Texto retirado do site da Liberal-International (www.liberal-international.org) acerca da posição, do Liberalismo a nível mundial, acerca do Ambiente.

Liberal International Congress 1990, Finland

I. The Liberal Commitment to the Environment
This Congress recalls the long standing engagement of liberal forces the world over in the field of promoting ecologically sustainable development.

In particular it recalls :

- the Liberal Declaration of Oxford (1967), where it was stated that "the community has a special responsibility to protect natural resources from indiscriminate development, either by public or private interests";

- the Liberal Appeal of 1981, where a strong warning was issued about "the deterioration in the 'terms of exchange' between man and nature due to the increasing pressure of population and its demands";

- the call - made in the same Appeal - for "massive energy conservation and the development of renewable and ecologically safe energy resources";

- the plea - also issued in the Appeal of 1981 - for "a more just distribution of wealth" between North and South, which requires that "the industrialised societies drastically reduce their waste of raw materials and non-renewable energy resources";

- the resolution passed by the 1984 congress concerning transnational air pollution, where all governments were urged "to take active steps to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions from industry and power stations";

- the resolution issued at the 1986 Congress, where the proposal of the "development and implementation of a worldwide environmental policy", based on the principles of prevention, liability and cooperation was made and where "to instill as accepted thinking that ecology and economy are not contradictory" was formulated as one of the main objectives of such a policy;

- the resolution adopted at the 1987 Congress backing the recommendations of the World Commission on Environment and Development;

- the resolutions accepted by the 1988 Congress on toxic waste and acid rain, the latter calling for accelerated efforts "to arrive at a strong international protocol to reduce pollution by oxides of nitrogen";

- the resolution passed by the 1989 Congress stressing international environmental cooperation and demanding special attention to ecological issues in the CSCE process as well as in development cooperation.

Fortunately, there is a growing awareness now among the world population and their political leaders that for the long-term safeguarding of our planet and the maintenance of its ecological balance, joint effort and action is necessary.

While striving to preserve the global environment, it is important to work at the same time to ensure stable development of the world economy, in line with the concept of sustainable development. All countries, especially industrialised countries, should recognise the need to make their socio-economic activities and life-styles environmentally sound.

II. Liberal Principles Regarding Mankind's Relationship with Nature
This Congress reiterates that from a liberal point of view the complex relationship between mankind and nature must be viewed as a stewardship. Mankind has a moral responsibility to use common sense and creativity to preserve and enhance good living conditions for all living things. Liberals reject laissez-faire exploitaation of nature and, bearing in mind that man alone can take responsibility for the future of our planet, reject the view of those who put equal value on the lives of human beings and other living things.

No generation has a freehold on this earth. The protection of the environment is of the same order as the protection of human rights. Infringements should be seen as a violation of individual and communal rights.

It is the responsibility of both citizens and enterprises to avoid and prevent unacceptable and irreparable damage inflicted upon the environment. Unloading present environmental problems on future generations is irreconcilable with the liberal principle of accepting one's own responsibility.

This congress states that liberal environmental policy starts from the premise that it is a fundamental right to have clean air, soil, water and a quiet environment. Furthermore, liberals emphasise the significance of undisturbed natural environments and diverse flora and fauna. This intricately links environmental issues with questions of justice and distribution of wealth. This is particularly evident with regard to those parts of the world which do not have a single owner, such as the seas, rain forests, air etc.

The issue of environmental protection is not something that only the rich countries can afford to worry about. If nature turns malevolent, poor countries have in fact much more to lose than the rich. This fact implies an interdependence of environmental policies with development strategies.

This Congress endorses the definition of sustainable development given by the United Nations' World Commission on Environment and Development, namely "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs".

III. The Main International Issues for a Liberal Policy on the Environment
This Congress states that a large and growing number of ecological problems know neither political nor geographical borders. In fact the protection of the environment has become a global issue and, therefore, must - like peace and disarmament - figure amongst the highest priorities of international cooperation. No summit whether on a bilateral or multilateral level should be held without environmental issues being high on the agenda.

Three challenges stand out in the field of international environmental cooperation :

- the environment and North-South relations;

- the environment and the profound changes in the formerly communist world;

- global environmental dangers.

Within the framework of North-South cooperation urgent solutions are required for :

- the problems of large and ever-increasing populations;

- poverty as a cause of environmental damage;

- the problems of habitat destruction in the tropics and the consequent extinction of animal and plant species;

- environmental destruction caused by rapid industrialisation and growth of demand in the South;

- the continuing inequity in the consumption of raw materials and non-renewable energy sources between North and South.

Concerning the formerly communist countries the main challenges are :

- the massive environmental destruction perpetrated;

- the huge pent up demands for matching Western standards of living;

- the introduction of an ecologically sustainable market economy.

On the global level several environmental problems are emerging as a threat to our survival. While it is essential that research facilities are strengthened, action in such areas as global warming or the destruction of the ozone layer must not be further delayed with the argument that scientific data is incomplete. In fact one has to remember that in environmental protection, prevention is generally several times cheaper than cleaning up pollution afterwards.

In order to solve each environmental problem the most suitable organisation and the most effective approach should be chosen in every instance.

For global problems, such as global man-made emissions of greenhouse gases and the depletion of the ozone layer, the United Nations are the best instrument. This Congress feels that there should be established a UN Council for the Environment, with a status and authority similar to that of the Security Council. A new article on the subject will then have to be added to the Charter of the UN.

A non-governmental organisation for monitoring purposes, comparable to the much-respected Amnesty International structure, should be set up, as individuals and governments may be slow to recognise their responsibilities and respond to the global requirements.

IV. Proposals for Action

Population growth and the increasing use of energy are the two principal developments which will cause environmental problems in the near future, in case of unaltered policy.

Population growth implies:

- increased use of space and natural resources at the expense of nature and environment (inter alia erosion);

- increased food production to meet basic needs, resulting in growing use of pesticides and fertilisers affecting the quality of soil and ground water;

- increased use of energy.

The growing use of energy is a contributory cause of:

- the greenhouse effect (CO2 gases);

- acid rain (forests);

- climate change.

Therefore fundamental decisions have to be taken in these two areas in order to avert imminent threats to the environment.

This Congress appeals to national governments, regional organisations, international bodies and, in particular, to the members of the Liberal International to work for the speedy realisation of the following proposals for action:

The tailoring of economic policies in the industrialised and in the developing countries in accordance with sustainable development

This requires first and foremost the recognition of the fact that renewable resources must be exploited in ways that allow them to maintain their productive capacity and protective function. The stock of non-renewable resources will of course decrease when exploited, but market economy and scientific development can meet problems of shortages by promoting new technologies, recycling and conservation. Sustainable development does not mean zero economic growth. It represents growth within the bounds set by the need to maintain the environmental capital, it means changing the signals given to economic decision makers.

Changing these signals means changing prices and using the market. The state controls should be restricted to the setting of maximum total levels of pollution, whereas the market forces should be given every opportunity to employ the economically most effective technology to produce goods and services in an ecologically sustainable manner. To achieve this it is necessary to ensure that prices reflect the true value of the environmental assets used up or damaged in the production of goods and services. Environmental fees and taxes - such as for example a tax on the use of non-renewable and/or polluting energy - should be collected according to the principle that the polluter pays. These environmental taxes must not, however, be imposed in a way that unduly burdens individuals with limited income. Care should be taken that the total tax burden is not increased unnecessarily, and that such taxes and fees are raised within a framework of international coordination so that no advantage is given to countries that offer deliberately low levels of taxation and environmental protection. Revenue from environmental taxation should initially be used for activities in the field of environmental protection and, in the long run, to alleviate other forms of taxation. The role of regional economic associations, such as the European Community, in creating effective international schemes of environmental taxation needs to be emphasised in order to avoid distortion of economic competition between nations and corporations.

Furthermore, the goal of sustainable development can only be achieved through a fundamental reform of governmental policies on subsidies. Subsidies and price controls artificially influence prices, giving the illusion that some things are in plentiful supply when they are not. Throughout the world water is wasted because it is too cheap and farmers both in the industrialised and in the developing countries are encouraged to use an excess of environmentally damaging pesticides and fertilisers. The further development of agriculture must be a sustainable one. Price support also takes away the incentive to pursue mixed farming and instead encourages monocultures. An environment-sensitive agricultural policy makes due allowance for the distinctive features of agricultural production to create a tax system that is adapted to its special requirements. Consumers have to accept the fact that ecologically-grown food will cost more.

The effective reduction of the unsustainably high rate of population growth

This requires that in the field of development assistance much more money is made available for measures in the areas of population control and family planning. Such measures must cover a wide field of initiatives, from assisting developing countries in setting up social security systems to development strategies aimed at improving the status and education of women.

It further requires that governments make family planning a mandatory component of their basic health programmes. Family planning measures in order to be successful must be implemented within a democratic framework and must be voluntary.

It finally requires that leaders of religious and social institutions influence their followers to adopt and implement family planning and at the same time promote the emancipation of women.

All nations are to commit themselves to follow the resolutions on population issues adopted at the Population Forum in Amsterdam, 1989.

The linking of development aid programmes with environmental protection

This requires that environmental protection be included, from the planning stage onwards, in all development aid programmes and that multi as well as bilateral donors dedicate an increasing part of their development aid budgets to activities connected with the protection of the environment and the biological diversity.

It furthermore requires that governments in developing countries extend the rights of local communities to own, utilise and protect natural resources and to take part in decisions regarding their own environment. This is of particular importance with regard to prevention of deforestation and renewal of tree cover. Massive investments in agroforestry and afforestation (which must be part of internationally sponsored development programmes) can only be implemented in a meaningful way, if they are integrated with basic services such as water supply, waste disposal, food production and health care.

It also requires an innovative approach towards the partial cancellation of foreign debt in exchange for conservation measures by the debtor government.

The up-grading of environmental issues on the political agenda of global and regional cooperation

In order to achieve the goals of sustainable development, the United Nations Charter should be revised to include the environmental aspects and provide the world organisation with the means to implement the environmental protection measures necessary for achieving these goals.

The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) should be given a strengthened authority in its field of action, and the budget of the organisation should be increased significantly.

This requires first and foremost that within existing and evolving frameworks of regional cooperation such as the EC and ASEAN, the common standards of environmental policies must be based on the most progressive legislation amongst the community members and not on the lowest common denominator. Differences of intensity with which environmental policy is pursued should be considered also in the GATT talks.

In the special case of East and Central Europe it requires the granting of long-term loans and technical support in order to reduce pollution and to promote environmentally sounder production processes. The finances needed for this should not be taken from aid budgets for developing countries.

Where regional cooperation is still in its infancy such as in Central and South America, in Africa and South Asia, environmental issues can serve as a useful and important platform for promoting and concretising regional cooperation. This is of particular importance in regions where political and military tensions prevent even the most elementary aspects of cooperation such as in the Middle East and in certain parts of Africa.

The accelerated implementation of policies for the protection of the global climate

On a global level the most pressing challenge is the protection of the world's climate. This is both a technological and a political challenge. While the rich countries got richer they polluted freely and exploited those resources that they now want low-income countries to conserve. Clearly the future increase in greenhouse gases will come mainly from the developing world. Of the approximately 3.5 billion people currently living in developing countries, some 2 billion are still dependent on traditional sources of energy such as firewood, charcoal as well as plant or animal remains. The diminishing size of the forest reserves in these countries contrasts with a growth in energy needs.

This requires that both in the developing and the industrialised countries renewable energy sources be given higher priority, and that the latter should invest seriously in the research and implementation of appropriate technologies which then should be shared with the developing countries.

This requires further that governments in the industrialised countries agree as soon as possible to reduce their consumption of fossil energy significantly, setting as a target the freezing of carbon dioxide emissions at the present level to the year 2000 and further reductions in the next decades. In the field of electricity, energy-saving and improved efficiency is the most cost-effective way of slowing down global warming. It is not possible to achieve the 50% reduction in energy consumption by the year 2010, as anticipated by the Brundtland Commission by building more nuclear power plants. The key long-term objective should be to base energy production on renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind and water power, and to multiply resources to extend research of these forms of energy. Complementary to this, the global community should seek to increase the volume of biomass-binding organic carbon, which implies that forest regeneration and planting should be given top priority in global development programmes.

This Congress firmly believes that, within one generation, two essential goals must be achieved:

1 all working methods and procedures to be based on the principle of sustainable development in industrialised and developing countries;

2 existing pollution to be cleaned up to the extent that it will be under control in order not to have adverse effects on future generations.

Last but not least: the quality of the environment does not affect only the globe, nature, the climate, natural resources, future generations. The health of human beings, living today, is at stake as well. On December 7th and 8th 1989, at Frankfurt-am-Main, the Ministers of the Environment and of Health of the member States of the European Region of the World Health Organisation met together for the first time and adopted the European Charter on Environment and Health and agreed upon the principles and strategies laid down therein as a firm commitment to action. The LI Congress calls upon all governments, when deciding upon policy affecting the environment, to take into account the dependence of human health on a wide range of crucial environmental factors and to pay attention to the vital importance of preventing health hazards by protecting the environment.

The Ministerial Conference on Atmospheric Pollution and Climatic Change held in Noordwijk, The Netherlands, in November 1989 produced the Noordwijk Declaration, a unique document which is very valuable. The issues will be further elaborated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climatic Change and by the Second World Climate Conference in Geneva, in November 1990.

Pessoas colectivas

Migas on Quinta, 29/03/2007 - 10:51

Caro André,

O Liberalismo não é uma pessoa colectiva é uma corrente de pensamento onde convivem várias sub-correntes nem sempre de acordo sobre questões específicas. Já a Liberal International é efectivamente uma pessoa colectiva. Logo, as posições oficiais da última vinculam-na apenas a ela e não à corrente de pensamento, que por definição não tem uma posição única a "nível mundial". Imagino que mesmo dentro da Liberal International existirão interpretações diferentes das suas posições por parte dos partidos membros.


JLP on Quinta, 29/03/2007 - 01:59

Caro André Escórcio:

Não sei se sabe, mas existem uma "coisas" chamadas links que evitam que se preencha metade da página de entrada de um site com texto copiado e colado disponível num URL referenciável.


Optei por colocar o texto

André Escórcio ... on Quinta, 29/03/2007 - 12:24

Optei por colocar o texto para facilitar a leitura, para que as pessoas não tenham de ir para outra página, no entanto está devidamente referenciada.

  • As linhas e os parágrafos quebram automaticamente

Mais informação sobre as opções de formatação