Integrated Planning and Management of Land ResourcesFAOCSDUNEP
World Summit on Sustainable Development, South Africa 2002


Introduction | Purpose | E-Conference Organizers
Questions and Issues | Working Documents | Record of Contributions
Register Here

Welcome to the E-Conference

Looking Forward to Rio+10: Reporting Progress on Land and Agriculture

Record of Contributions

Message 27

        Message 27 - Comment of Ryan Curtis on Intervention by Brian Lewi s, Reply to Questions 3 and 4
        (Message 23)
        Thu, 15 Mar 2001 18:29:00 +0100

Mr. Lewis wrote: "The challenge, to my mind, is rather simple.  We must
establish a way in which we include people, all people, their ideas, their
beliefs, their experience and history.  This "inclusion" requires, indeed it
demands, that we honestly and whole-heartedly seek to enrich and develop all
peoples and societies capacities to care and to recognize the need to work
on the problems and issues for which we collectively must find solutions."

The problem that I foresee is one of economics and the distribution of both
resources and wealth (in financial terms).  Currently the vast majority of
the earth's resources are controlled and consumed by the minority ... in
order for the 'developing' (a misnomer if ever there was one) countries to
have an increase in their standard of living (not to be confused with
quality of life - the two are quite seperate) then the resources *must* be
returned to their control.  In my opinion this will never happen.  Citizens
of affluent countries will never willingly give up their 'luxuries' in order
that citizens of other countries can satisfy their basic needs for survival.
The governments of affluent countries will never willingly carry out any
actions which will realistically infringe upon the standard of living of the
voting population of their respective countries.  The countries of asia, and
africa and latin america (for instance), in order to develop economically,
will have to take control of its own natural resources - oil, gas, precious
metals, minerals and water - and in my honest opinion, the existing vested
interests will not permit that to occur - and will use military
interventions where necessary to ensure that it does not.

My own organisation, GAIA-The Foundation for Sustainable Development, confines the vast majority of its operations and
activities to SD in the industrially developed countries.  Until we can
implement sustainable development in Europe, and North America - which is
where the vast majority of damage is being done - then our efforts to
improve the livelihoods of those in poorer countries will be limited to
tinkering and political window dressing.  We have to show the citizens of
the west that sustainability begins at home.

In terms of Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development in our own
backyards we must begin to seriously implement programmes that promote
organic farming, Permaculture, agro-forestry .... free-range non-intensive
animal husbandry, renewable energy, appropriate technology.  All of the
research has already been done, over the last 30 years pretty much all of
the solutions have been devised and tested - what is holding back
implementation of sustainable agriculture is the lack of political will, and
the surplus of consumer ignorance and apathy. If we are not willing to pay
sensible prices for good quality food, a price that allows a decent standard
of living, and a decent quality of life, for those whose occupation is food
production - then we will end up with unsustainable agriculture by default.

News and Events
Background Documents
Compendium of Success Stories
Associated Links
FAO Activities and Consultation