navolging van de discussie over economisch beleid heeft: er het afgelopen decennium ook op milieugebied een duidelijke verschuiving plaatsgevonden, waarbij de voorstanders van regulering terrein hebben moeten prijsgeven (hoofdstuk i). Het pleidooi voor internationale sturing, dat in het Brundtland-rapport een belangrijke plaats innam, heeft aan kracht ingeboet; de oplossing wordt veel meer gezocht in marktwerking en het opheffen van belemmerende regelgeving. Gezien het feit dat ook bepaalde sectoren belang hebben bij overheidsingrijpen, blijven de conflicten over de noodzaak, de invulling en de politieke en economische implicaties van milieubeleid echter oplaaien, zowel nationaal and internationaal. Anderzijds is milieu een belangrijk strijdpunt gebleken tussen staten, met name tussen Noord en Zuid. Voor de ontwikkelingslanden vormde het milieuprobleem een nieuw onderhandelingswapen om de bestaande ongelijke inter¬ nationale machtsverhoudingen aan de kaak te stellen (hoofdstuk i). Vooral de onderhandelingen over bossen werden tijdens de VN-conferentie over milieu en ontwikkeling


in Rio de Janeiro (1992) gekenmerkt door hoog op-

lopende conflicten. In ruil voor toezeggingen over bescherming van bossen verlangden de ontwikkelingslanden concessies op andere terreinen, zoals de verlichting van hun schuldenlast, de vermindering van Noordelijk protectionisme, en overdracht van technologie en financiele middelen van Noord naar Zuid (hoofdstuk 4). Voor Westerse regeringen en milieuorganisaties vormde ontbos¬ sing een uitstekende mogelijkheid om hun bezorgdheid te uiten en bereidheid tot handelen te tonen, terwijl het moeilijke ingrijpen in de binnenlandse milieuproblemen kon worden uitgesteld. Zij richtten zich tot internationale organisaties, zoals de Wereldbank en VN-instellingen, om meer rekening te houden met het milieu en om nieuwe activiteiten op dit terrein te ontplooien. Voor de ontwikkelingslanden, waar de regenwouden zich bevinden, lag de situatie geheel anders: zij zagen de zorg over de ontbossing als een gemakkelijke manier om politieke populariteit te verwerven die ten koste van him economische ontwikkeling zou gaan. Een dergelijke polarisatie deed zich ook voor in het geval van het Braziliaanse Amazonegebied, dat een van de voornaamste mikpunten van internationale zorg werd. Dit had deels te maken met de grote omvang van het regenwoud en het feit dat een relatief groot deel daarvan nog intact was. Daarnaast hadden



succesvolle acties van internationale en Braziliaanse non-gouvernementele organisaties


in de jaren tachtig de nadelige milieugevolgen van enkele

grote, mede door de Wereldbank gefinancierde, projecten in het Amazonegebied aan het licht gebracht. De moord op de bekende rubbertapper Chico Mendes in 1988 vestigde nogmaals de aandacht op de moeilijke situatie van de bevolking. In datzelfde jaar ontstond er grote commotie over ongekend hoge ontbossingscijfers en beelden van grootschalige bosbranden, die weer werden geassocieerd met het broeikaseffect. Over de hoogte van de cijfers, de bijdrage aan de opwarming van de aarde en de extrapolatie van deze gegevens ontstond in Brazilie een verhitte discussie (hoofdstuk 2). De vaststelling van de omvang van het probleem werd een groot politiek strijdpunt, de internationale aan¬ dacht had politieke en economische consequenties in Brazilie zelf. A1 in de jaren zestig, tijdens de dictatuur, waarschuwden de militairen en andere nationalistische groeperingen voor de vermeende pogingen om het Amazonegebied te ‘internationaliseren’, dit terwijl de intocht van buitenlands kapitaal een doelbewust onderdeel vormde van het nationale ontwikkelingsbeleid dat zijzelf in gang hadden gezet. Ook in de mijnbouw, een belangrijke sector in het Amazonegebied, waren zowel multinationals als nationale particuliere en staatsbedrijven actief. De sentimenten en belangen die bij de internationalisatiebeschuldigingen een rol speelden, kwamen ook in midden van de jaren tachtig en het begin van de jaren negentig naar voren, maar nu om de toenemende politieke aandacht voor het lot van de inheemse bevolking en het milieu in de kiem te smoren (hoofdstuk 3). Het feit dat de Braziliaanse econo¬ mic zo sterk gei'nternationaliseerd is, verschafte nationalistische groeperingen de mogelijkheid naar de invloed van internationale actoren te verwijzen wanneer hen dat politiek goed uitkwam. Deze complottheorieen hidden echter geen verband met daadwerkelijke internationale ontwikkelingen. Het sterk nationalistisch gei'nspireerde verzet tegen een milieubeleid voor het Amazonegebied bleek onhoudbaar; rond 1989 vond er een duidelijke omslag plaats. De ontbossingsproblematiek schaadde het Braziliaanse aanzien, het begon een belemmering te vormen voor overleg in diverse internationale fora, en ontwikkelingsbanken schortten leningen voor projecten in het Amazone¬ gebied op. Het aanbod om


in Brazilie te houden kwam voort uit een

doelbewuste poging het milieu-imago te verbeteren. Bovendien, zo werd verwacht, zou een dergelijke verandering ook een aanzienlijke stroom aan inter¬ nationale milieugelden kunnen opleveren. Het milieubeleid, dat onder de regeringen Sarney en Collor van de grond kwam, bleef een bron van voortdurende conflicten. Niettemin werd het beschouwd als een stap in de goede richting, alleen nationalistische groeperingen en een aantal strekt tegengestelde redenen af.


keurden het om vol-


Forests in International Environmental Politics

In vergelijking met andere regenwouden, waar de handel in tropisch hardhout en het houden van vee voor vleesexport belangrijke impulsen voor de ontbossing zijn, zijn de oorzaken in Brazilie echter in eerste instantie nationaal van karakter, en het resultaat van het gevolgde ontwikkelingsmodel. Dit bemoeilijkt een internationale aanpak, aangezien deze nationale veranderingen teweeg zou moeten brengen om resultaat te hebben. Westerse regeringen, internatio¬ nale organisaties en


verwelkomden daarom de wijziging in het Brazili-

aanse beleid na 1988. Het vormde mede de aanleiding voor de lancering van het ‘pilot’-programma voor het Braziliaanse Amazonegebied


door de Groep

van de zeven meest gei'ndustrialiseerde landen in 1990 (hoofdstuk 4). Bij de voorbereidingen van het


waarin de Wereldbank een belangrijke

rol speelt, werd zowel rekening gehouden met eerdere ervaringen met projecten in het Amazonegebied als met de Braziliaanse gevoeligheden. Er kwam een coalitie tot stand tussen vertegenwoordigers van de Wereldbank, de Europese Commissie, Braziliaanse milieuambtenaren en een groep ngo’s uit het Amazone¬ gebied die, gegeven de omstandigheden, relatief voortvarend aan de slag gingen. Politieke veranderingen in Brazilie in juli 1992 deden de weerstand echter toenemen. De verslechterende economische situatie bemoeilijkte de voortgang, evenals de traagheid van de bureaucratische molens, zowel in Brazilie als bij de Wereldbank, en de duidelijk lagere politieke prioriteit die nationaal en internationaal aan het milieu werd toegekend (hoofdstuk 5). Het


toont echter

niet alleen de complexiteit van milieuregulering en de stroperigheid van inter¬ nationale hulp, maar 00k hoe samenwerking ondanks soevereiniteitskwesties tot stand kan komen. In zekere zin illustreert het

ppb 00k

de veranderingen die zich binnen de

Wereldbank hebben voorgedaan. Vanaf 1983, toen een aantal Amerikaanse milieuorganisaties een campagne tussen de multilaterale ontwikkelingsbanken begon, is de Wereldbank het middelpunt van internationale milieukritiek geweest. Door de druk die de


in nauwe samenwerking met vooral Republi-

keinse Congresleden uitoefenden, werd de Wereldbank gedwongen de milieueffecten van projecten onder ogen te zien en daarin verbeteringen aan te bren¬ gen. Dit deed de kritiek echter geenszins verstommen, vooral omdat binnen de Bank de meeste nadruk werd gelegd op het uitzetten van zo veel mogelijk leningen, waarbij de uitvoering van duidelijk minder belang was. Bovendien conflicteert het door de Bank voorgestane beleid in ontwikkelingslanden, dat van deregulering, privatisering en liberalisering, in een aantal gevallen met een verbetering van de milieusituatie. Enkele interne evaluaties in het begin van de jaren negentig hebben echter een grote invloed gehad op het functioneren van de Bank. Vooral het rapport van de Wapenhans-commissie, dat de ver¬ slechterende effectiviteit van Bank-projecten aan de orde stelde, waarbij het


overigens uitsluitend economische criteria hanteerde, heeft veranderingen in de werkwijze en institutionele cultuur teweeg gebracht (hoofdstuk 5). Of dit de critici voldoende tegemoet komt en het de dreigende budgetinkrimping van de Wereldbank voor kan zijn, moet worden afgewacht. Enigszins paradoxaal is dat de bestaande milieuproblematiek en de noodzaak daar iets aan te doen in toenemende mate door de Wereldbank wordt aangegrepen om haar bestaansrecht mede te legitimeren. Een aantal, voornamelijk Amerikaanse, milieuorganisaties bestrijden deze visie; voor hen gaan de hervormingen in ieder geval niet ver genoeg. Zij streven naar een sluiting van de Wereldbank of, iets minder vergaand, naar een afsplitsing van de International Development Association, de tak van de Bank die leningen op zachte voorwaarden aan de armste landen verstrekt en die met ontwikkelingshulp wordt gefmancierd. Andere, meestal West-Europese en Afrikaanse, ngo’s vrezen hiermee de tegenstanders van ontwikkelingshulp extra argumenten te verschaffen en zo de positieve veranderingen die de Bank na zoveel druk heeft doorgevoerd, teniet te doen. Deze splitsing is een duidelijke illustratie van de ontwikkeling die ngo’s het afgelopen decennium hebben doorgemaakt. In het begin van de jaren tachtig werd er voornamelijk actie gevoerd, waarbij tropische regenwouden een speerpunt warden. ngo’s stelden negatieve milieueffecten aan de kaak en vergrootten zo het milieubewustzijn. Met de toenemende erkenning van de milieuproblematiek en het belang van ngo’s op internationaal gebied ontstonden er echter nieuwe dilemma’s: moesten zij zich uitsluitend bezighouden met actievoeren, zich 00k in politieke onderhandelingen begeven of zich vooral richten op het realiseren van (voorbeeld)projecten (hoofdstuk 6). In de aanloop naar unced gingen steeds meer ngo’s aan het diplomatieke circuit deelnemen en bijdragen aan de voorbereiding en uitvoering van projecten, om op deze wijze hun inbreng te hebben en (kleine) veran¬ deringen tot stand te brengen. Hierdoor namen echter 00k de onderlinge conflicten toe: ngo’s die het gebrek aan structurele hervormingen bekritiseerden, karakteriseerden de onderhandelingen als cooptatie en de projecten als lapmiddelen. Een dergelijke splitsing deed zich 00k voor bij het ppb. De specifieke positie die ngo’s innemen hangt niet alleen af van het betreffende onderwerp, maar 00k van de politieke en economische context en van de nationale omstandigheden waarin zij vjerkeren. Zo bestaan er grote verschillen tussen West-Europese, Axnerikaanse en Braziliaanse ngo’s. De samenwerking tussen ngo’s, regeringen en internationale organisaties is in het afgelopen decennium

toegenomen, maar daarmee zijn 00k de onderlinge verschillen tussen ngo s versterkt.


Forests in International Environmental Politics

Het feit dat het milieu een veel lagere prioriteit heeft dan in de afgelopen jaren levert een gemengd beeld op. Aan de ene kant is er veel minder politieke druk om milieubeleid van de grond te krijgen, concrete maatregelen te nemen en toezeggingen te doen. Het streven naar internationale afstemming vanwege de sterke economische verwevenheid bemoeilijkt het bereiken van consensus. Dit leidt tot uitstel of zelfs afstel. Aan de andere kant betekent het ook dat milieu veel minder het voorwerp is van hooglopende conflicten, die soms niet eens met onderwerp in kwestie te maken hebben. In de politieke schaduw komen er allerlei projecten en voorzichtige samenwerkingsverbanden van de grond, onder meer op bossengebied, wat enkele jaren geleden ondenkbaar was. Milieu is een vast onderdeel geworden van beleidsvorming op nationaal en internationaal niveau, wordt veelvuldig ‘gebruikt’ om andere politieke en econo¬ mische doeleinden te verwezenlijken, maar biedt juist hierdoor ook kansen tot samenwerking tussen verschillende actoren.


u j f


103, 260, 265

acid rain Acre

no, 157


Adams, W.


Asian Development Bank Audubon Society

38, 69,188,191,194, 223, 283;

247, 255



Ayres, R.




- gef


Baker plan


r^also ngos

Agarwal, A. and Narain, S. Albert, B.




see Brazil

Amazon pact


138 68, 72

62-4, 66, 68, 71-2

Amazon 105,156


92, 94-5, 207 22, 45-51, 57-8,




Bergesen, H. and Parmann, G.



Bergesen, H., Norderhaug, M. and Parmann, G.


Bernauer, T.



116, 132

Arnt, R. and Schwartzman, S. 122-3, 249> 252

95, 97-8,118



Araujo Castro, J.



78, 98-9,119

Anglo American


Bandow, D.

Barraclough, S. and Ghimire, K.

275, 277

78, 98


24, 28-9

Barraclough, S.



Baldwin, D.

Barden, C.

Alternative Forum Amapa


Barbieri Giorgino


Allen, E.



Aufderheide, P. and Rich, B.

75-6, IOI



see also ngos

Adams, P.


47, 69, 73,188, 223, 252, 279;

- gef


Acselrad, H.








97 218, 251



Binswanger, H.


Boehmer-Christiansen, S.



Forests in International Environmental Politics



Bottcher, C.

Bretton Woods


Bozzano Simonsen bp


Brigagao, C.

119, 206, 213, 252

Bradford Morse Brady plan

211, 270, 278, 280


Brandt commission


42, 134,135

97-8,103, 118



Broken Hill


Browder, J.

69, 74




Brundtland commission

21, 42-6,

48, 50, 57, 115,128,134-6,143, 254-5,



Brazil, Constitution

15, 90, 99-105,

112,121, 212, 235, 239, 292; - Congress

275-6, 279

Brown, L. and Korten, D.

Bramble, B. and Porter, G. Brascan

178, 278-9;

- Madrid meeting



141, 254, 274-5, 2.80;

- commission

business and environment

18, 22,

45-50, 52, 117-8,170, 255-6, 288

87,115, 210, 235, 248;

(seealso cpi);

- foreign ministry


Caldwell, L.


Calha Norte

104, no, 112

157, 230-1, 234, 295;

Calha Sul

- military


73-7, 87-9, 92,101,

104-5,108-10,120-2, 233-4, 2-91; - national security doctrine


87, 291;



105 141,163,180, 255, 274-5, 279; 149


203-11, 236, 242, 259, 297-8

(walso esg, sae);

carbon dioxide

61, 81-6,136,146-7,

- conservative neo-liberalism

150-1,157,159, 225, 228, 238;


see also

- nationalism


124-6; see also

Cardoso, p.H.

15,18, 73, 75, 93,114,

149, 235, 293, 296 environmental regulation,

transformative environmentalism Brazilian Amazon, causes of deforestation

- global warming

- international concern - environmental policy - zoning

77-8, 290-1; 106-15;

115-26, 291-4;

110-4, 233, 239, 266, 270;


Brenton, T.

World Bank


Bresser Pereira, L.

104,156,172,188, 223

Castrioto de Azambuja, M. Cedlio Rego Almeida




in, 234

and Teixeira de Carvalho, W. 78-82;


- competing views

Cardoso Aveline, C.

Carneiro da Cunha, M„ Rodrigues, J.


- disagreement over figures

see also

global warming



72, 74


Cesar Fernandes, R.


82-4, 86;

see also

ozone, Montreal Protocol

Chatterjee, P. 38, 73, 75-6, 220-1



91, 99,103, 252, 263

Central America



175, 274, 276-7, 283


Chatterjee, P. and Finger, M.


2-55> 257 Chile



40, 84,168,180,183 15, 91, 94, 103, 252




- Brazil

100, 256, 262, 265, 271,

Clinton, B.


Club of Rome





Cultural Survival

250, 252, 260

93-8,102,117-8, 207-9, 2,36,


124-6,177, 231-3, 241, 288, 293-6

37-8, 70, 144,158,167,181,184,

Comissao Pro-Indio


command and control

47, 50, 238,

288 170,180, 213-4

debt-for-nature swaps - Brazil

144,176, 228;


- figures


Delors, J.





17, 37,116, 217, 293,



Development Gap

26, 35


99, 204-5, 2I2> 252

deforestation, causes of 68-72;


Conable, B.


- Brazil




Darst, G.


25I, 26o-2

Collor, F.

Dalby, S.

25 debt


Conca, K.

69, l6o, 163, 165, 176

DeBardeleben, J. and Hannigan, J.

91, 94




26, 53, 57, 286;





civil society



40, 48,179,183-6,

196-7, 217, 220, 240, 277, 279, 289;

Dias Leite

- green

Diomicio Freitas

40,168-9, U1* l77> 2I7>

275, 279, 282

Devlin, J. and Yap, N. 97-8 97

242-3, 277, 279, 297;

Dreifuss, R.

- Brazil

Dryzek, J. and Lester, J.

75, 90, 92-3, 95, 207-9,


101-3,107 58

226, 234 Congo

Earth increment


construction industry

75, 90, 92-3,

95, 207-9, 226, 234 Couto Soares, M. Cowell, A. Cox, R. cpi


249, 251-2

28, 31, 33-5

1968 88, 90;

Eastern Europe

167, 273 25,120,137,148,

164,182 East-West conflict - Brazil ec



91, 87,122

15, 50, 86, 205, 207, 246; cec

97,111-3,146-53, 230-1, 233,

-1987 91;

236-7, 242, 259-60, 295;


- Dublin summit


- 1991 120-1,157, 231, 295;



- Parliament




161; 15,146;



Forests in International Environmental Politics

145-6, 149, 230, 262, 294;




37, 156



94 102


Finger, M.

economic growth and environment


274, 279

42-6, 48, 51, 57,125,129,131-2,142,


151-2, 219, 287-8


I50, 246-7, 249-25I, 255,



259-60, 273-5 Edwards, M. and Hulme, D.

54, 286



258-9, 262, 264-5,

259; 247, 249-50, 252, 255, 274-5

forests, categorisation Founex conference

environmental colonialism




61, 65-6


106,141-2,179-80,185, 274,


Environmental Policy Center environmental regulation


25-7, 42,

- gef

168,174-5, 242; 161;

- itta

44-8, 51,129, 216, 220, 287-8, 296;


- Brazil


116-7,122'5> 293

environmental security epi

236, 260-I

2.67; - us




62, 252, 259, 26l-2, 265;






- international

Ehrlich, P. and Ehrlich, A. El-Ashry, M.

52, 254-5




Franco, I.

17, 235

Freitas, M. de

epistemic communities ESG



87, 89, 120-1, 295


Fritsch, W. and Franco, G. Fry, I.



IIO-I, I47, 232, 261



94, 97, 118 205

IO7, 122-3, 260, 265

28, 30, 47, 88,178,180,188,



G-7, and environment

23, 28

2.48; -GEF


Evans, P. EWGA

- Brazilian Amazon 74-5

- Bonn

252, 259

63-9, 138-40, 152-4, 163, 165-6,

169, 253 FASE

- Fialifax


Fatheuer, T. FBCN




Fearnside, P. Fernandes, F.

20, 141-3,145,147, 152,

154, 230, 294; - London

252, 261-4 260-1, 263-5, 2-67

- Naples

g-77 54, 97-8

145,147-8,150, 236,

259, 261, 263; - Paris

79, 81



- FFouston FAO


280; 142-4, 259

36, 38-40,133,137,155-6,158,

162,168-70,174 Gabon



Gaia Foundation


Green Revolution

41, 44, 48-9, 57-8, 276



144,165-9, 242"3> 274-5, 2.81-2,



Grieco, J.

252, 275-6

24, 28

Group of Ten

2.89; - Brazil



- interagency cooperation




260-5, 299

Guimaraes, R.

35-6, 77, 89,114,127,


168-9,173; - restructuring

Gulf war


George, S. and Sabelli, F.

178, 182,

25, 41

Guppy, N.


187,189,192,199, 220, 269 Germany


2.51, 274; - greenhouse gas emissions - itta



145-6,149-50, 233, 242, 259;

Gill, S. and Law, D. Gilpin, R.

46, 256, 258

global warming

21, 27, 32, 82-6,133, 61, 84-86, 119,156,


32, 34, 53,132, 276

72, 76, 207

Hall, D.


Hammond, A., Rodenburg, E. and Harborth, H.

Goldemberg, J.

Goldemberg, J. and Ribeiro 77

good governance Gottlieb, R. Graf, W.

187, 269

256 276, 283



Hollerman, L.

100, 256 93, 95-6

Hollis, M. and Smith, S.


Houghton, R.


grassroots organisations

53-4, 56-7,

76, 264-5, 26o;

84 84

Houghton, R., Jenkins, G. and Ephrawms, J.



23-4, 35

Houghton, R., Callender, B. and Varney, S.

285-6; - Brazil


Herfkens, E.

Hochstetler, K.




Herculano, S.

156, 235


35, 37, 76, 262

Helsinki protocol


Gomes, S.


Hellinger, D.

78, 97-8

Durham, E.



Hecht, S. and Cockburn, A. hegemony

18, 23, 33-5



Hall, A.

Hayter, T. and Watson, C.



- us

232-3, 259-61

Haufler, V.

162; - Brazil

146-9,151, 230,

Moomaw, W.

143; - deforestation



Hajnal, P.



Global Forum



Haggard, S. and Simmons, B.



Haas, P.

Hagemann, H.




Haas, P., Keohane, R. and Levy, M.

l68, I74-5, 242;


Haas, E.



Forests in International Environmental Politics

Hudson Institute


Hurrell, A.

international political economy


16-7, 33-5> 4i> 2.87;

hydro-electricity Hyvarinen, J.

69, 72, 74, 205


- environment


international relations

17-8, 21-35,

287, 300 ibama

109-12,123,147,157, 235-6,


internationalisation, of the Amazon 87-99,103-4, 106-9,12.0-2, 212-3,


230-1, 234, 262;



IOI, 103

- Brazilian economy

178-80, 183-5, l88, 242, 279,

28l, 297;

see also cpi

82-4, 86;


see also World Bank

- Berlin conference

22, 45-6, 50, 57,118, 255



178-80,183-5,188, 279-82, 298;


- 10th


167-8, 273-4;

- nth

252, 260, 265

iron ore

92-4, 96, 205, 207-8;

- industry



see also World Bank

83, 86



- replenishment, 9th

89-90, 92;






77,166, 213, 250-2, 266, 292


141,149,180,185, 274


25I, 260-I


137,160-2,164, 253


165, 179, 254-5,


73,137,145,154,161, 227, 252-3


42, 123, 255



37-8, 44, 57-8, 70, I24, 168, l8o,

184, 275-6, 282


Ivory Coast






Izaak Walton League


Janz, K. and Singh, K.


113, 270

67-8, 84,155-6, 158,168,180,

183, 211, 255 Indians


78, 91-2, 99-106, 108,120,

208-10, 251-2, 264, 292-3; - indigenous territories

141,170,174,180,185, 274;

- Brazil

88, 94-6,102, 205, 207;

- greenhouse gas emissions 84; 15, 94,



100-5, hi, 121, 212-3, 2.32-4, 261-2,


267, 270, 295-6;

- timber

see also Yanomami

Indonesia INESC INI




148-9; 137, 252-3

Jardine, K.


Joao Santos


joint implementation



Jordan, L. and Van Tuijl, P.

65, 77-82, 84

Inter-American Dialogue interdependence

69, 168

274,278 116

28, 31-2, 36

Junne, G.




Kaelberer, M.


Kawasaki Steel

Macdonald, L.


Machado, I.

Kay, D. and Jacobson, H.


Kay, D. and Skolnikoff, E. Keck, O. Kenya


96, 99,101,103

Mahar, D.



23, 29


72, 75, 79, 81 67-9,133,137,154-6,158,



Malingreau, J.

Keohane, R.

24, 28-9, 31



28, 38, 42,135




78, 98, 209

Khalid, M.


Marshall aid

Kilian, M.



Kobe Steel


Mason, E. and Asher, R.

Kohl, H. Kolk, A.

Mather, A.

75 149

Maull, H.

Korten, D.


May, E.

Krasner, S.

24, 26, 38


Kuala Lumpur declaration land speculation

- Brazil



94, 96

McCormick, J.


85-6, 276

McNamara, R.




I43-4, I48, 150, 249-5O, 254,

258, 268-9;

72, hi, 113

Latin America

78, 97-8, 206


McCully, P.


74, 88,113

land titling


63, 65, 69, 72

Mato Grosso

138,161,163, 245

Kolk, A. and Van der Weij, E.

- Brazil

94, 96



Kohlhepp, G.


37, 74,156,170,172,

- campaign

20, 77,145, 243,

188, 195, 223, 279;

249-52, 254, 258, 268-9, 277. 28o,

see also ecla, ngos


Le Prestre, P. Ledec, G. Lele, S.

Meira Mattos, A.

178, 213-4

Mendes, C.

69, 72



liberal institutionalism

18, 23-4,

34, 257

List, M. and Rittberger, V. livestock - Brazil


18, 63, 69, 85, 220; 72, 75, 87, 92,111-2, 236,

82, 84,136 38, 67-8,156, 168,183,191,

195 Middle East miga


69-70, 226, 228; 72, 74-5, 88-107,112,116,

120-1, 207, 234


Mitterand, F.

see also pt

Lutzenberger, J.

172, 188

179, 279

- Brazil

239 Lula


methane Mexico

26-33. 35 Lipietz, A.


19, 78, 251-2, 291


156-7, 232, 235-6, 252

Molina, L.



Monteiro Aranha Montreal protocol

97-8 27, 83, 86, 276


Forests in International Environmental Politics

Moreira Alves, M. Morocco


- European


274-5, 280, 298;

multinationals - Brazil

36, 39, 44-5, 47, 289;

74, 88-90,108;


- Latin American - us


walso business and environment Munasinghe, M. and Cruz, W. 215-6, 219-20 Murray, C.

213, 246-8, 250, 53-4;

246-52, 255, 259-60, 271,

273-6, 280; - Brazilian

121-6, 249, 251-3,

255-6, 258-67, 269-70; - Brazilian ngo forum


123-4, 256,

261-4, 299;



- North-South

Myers, N.

62-3, 66-9

249-52, 257-8;

Naim, M.


39-40, 53-7, 245-6,

see also grassroots organisations, UNCED

National Parks and Conservation Association


Nibrasco nieo


36-9,127,130,134,141, 289


see Brazil

94-5 195

Nippon Kokan

Nature Conservancy Nelson, P.



neo-functionalism neo-liberalism


Nippon Steel


Nisshin Steel



28, 37, 51, 54-5,142,


see Brazil (conservative

Nogueira, J.



Nerfin, M.

24, 29

115-6 22, 26, 33-42,140,167; 36-41, 175-6,

245-6, 289-90;

170,180,182, 251, 255,


- Brazil

107,122, 261;

see also ngos, unced, unche

- greenhouse gas emissions - itta



- ppb 149 Neves, T. ngos



- environment




nitrous oxide

152,185, 221, 287-8;



Nossa Natureza 79,109, no, 113, 236, 293 NRDC


247, 249-50, 255, 274


142, 247, 249-50, 255


I44, 164, l66-8, I70-I, I76,

51-8, 245-286;

- concept


- action vs advocacy vs project 253-286;

201-2, 280-1 OECD

(see also environmental regulation,


transformative environmentalism);


- African - Asian

53-4, 274, 298; 54;

I43, 164, 166, 174-6, 184-5 203-II, 222, 229, 270 109, 112

oil crisis


- in Brazil



- Brazilian oil sector Ominami, C.



38 254;

see also Brundtland ozone

145,177,192-3, 203-10,

212-3, 242> 249> 25i-2, 2.70, 290,297-8

Our Common Future, Centre Oyog, A.


Pompermayer, M.

population and environment


143, 172;

Porter, G. and Brown, ]. origins


- The Hague conference


see also Montreal Protocol Ozorio de Almeida, M.

77, 128,


- set-up

-> Geneva meeting

149, 233;

- implementation



- World Bank

Palan, R.



see also ec Prado Lopes, E. 217-8,

Papua New Guinea

privatisation - Brazil

Pearce, D. and Warford, J. Pearson commission



97, 118




61, 225-6, 228

115, 125, 248, 256


28, 181 212, 252, 270-1

250, 252

Reagan, R. realism

181, 248, 290

18, 23-8, 30, 35

Redwood, J.

213, 252

Reed, D.


wWapenhans IO9, I50, 235-6


37-8, 41, 48-9, 58, 70,

89,115,129,186, 257, 267, 288



93, 115-6,124, 293


67-8, 181


37,185, 217, 241, 297;



Picciotto, R. and Weaving, R.



93-4, 97,103



69, 226

Pripcen, T., Finger, M. and Manno, J.


Payer, C.

180,194,199, 211, 278-9

Primo Braga, C.


78, 98-9, 207



see unced Preston, L.


Paul, S.



Panayotou, T. and Hupe, K.


145-51, 230-40,

260, 265-6;


Paiva Abreu, M. de 133


144-7; 147-53, 230-3, 261-4;

- ngos



131-2,134, 215, 226

21, 27, 30, 32, 83, 85,119,133,



32, 46,107,118,128-9, J33>

204, 206-7

178, 217-8, 220


23, 26, 28-31,182

Reis, E.

84, 89

Repetto, R.


Repetto, R. and Gillis, M.

i43> I9F

- air 25, 27;

Revkin, A.

- water


25, 30, 142-3;

- absolute/relative



249, 252 95

149, 233

69, 71

Forests in International Environmental Politics


Rhone Poulenc Rich, B.



178,189,192, 205, 221,

249-50, 252, 273-74, 282 Ricupero, R.

Serageldin, I.

149, 235

Sesmou, K.

see unced

Shaw, M.

Rio do Norte


Risse-Kappen, T. Rittberger, V.




72, 74, 90,107,112,119,

121, 203, 206-8, 213, 236, 238, 252 Rompczyk, E. Rondonia

23, 33



sos Amazonia

261, 265

South East Asia

77, 108,136, 251,

Souza, H. de

260-2, 264, 267;


see also Mendes


39-40, 257, 289

South Commission



234, 262

South Centre

Rowe, P., Sharma, N. and rubber tappers

Smith, S.

sos Mata Atlantica

24, 32

Browder, J.



78, 98-9,121

Rosenau, J.

247, 250, 252, 255, 273

Sogge, D. and Biekart, K.

78, 98-9, 206, 212, 228, 270



95, 97,118, 286

Smith, J.


73, 75,111-3


Sierra Club

69, 228;

- Brazil


Seroa da Motta, R.

Rio conference


109-1, 147, 230-3, 235-7,

260-1, 266


18, 47, 69, 73, 252

55 25-6, 36, 40, 58,106,

155-6,159,169, 290;

Ruigrok, W. and Van Tulder, R.


- Brazil

77, 89,107, 119-21,131-2,

230, 233-4, 2.92, 2-94-6 saden SAE



Soviet Union

113, 147, 234

Salmen, L. and Paige Eaves, A. Samarco Samitri

180, 207 277

94, 96

Spaceship Earth

Sprout, H. and Sprout, M.

Santilli, M.


Sri Lanka

Saouma, E.


steel industry

Sarney, J.

211, 270, 273, 278, 298

76,104,106-7,109, in,

H3-5> i2-4> 177, 241, 288, 294, 296; walso Nossa Natureza Saudi Arabia Scandinavia

180 37, 251

Schanzenbacher, B. Schmidheiny, S. Schon, D.

92-3, 95-6, 205-6

Stevis, D., Assetto, V. and Mumme, D.


Stockholm conference see unche Strange, S.

30, 33

Strong, M.

45,130,170, 255

structural adjustment


196,198, 277, 282;

45, 47, 288








Sprinz, D. and Vaahtoranta, T.

94, 96

Sardar Sarovar

25, 74, 84,120, 148,

- environment structuralism

37, 48,185-8,

217-20, 268

23, 33


Sub-Saharan Africa


- Brazil

Sumitomo Metal Industries Summers, L.


191 39, 42-7,

58, 231-2, 269-70, 278, 282, 287 128, 274


119,132-3,156-8, 231-3;

- financial resources - forests

sustainable development Sweden

39-41, 44-6; 50;






164-5; - Global Forum — PrepCom, first - second



- third

Carneiro da Cunha, M.



39,155; 153,157,169-70, 257

21, 34,127-35,


- Brazil

103 178,187

2X4, 222, 227,



Thibodeau, J. Thomas, C. timber trade

76-7,130-2, 224


34, 130, 152-3, 166, 168-9;


see also



103, 252



70, 73,137-8,155-6,

United Kingdom

37, 141,170,

159,161, 226-7, 245> 252;

179-80,185, 251, 274, 276;

- Brazil





- greenhouse gas emissions

92, 94,103-4, 292

Tlateloco platform




Tokyo declaration




trade, and environment

41, 45-6,


146, 149, 233 234, 262

Uphoff, N.

- liberalisation


37, 108, 124-5, I^5>


28,30,37, 41, 47,141,163;

- Congress

288 transformative environmentalism

177,181, 201, 248,

250-1, 273-4, 279, 298;

51, 57-8,122-6, 253, 255-6, 258, 285,

- Democrats

287-8, 299

- Republicans




48-50,129, 216-7, 241, 267;

transnational relations


138, 165, 167-9, 257;


see also

252-3, 282


36-7, 47, 134, 137, 162


138-40, 145, I52-4, 164, 169,

154,156, 255-6;

154, 256;

- fourth

Teixeira de Carvalho, W. and

Tetzlaff, R.

46, 256, 258;





106, 248, 250, 274; 18,175,181, 201,

249-50, 274, 280, 290, 298, 300;

28, 32

- Brazil



- Amazon

88, 96,121, 207;


Udall, L. udr









- greenhouse gas emissions


Umoren, R.



279, 283

general assembly

36, 42, 44,155






Forests in International Environmental Politics


- World Bank

179-81,186, 202,

- Brazil

178-80,183,188,195, 212,

214, 268, 271, 273-4, 279, 281;


walso ngos

- Brazilian Amazon



144-53, 192, 203-13, 228, 230-9,

146-7, 260

241-2, 250-2, 294-6; Valentine, M.


Van de Laar, A.


222, 231, 240, 251, 270-1, 276; - environmental policy

192-3 Veening, W.



67-8, 91,105


- eia

- forest policy

138; 222-9;

- inspection panel






Veloso, H. Viola, E.

182,193,198-9, 201, 207,

- eds

- ngo


271, 278, 280;


55, 247, 250-2,

268-82, 299-300; Waldman, M. Waltz, K.

- project performance


- reorganisation


Wapenhans, W.

201, 278, 281-2;

- commission



211, 280 215, 217-9

Washington consensus

254, 275, 282,




see Brundtland Westoby, J.

62, 64-5, 69, 73,139

Wilderness society Willetts, P.



Williamson, J.


Willums, J. and Goliicke, U.

213, 215-7, 22J> 232, 24I> 138

Wolf, A. and Reed, D. Wolfensohn, J.

17,180, 278, 281, 298 260

34, 37-8, 40, 44, 57-8,

143,170,177-92; - approval culture


202, 241, 298; - Board of Governors

world system

18, 23, 33

World Trust



63, 67-8, 82, 84-6,138, 291


69, 253


50, 276



Yanaguihara, T.




91,104-5,124> 232> 26o

Young, O.



Woods Hole Research Center World Bank

Structural adjustment,

45, 50

268, 297 Winterbottom, R.

gef, mdb,




- 50 years campaign

r^also Bretton Woods,

Warford, J.


191-2, 210, 214;



Zimbabwe Ziirn, M.

169 30-1

When Brazilian President Cardoso signed a decree in January 1996 allowing interested parties more leeway in filing injunctions against the demarcation of indigenous areas, he was attacked on all sides. National and international NGOs and the European Parliament pro¬ tested, and requested that the World Bank, the European Union and the G7 take measures. “The European Parliament should be more concerned with the problems in Bosnia, which they have not managed to solve,” retorted the Brazilian Minister of Justice. Increasing concern over the environment in the past decade has incited new attempts at policy-making, in which international organisations and environmental NGOs have played a substantial role. As the environmental issue becomes more important in inter¬ national politics, vested political and economic interests are threat¬ ened. Ans Kolk, political scientist at the University of Amsterdam, systematically explores the dynamics of international environmental politics, looking specifically at the Brazilian Amazon. — How did deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon become a source of international concern, and what does this mean for national Brazilian politics? — Which national and international approaches have been adopted to address the environmental problems? What has the influence of a decade of environmental mobilisa¬ tion been on NGOs and the World Bank? — What are the repercussions for the study of international relations and for international environmental politics?

JAMES THIN ,£19-99