Written Answers. - Tropical Forest Conservation.

Alan Shatter


158 Mr. Shatter asked the Minister for the Environment if he will ask the EC to draw up proposals to counter the deforestation, initiated with initial EC funding, of the Carajas iron ore project in Brazil in co-ordination with environmental and indigenous human rights groups.

Eamon Gilmore


159 Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for the Environment if he will propose to the Environmental Council of Ministers that the European Commission (a) establish a tropical forest conservation unit to develop guidelines for development aid projects and to plan strategies for EC and member state activities and (b) establish a tropical forest fund of ECU 500 million to help timber producing countries implement sustainable tropical forest management and conservation.

I propose to take Questions Nos. 158 and 159 together.

To the extent that these questions are concerned with the disposition of development aid, they are a matter for the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

The EC Council of Development Ministers, under the Irish Presidency, adopted a resolution entitled "Tropical Forests: development aspects" at its meeting on 29 May 1990. This resolution recognised the need for a worldwide co-ordinated strategy for tropical forest resources and endorsed a number of principles and activities. It welcomed the increased priority given to tropical forestry in the Lomé IV Convention, indicated that greater emphasis must be placed on conservation of tropical forests and underlined that the success of the strategy requires increased attention of forestry aid policies in both donor and developing countries. Finally, the Resolution urged the Commission and member states to monitor and assess the implementation of the strategy and to report progress to a future Council.
The Declaration on the Environment adopted by the European Council in June expressed concern about the destruction of tropical forests and called on the Commission to open discussions with Brazil and the other Amazonian Pact countries with a view to developing a concrete action programme including the Community, its member states and these countries. Elements for priority consideration are to include debt for forest conservation exchanges; codes of conduct for timber importing industries and the additional resources necessary to enable the forests to be preserved and managed on a sustainable basis, making optimal use of existing agencies and mechanisms.