Message against environmental services
Experts working for global companies have skillfully served those paying them. They managed to sell nature itself through what is called environmental services. Selling oxygen and carbon pits became usual expressions. Hundreds of civil servants, experts, certification companies, national and international environmental NGO, UN bodies, cooperation agencies, private and multilateral banks, traders and entrepreneurs try to get a share of this new market valued in billions of dollars. They buy and sell biological diversity, traditional knowledge, conservation of water resources an anything else they can for power and money.
The issue is that most of these “commodities” (services provided by the forest) do not belong to any of them: they belong to the people living in the forest. But this does not stop buyers nor sellers of “environmental services” who can use two ways to get the goods belonging to others. Big companies wrongly called ecologist NGO, for example the Nature Conservancy and Conservation International, get rights on those territories, by buying lands or by managing so called conservation project and expel local populations (generally indigenous or traditional communities). They become the owner of “services” they quickly sell on the international market.
The second way is to obtain, through a contract with representatives of local communities, the use of the forest and so of “services” she provides. Those contracts usually signed in a fraudulous manner with population ignoring their real consequences, grant to buyers unlimited rights on part or all “services” rendered by the forest. Through this faulty process, populations loose for a few dollars their sovereignty on the forests, whose management is transferred to buyers and sellers of “environmental services”.
Nevertheless, these two ways of abusing local populations are growingly contested by the local communities who try to defend their rights as illustrated in the below example.
A meeting organized in Ecuador about “environmental services: nature as a commodity” was held in Puyo (Ecuador) the 19th and 20th of May, and attended by representatives of all indigenous minorities of the country, traditional populations, national and international NGO. Participants participated to a documented debate. The issue of environmental services was analyzed from a local and global standpoint and were exposed cases of fraudulous contracts imposed to communities. After having examined all the aspects of the issue, participants have determined unanimously:
[...] " Void, contracts, conventions and projects selling environmental services".
This declaration (http://www.wrm.org.uy/paises/Ecuador/Puyo.html) states a number of other items :
This declaration is an important message addressed by the Amazonas to the world, since it alerts against danger of “environmental services” and denounce those who pretend through these environmental services taking ownership of the native and traditional communities.
We oppose to burglary, the sovereignty and rights of the peoples considering nature is not a commodity and can not be sold. It is as simple as deep as that.
WORLD RAINFOREST MOVEMENT
Maldonado 1858, Montevideo, Uruguay
Site internet: http://www.wrm.org.uy