The workshop organized at the World Social Forum on “Displacement and Forest Communities” (1) enabled participants to better understand the essential injustice of the prevailing approach to forest conservation and at the same time to realize that it is incapable of conserving forests. The world is deeply concerned about deforestation, particularly in the tropics. However, forest loss is directly linked to a development model based on the exploitation of the resources contained in forest areas: wood, minerals, oil, hydroenergy, soils for tree plantations and other profitable monocultures. The end result is not development but deforestation and forest degradation leading to loss of livelihoods, impoverishment and displacement of communities dependent on forests.
Bulletin Issue 78 - January 2004
The World Social Forum
The focus of this issue: The World Social ForumThe World Social Forum has become a global stage around which a plurality and diversity of visions and interests gather with the common objective of creating the conditions for "another possible world". WRM has been participating in this process from the start, and once again has taken active part in the IVth WSF held in Mumbai, India. This issue is entirely dedicated to the activities carried out by forest-related organizations to highlight the social aspect of the forests as a means of livelihood for forest and forest-dependant people, as well as the social impacts of their destruction and degradation.
FORESTS AT THE WORLD SOCIAL FORUM
13 January 2004A workshop on global environmental politics (1) brought up a number of issues and actors of relevance to forests and forest peoples: protected areas, climate change, biodiversity, the World Bank. The different “solutions” to global environmental problems (deforestation, biodiversity loss, climate change) were contextualized as part of the approach of appropriation of nature for profit, carried out through agencies such as the World Bank, the IMF and the FAO and through entirely new mechanisms supposedly created to protect the environment.
13 January 2004The forest issue was also present at one of the conferences of the World Social Forum, under the broader issue of “Development Induced Displacement. Perspectives and Strategies.” (1) All speakers stressed the relationship between so-called development and displacement -forced and “voluntary”- of local people affected by “development” projects. Logging, dams, plantations, mining, protected areas, tourism, had a common result: the appropriation of local communities’ lands and resources and the displacement of millions of people affected by those projects.
13 January 2004Industrial tree plantations have a long history of negative social and environmental impacts. It was therefore felt that there was a clear need to raise the issue in a specific workshop at the World Social Forum. Participants shared their experiences from a broad range of countries. The meeting began with an overview of the plantation problem and the confusion generated by the use of false definitions such as that of “planted forests”. Participants agreed that monoculture tree plantations have nothing in common with forests, except for the fact that trees exist in both. Plantations do not play any of the roles that forests play regarding ecosystem functioning and, on the contrary, impact negatively on water, soils, flora, fauna and people.
ABOUT THE WORLD SOCIAL FORUM
13 January 2004In January 1998, and coinciding with the annual meeting of the Davos World Economic Forum --the small luxury skiing station in Switzerland that gives its name to this event-- 192 organizations from 54 countries, united in the Global Peoples’ Action, launched a “Declaration against the Globalisers of Misery.”
13 January 2004Deforestation is commonly perceived as an environmental issue, resulting in biodiversity loss and in impacts on water and soil resources. That is, however, only part of the problem. Forests are in fact inhabited by millions of people, whose livelihoods depend on the resources provided by them: food, wood, fuel, medicines, fibres, fodder, etc. Forest conservation is therefore crucial for providing to the survival needs of all those millions of people –in India alone estimated in some 150 million.