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


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Message 40

Subject: Message 40 - Intervention by Brian Lewis Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2001 10:40:38 +0100 From: RIO10-Moderator To: "''" Dear Colleagues: Responding to the most recent two questions posed by the moderators, questions 3 and 4, I wish to propose one more direction for our mutual consideration. This issue is land tenure, land use, land and its future. Returning for a moment to the macro-question of worldwide sustainable development, is not the "root" question one of empowerment of the people? It appears so to this participant. What is needed to realize the wealth of opportunity are agreed ways to address the challenges and opportunities. These need to be widely shared, yet present a common understanding of belief patterns and practices both for the leadership and also the people. I wish to share some of the ancient, more than 25 centuries in the old, thoughts and perspectives on this last question raised. One of the foundations on which the government of laws is erected is 'among the people there is a regulated livelihood.' What is called the people's regulated livelihood? In animal husbandry and horticulture, special care must be paid to the seasonal requirements. In growing the cereal grains effort must be devoted to plowing, cultivating, and weeding. Plenty of deficiency can be the issue determining whether the government will be stable or shaky. There are tow major reasons for this: One is the psychological reason; the other is the material reason. 'For the people must obtain those things which they want, and after that they will be heedful of their superiors; after they have become heedful of their superiors, governing can be well carried out.' Moreover: 'When the people are prosperous, they will be content with their rural communities and value highly their homes'. Satisfied with their communities and valuing their homes will make them respect superiors and be fearful of committing crimes. When they are respectful toward superiors and fearful of committing crimes, they are easy to govern. When people are poor, they create uneasy conditions in the countryside and show scant concern for their homes. When the countryside is uneasy and people are not concerned about their homes, they will dare to disrespect superiors and violate the laws. When they disrespect superiors and violate the laws, they are difficult to govern. Thus it is that well-ordered states are always prosperous while disorderly states are always poor. Therefore those skilled in ruling will first enrich the people. The principal devices for stimulating agriculture do not go beyond simply assuring farmers all convenience in pursuing agricultural tasks, and encouraging them to engage in agriculture as the basic activity and to refrain from pursuing the superficial activities. Therefore, the former kings provided farmers, scholars, merchants, and craftsmen, the four categories of people, exchanged skills and traded the products of their work, so that the profits of their year-long labors did not allow any one (of the four categories) to gain unfair advantage over the others. Thereby the people's labors were combined and hey gained equitable benefits from it. To achieve these ends, six policies were at that ancient time formulated. What are the six policies? Clear lands for cultivation, give aid in building homes, improve horticulture, exhort officers and people, encourage diligence in farming, repair wells and houses; this is called enriching the people's livelihood. Develop unused sources of wealth, transport stored accumulations, repair roads and paths, make customs stations and markets function more conveniently, extend care to the startings and stoppings (of goods in transit); this is called circulating the people's wealth. Canalize the flooding streams, repair ponds and ditches, cut channels into backwaters, dredge out silted riverbeds, open up blocked waters, give care to crossings and bridges; this is called bestowing benefits on the people. Lesson the imposts, lighten tax levies, relax punishments and penalties, grant amnesties for criminals, remit minor infractions; this is called liberalizing government measures. Provide support for the aged, care for the young and orphaned, and give aid to the bereaved and widowed, investigate illnesses, and commemorate the victims of disasters; this is called assisting the people in distress. Clothe the cold, feed the starving, aid the impoverished, relieve victims of emergency, and support material needs where resources are exhausted; this is called giving relief to the impoverished. Elements comprising the governing of the former wise kings were: one, to acknowledge heaven; two, to make one's person upright; three, to employ the worthy; four, to feel concern for the people; five, to make the institutes of government clearly manifest; and six, to engender accomplishment. At that time there was also consideration for the practical aspects of governance and society. The methods to achieve good government are first to banish the four afflictions, then to uphold the five administrative tasks. The first of the former is falsity, the second is selfishness, the third is self-indulgence, and the fourth is extravagance. Falsity throws the people's customs into disorder. Selfishness wreaks damage on the laws. Self-indulgence leads to transgressing the proprieties. Extravagance destroys the institutions...When people's customs are in disorder, morality will be abandoned...When the laws suffer damage, then the times face decline...When the proprieties are transgressed then the rites are lost...When the institutions are destroyed, then the desires will have full license...These are called the four afflictions. To promote agriculture and sericulture in order to nourish their (the people's) lives; to investigate the good and the bad in order to make their customs upright; to disseminate cultivation and instruction in order to encourage their moral transformation; to erect military preparations in order to hold up the sovereigns majesty; to make rewards and penalties clear and precise so as to provide control over the laws; these are called the five administrative tasks." (Writer drawing from ancient Chinese historical records and analysis.) I find it pertinent to our thoughts, discussions, and planning to seek out in history examples of thought and practice, which provided for the improvement of the people and of society. In ancient times, unlike today, there was no industrial revolution creating both wealth and havoc; no communications revolution providing access and connection with the wisdom of the world. In those ancient times there was a practical need to solve problems, to improve the life of the people, to promote social and environmental welfare. Are those distant times so different from our time today? Let us work hard and determinedly to address the problems and issues we face so that our future generations will realize the wisdom of those of us in these generations. The efforts represented through the involvement of all persons and institutions in this electronic forum and the resulting recommendations and programs presents reason for hope to identify and implement solutions for the problems we address. Brian Lewis, The REED Program

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