By US Daily Review Staff.
What could be less politically correct than opposing economic development in African countries such as Uganda? However, according to a NGO group that monitors economic developments, that is exactly what the environmental groups are doing.
Rio de Janeiro – World Growth, a pro-development organization, last week called on Western environmental campaigners to halt appropriating indigenous claims in order to block African forestry, agriculture and mining projects.
World Growth chairman Alan Oxley made the call before world leaders at the UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Mr Oxley was launching a report outlining how environmental campaigners are using the concept of ‘free prior and informed consent’ (FPIC) to destabilise property rights, undermine the rule of law and stymie economic growth in nations such as Uganda.
Mr Oxley said that the Greens’ actions were effectively blocking sustainable development.
“Groups such as Friends of the Earth have attempted to blame Uganda’s agriculture sector for deforestation and disputes over indigenous land across Uganda. This report shows that the situation on the ground is much more complicated and there are myriad forces at work,” said Mr Oxley. “It shows that Greens have distorted these indigenous claims for their own agenda and made unproven allegations against firms that are leading agriculture and forestry initiatives in Uganda.”
“Free, prior and informed consent was originally developed by a coalition of indigenous groups to have customary laws and property rights respected,” said Mr Oxley. “It was developed to ensure that large-scale development projects consulted indigenous peoples appropriately.”
“Groups such as Greenpeace and WWF have distorted that concept. They want it to apply to all communities, regardless of whether they are indigenous or not. They want FPIC to act as a veto right for anyone who objects to a development project, whether it’s for food security, water security or resource use.”
“The Greenpeace and WWF approach will undermine sustainable development. Rather than increasing secure tenure, it will undermine property rights and land tenure in developing countries. This report shows that poor property rights lead to greater levels of environmental degradation, poor economic outcomes and greater levels of social conflict.”
“The actions of groups like Greenpeace and WWF will likely undermine the gains made by indigenous communities in gaining recognition for their customary rights. There appears to be a pattern of large NGOs such as WWF ignoring local outcomes in Africa – we have seen this most recently in Tanzania.”
“Even worse, these actions will chill private sector investment in productive industries that increase food security and drive exports such as the Ugandan forestry and agricultural sectors.”
“Recent economic data has suggested a slowdown in countries such as Uganda. Many governments are on their knees financially and the global economy is facing headwinds. Africa needs greater investment from the private sector – not less.”
Read the report here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/97171664