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Prévia do material em texto

Pergamon 
World Development Vol. 26, No. 8, pp. 1481-1493, 1998 
0 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd 
All rights reserved. Printed in Great Britain 
0305-750X/98 $19.00+0.00 
PII: SO305750X(98)00062-X 
From Conflict to Cooperation: International Policies 
to Protect the Brazilian Amazon 
ANS KOLK* 
University of Amsterdam, Institute for Environmental Management, The Netherlands 
Summary. - When environmental degradation in a particular country has international 
consequences, a dilemma arises: how to find effective policies which address the causes and take 
domestic sensitivities into account? This article analyzes the Brazilian Amazon, where 
international concern over deforestation led to accusations of hypocrisy, infringement of 
sovereignty and impeding development. By cautiously building coalitions and by offering 
favorable conditions, donors contributed to changing conflict into cooperation. The Pilot 
Program for the Brazilian rainforest has not ended all controversies because international 
influence is legitimized. The case of the Brazilian Amazon has wider relevance: it sheds light on 
the limits and possibilities of international environmental cooperation, and shows how an 
international coalition against deforestation emerged. 0 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights 
reserved. 
Key words - international environmental cooperation, political economy, World Bank, NGOs, 
forest policy, Brazil 
1. INTRODUCTION: THE 
INTERNATIONAL CONTEXT 
Environmental policy has an inherent conflict 
potential, especially in case of so-called win-lose 
situations. But even with “win-win” options, 
crucial issues are whose environment is at stake, 
and who will receive what, at what price and 
why. Therefore, environmental policy involves 
interests other than just the environment: the 
distribution of costs and benefits, both nationally 
and internationally. 
At the international level, concern over 
environmental problems in developing countries 
gave rise to a revival of the North-South 
conflict; pre-existing controversies on trade 
versus aid, state versus market and the question 
of development came to the fore again. Tropical 
deforestation became the focal point of inter- 
national concern and a highly controversial issue, 
as developing countries strongly resented this 
kind of intervention. They expressed fears that 
the environment was simply being used as a 
pretext by the North to prevent the South from 
“developing” and to infringe on national 
sovereignty. 
At the same time, however, the environment 
has turned out to be a potential source of power 
as well, a vehicle for bringing demands for the 
restructuring of international economic relations 
into the negotiations. Especially during the 1992 
United Nations Conference on Environment and 
Development (UNCED), developing countries 
took a firm bargaining position: environmental 
concessions would only be made in exchange for 
Northern commitments to transfer technology 
and resources, to increase access to Northern 
markets, to reduce the debt burden, and to 
regulate multinational corporations in the areas 
of safety and the environment (South Centre, 
1991). Throughout the negotiations, Southern 
countries refused to accept binding agreements; 
they even feared that nonbinding declarations 
would be used as an additional conditionality by 
international financial institutions. Although the 
South succeeded in avoiding unwanted environ- 
mental regulatory agreements, no major conces- 
sions were obtained from the North on economic 
reforms, trade, debt, transfer of technology or 
*I would like to thank all the representatives of inter- 
national organizations, NGOs, and of the Brazilian 
government whom I interviewed in the course of this 
research project. I am grateful to Alex FernAndez 
Jilberto and the referees for their suggestions. Final 
revision accepted: March 2, 1998. 
1481 
1482 WORLD DEVELOPMENT 
financial resources. This also appeared at the 
Rio+5 meeting, where the achievements five 
years after UNCED were evaluated. Only the 
Global Environment Facility and the Pilot 
Program to conserve the Brazilian rainforest can 
be cited as examples of international cooperation 
and transfer of resources. 
The case of the Brazilian Amazon has been 
marked by similar conflicts about development 
and sovereignty. International attention focused 
on this region, and on the role of the Brazilian 
government and the World Bank, which funded 
large development projects in the Amazon in the 
1980s. Campaigns by international and Brazilian 
nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) raised 
knowledge of and concern over deforestation 
and the fate of the local population. This had 
substantial domestic repercussions: it built on a 
long-standing sensitivity with respect to the 
Amazon and existing accusations about attempts 
to “internationalize” the region. Brazilian 
support for policy changes was required, 
however, especially because the causes of defor- 
estation were primarily national in character, and 
the result of the development model adopted in 
the 1960s. Effective measures to reverse this 
trend, therefore, implied harm to vested inter- 
ests, to those groups which had profited from 
deforestation. 
Hence, environmental policy deals with inter- 
national and national distributive issues. These 
levels are interrelated, as the international 
integration of the Brazilian economy, inter- 
governmental cooperation and the emergence of 
alliances with environmental, developmental and 
indigenous groups demonstrates. In the past 
decade, pivotal international organizations, 
NGOs, companies and states have shown con- 
siderable interest in the Brazilian Amazon. This 
article examines the international attention for 
the Amazon, its consequences within Brazil and 
the resulting policy changes of the Brazil govern- 
ment, the World Bank and donor countries, of 
which the Pilot Program to conserve the 
Brazilian rainforest is a clear example.’ The 
analysis shows how environmental problems are 
embedded in political economy, how political 
and economic pressure can bring about changes 
in environmental policy, and how international 
cooperation may change ideas about sovereignty. 
The case has broader relevance than the 
Brazilian Amazon: lessons can be learned about 
the limits and possibilities of international 
environmental cooperation. The significance for 
other regions can, however, only be grasped by 
an in-depth analysis of the developments in 
Brazil. 
2. INTERNATIONAL CONCERN OVER 
THE AMAZON 
The 1987 fires in the Brazilian Amazon caused 
much international concern. The Brazilian 
National Space Research Institute INPE 
reported alarming deforestation figures, which 
surpassed those of preceding years. The images 
of burning rainforests, spread by global media 
coverage, including a number of captivating 
documentaries, were important in mobilizing 
international public opinion; the fires in 
Indonesia one decade later had a comparable 
effect. 
In the case of Brazil, attention focused on the 
destruction of the largest remaining rainforest, 
which covers approximately one-third of the total 
rainforest area in the world, on the unparalleled 
biodiversity of this unique ecosystem, and on the 
fate of the local population. In addition, defor- 
estation was associated with the threat of global 
warming, which scientists started to warn about 
in this period; this coincided with a warm 
summer in various Western countries. Although 
the trend and consequences of deforestation 
were not as obvious as assumed, convictions had 
become firmly rooted. 
International concern over the inhabitants of 
the rainforest increased with knowledge of the 
difficult situation of the “victims”, especially 
Indians and rubber tappers. Due to international 
media attention, the rubber tapper Chico 
Mendes symbolized the struggle against deforest- 
ation. It reinforced feelings of international 
solidarity which had emerged earlier inthat 
decade, In 1983, US environmental NGOs initi- 
ated an international campaign against the multi- 
lateral development banks (MDBs). By showing 
the negative environmental and social effects of 
MDB project lending, public awareness and 
suspicion spiralled. The environmental destruc- 
tion caused by two projects in the Amazon, 
which were partly financed by the World Bank, 
became the focus of an international coalition of 
Northern and Southern NGOs.’ 
Attention focused primarily on Polonoroeste, 
a large colonization and infrastructure project, 
but also on Grande Carajas, which aimed at the 
construction of transport infrastructure and 
mining facilities to exploit large mineral reserves 
in the southeastern Amazon. Both projects had 
provisions for the protection of the environment 
and the Indian population, but their implementa- 
tion was problematic. NGO accusations were 
confirmed by internal World Bank evaluations 
(OED, 1991a; Redwood III, 1993). Unforeseen 
and uncontrollable factors also played a role, 
FROM CONFLICT TO COOPERATION 1483 
especially the economic recession, and the 
decisions of state governors to build roads, 
attract migrants and set up colonization projects 
in ecologically fragile areas (see Section 3 
below). 
Warnings by World Bank consultants and staff 
members about the project risks were repeatedly 
disregarded. Bank loans played an important 
role in assuring and attracting other international 
lenders, in a period in which the Brazilian 
government struggled with a huge foreign debt 
and balance-of-payments difficulties. Optimistic 
estimates about the future iron ore prices 
resulted, in the case of Carajas, to the required 
economic rate of return and to approval by the 
World Bank’s Board of Directors (OED, 1991b). 
Others donors, including the European 
Community and Japan, followed suit. By its 
support for large-scale projects, the World Bank 
could disburse substantial amounts at once. 
Polonoroeste and Carajas had a significant share 
in new Bank lending to Brazil in the years in 
which they were approved: respectively 48% and 
21% (OED, 1991a, p. 17). The two Brazilian 
projects were clear illustrations of the emphasis 
on project approval and the “pressure to lend”, 
which the Wapenhans report strongly criticized 
because it harmed the effectiveness of develop- 
ment projects (PMTF, 1992). 
With the information from internal World 
Bank sources and from the local population, and 
helped by the fast means of communication 
provided by the Internet, the international 
campaign became a threat to the World Bank. 
The NGOs. entered into a coalition with US 
critics of the World Bank, who used every oppor- 
tunity to plead for a reduction of the contribu- 
tion to international organizations. The MDB 
campaign thus fell in line with prevailing opposi- 
tion to multilateralism and development aid, 
favorite subjects of Republican hostility in 
particular. This combination of environmental 
and financial pressure forced the World Bank to 
pay more attention to the environment. 
These successful actions against the World 
Bank and the Inter-American Development 
Bank (IDB) had already attracted a considerable 
amount of attention to the Brazilian Amazon. 
The alarming pictures of burning forests, the 
deforestation figures, the greenhouse effect and 
the assassination of Chico Mendes in December 
1988 further increased international concern. 
The murder of Mendes emphasized the harsh 
political struggle he and other people had been 
engaged in, stimulating all kinds of international 
action. In this period, the Brazilian government 
was frequently requested to assume its responsi- 
bility vi&-vis the international community: at 
conferences and during visits to the Amazon by a 
range of prominent foreign persons - politi- 
cians, artists and royalty. 
3. THE ‘INTERNATIONALIZATION’ OF 
THE AMAZON? 
This formidable interest in the fate of the 
Amazon provoked a staunch reaction of 
Brazilian nationalist forces. Every proposal for 
the supposed “internationalization” of the 
Amazon in whatever form was fiercely 
renounced.’ The nationalist rejection of foreign 
interference was based on several arguments, 
which almost without exception centered on the 
role of the industrialized countries and their 
“agents” (such as multinational corporations, 
international organizations, sectors of the church 
and environmental groups). First, the price to be 
paid for the Amazon would be very high: if the 
industrialized countries wanted Brazil to cut 
down deforestation, substantial concessions 
would have to be made, such as the transfer of 
technology without any cost. Second, nationalists 
accused the industrialized countries of hypocrisy, 
since they neglected the enormous environ- 
mental problems they themselves had caused. 
The almost exclusive focus on the Amazon was 
experienced as Western “colonialism” which had 
the effect of diverting attention from the 
environmentally-damaging byproducts of indus- 
trial production. 
A third argument held that the protests were 
based on misinformation: the deforestation rates 
were much lower than reported, and no scientific 
evidence was said to exist on the consequences 
for the global climate and the equilibrium of the 
global ecosystem.4 A congressional commission 
of inquiry, specifically established to investigate 
the rumors about the extent of deforestation and 
the role of foreign actors in these accusations, 
came up with a lower figure than suggested in a 
World Bank report (CPI, 1989). The commis- 
sion’s report revealed the highly political nature 
of the issue, not only internationally but also 
nationally, and within INPE itself. 
Finally, the alleged “internationalization” was 
seen as a threat to Brazilian sovereignty and the 
legitimate right to use and manage the Amazon. 
This could imply not only the creation of a large 
Amazon reserve to protect the environment, but 
also a further “internationalization” and exploi- 
tation of the large mineral reserves in the 
Amazon by international forces under the 
pretext of the environment. The Brazilian 
military, which expressed this view most promi- 
1484 WORLD DEVELOPMENT 
nently, showed a special sensitivity with regard to 
the protection of Indian rights and the environ- 
ment (ESG, 1990). They also resented the inclu- 
sion of provisions to protect the environment 
and indigenous peoples in World Bank and IDB 
project lending (CSN, 1986) aspects for which 
national and international NGOs had lobbied 
intensely. 
Although the connection with the environment 
was relatively recent, only during the Constitu- 
tional Process in 1987 and 1988 did it emerge for 
the first time (Kolk, 1996a, pp. 99-106) the 
issue was certainly now new in Brazilian politics. 
Already in the 1960s during the dictatorship 
(1964-85) the military and other nationalist 
groups warned for the supposed attempts to 
internationalize the Brazilian Amazon (Veloso, 
1968). Protection of the region against foreign 
intrusion, be it from neighboring countries or 
one of the superpowers, occupied a central place 
in a special study by the Superior War College 
(ESG, 1968). It also referred to the danger of 
psychological warfare, revolutionary guerillas and 
subversion; this supposed influence of the Cold 
War on Brazil was, however, far removed from 
the international political reality. The idea, used 
for national purposes, stemmed from the strong 
anti-communist ideology which prevailed during 
the dictatorship. It served to legitimate the 
Brazilian military’s intervention in the Amazon. 
The “internationalization” accusations were 
largely rhetorical as the entrance of foreign 
capital was part and parcel of the economic 
model adopted under the dictatorship (Moreira 
Alves, 1985). This doctrine of national security 
and development emphasized the necessity of 
economic growth, the potential superpower 
status of Brazil, and the struggle against so-called 
internalsubversion. Industrialization was a 
crucial element of national security: developing 
countries were very vulnerable for subversion 
and “nondeveloped” regions complicated the 
defense of borders. Furthermore, it could help to 
strengthen the negotiating position of the 
country. 
The dictatorship’s strategy aimed at a 
deepening of the industrialization process based 
on an alliance between state, multinational and 
national companies (Evans, 1979). This capitalist 
development effort resulted in rapid economic 
growth, especially in certain sectors of the 
economy, durable consumer goods and capital 
goods, which relied heavily on the technological, 
financial and organizational knowledge which 
only multinationals could provide. The state 
played a leading role in guiding and attracting 
international capital flows, and in investing in 
crucial economic sectors, especially petro- 
chemicals, mining, the iron and steel industry, 
and telecommunications. Although less 
important, national companies dominated the 
construction industry, and were active in the 
agriculture/cattle sector and light industrial 
goods. The economic model was based on an 
extremely unequal division of wealth and 
income, which enabled the growth of the capital 
and consumer goods industries. 
The large-scale colonization of the Amazon 
fitted perfectly in this development model. The 
occupation of the “empty” region would help to 
ensure national security and territorial integrity. 
Moreover, the Amazon assured the Brazilian 
grandeur, not only on territorial grounds, but 
also economically, ideologically, politically and 
socially (Reis, 1968). The region comprised half 
the Brazilian territory, offered potential for 
economic growth and the use of new agricultural 
techniques, and its soil contained many minerals 
(such as bauxite, tin, manganese, iron and gold). 
After 1964, the infrastructure of the Amazon 
region was improved by highway construction 
and electrification. Furthermore, regional 
development plans attempted to attract foreign 
and national investors, and the exploitation of 
the rainforest for its resources and land was 
encouraged. Agricultural and economic policies 
reflected this general tendency: land concentra- 
tion and agricultural mechanization in the south 
ousted small peasants, higher taxes were levied 
for unused ground, inciting cultivation of land, 
and loans and all kinds of tax facilities were 
readily available for the Amazon (Browder, 
1988). High inflation rates and low land prices 
further stimulated speculation. This process lies 
at the heart of the destruction of the rainforest. 
National forces took the lead, supported to a 
considerable extent by foreign capital and inter- 
national development projects. 
As a result of state guidance, the Amazon 
economy changed substantially: the prevailing 
system of simple reproduction became subordin- 
ated to the logic of capitalist production and the 
inherent drive for capital accumulation. 
Dominant forces in Brazilian society focused on 
influencing state policy in order to profit from 
the “newly discovered” area. The most important 
interests were those that supported the military 
dictatorship and its political and economic 
model, including the ideological, geopolitical 
component: the state bureaucracy, the army, and 
both national and international industrial, 
agrarian, mining and construction firms. 
The course of affairs with regard to Polonor- 
oeste revealed these differences in power and 
FROM CONFLICT TO COOPERATION 1485 
influence. When the project started, road 
building turned out to proceed very rapidly due 
to the efficiency of the construction sector, while 
the protection components were lacking (OED, 
1991a). In the frontier economy, characterized by 
survival strategies and short-term extraction, 
environmental concerns did not rank high and 
powerful economic forces predominated; local 
and regional state agencies and politicians were 
unwilling or unable to confront them. As a result 
of the uneven implementation, migrants could 
enter the region easily and without restrictions, 
and deforestation increased substantially. By the 
time the effects became known, the World Bank 
had lost most of its financial influence because 
road construction absorbed the largest amounts 
of money. Rampant inflation further depleted 
the available budgets and the funds disbursed by 
the World Bank. 
At the time of the 1987 accusations about 
internationalization, the mining sector in the 
Amazon clearly exhibited the existence of a 
triple alliance, in which state and multinational 
companies were more important than national 
capital. The state company CVRD (Companhia 
Vale do Rio Dote), currently in the process of 
privatization, had a market share of slightly 
above SO%, or even more if majority and large 
minority positions in other companies were 
added.5 It should be noted that in the CVRD 
system, as the conglomerate of approximately 35 
companies has sometimes been called, Japanese 
participation is significant. Rather than taking 
minority ownership positions in Brazilian state 
and national enterprises, US companies 
preferred to invest in majority-owned companies. 
In addition, US foreign direct investments in 
mining have exceeded those of Japanese 
companies. Concessions for the exploration of 
minerals in the Amazon were divided between 
the partners in the tripod.6 
It can be concluded that the internationaliza- 
tion of the Amazon, seen as substantial foreign 
investments and ownership positions, started 
under the military dictatorship. This very process 
offered nationalists the opportunity to point at 
international actors when politically expedient. 
These accusations neither corresponded to the 
actual situation in the Amazon nor reflected 
international developments. This “hard-line 
nationalism” has, nevertheless, been of great 
political relevance. 
4. FROM REJECTION TO ACCEPTANCE 
Although hard-line nationalist influences have 
persisted and at times have peaked, their 
political dominance gradually diminished from 
April 1989 onward. One of the reasons for this 
was the continued attention to the Amazon, in 
which the interaction between international and 
national environmental organizations seemed to 
be crucial. The political importance of all kinds 
of popular organizations, which had been 
increasing since the early days of the transition 
to democracy and which was clearly shown 
during the Constitutional Process, further 
increased as a result of public and financial 
support from international counterparts. The 
destruction of the Amazon rainforest and its 
implications for the global environment, and the 
difficult situation of the Indians, landless, and 
rubber tappers gave Brazilian organizations 
substantial backing. Despite the nationalistic 
rhetoric surrounding these relationships, it was 
obvious that these forces did not aim at a true 
internationalization of the Amazon, but rather 
tried to strengthen the struggle of the victims 
and contribute to the preservation of the 
rainforest. Concurrently, against the background 
of the highly internationalized Brazilian economy 
and the pivotal role of multinational capital in a 
development model of which environmental 
degradation was part and parcel, nationalism was 
clearly of little avail. 
The environmental issue started to become a 
barrier to Brazilian successes in other inter- 
national negotiations and undermined its 
position, emerging time and again in bilateral 
and multilateral discussions. Loans from the 
World Bank and IDB were suspended or became 
subject to stricter conditions, signs that unwill- 
ingness to respond to environmental concerns 
caused difficulties. Alternatively, the environ- 
ment could also be a potential source of power, 
in which Brazil used the promise to preserve the 
rainforest to achieve concessions on other points 
or to obtain additional funds. Shortly after a visit 
of a US congressionaldelegation in 1989, the 
idea emerged at the Brazilian Ministry of 
Foreign Affairs to organize UNCED to improve 
the country’s environmental image, and generate 
substantial flows of “green” money.’ The Sarney 
government launched an environmental plan for 
the Amazon in April 1989, which included the 
abolition of some subsidies and other regulations 
which encouraged deforestation, and the suspen- 
sion of large government projects. President 
Collor, his successor, chose an even more active 
approach. 
The fact that Sarney and Collor reversed some 
of the measures was crucial as the causes of 
Brazilian deforestation were primarily national in 
character. Contrary to other regions, where 
1486 WORLD DEVELOPMENT 
logging for export of wood and meat were signi- 
ficant reasons for deforestation, international 
relationships worked more indirectly, through 
the incorporation of the Amazon in the Brazilian 
political economy. International organizations, 
Western governments and NGOs, therefore, 
welcomed the changes in Brazilian environ- 
mental policy. At the same time, Brazilian 
renunciations of foreign interference and inter- 
national hypocrisy had contributed to creating a 
climate for positive steps to address the 
deforestation problem. This formed the 
background for the creation of the Pilot Program 
to conserve the Brazilian rainforest (PP-G7), 
which the German Chancellor Kohl launched at 
the 1990 Houston summit of the Group of the 
seven most industrialized countries (G-7). The 
Houston declaration welcomed the efforts of the 
Brazilian government and requested the World 
Bank and the European Community to formu- 
late a proposal for the PP-G7, which would be 
approved in London one year later. The German 
initiative on a topic which had already been 
discussed at the European summit in Dublin one 
month earlier, and its subsequent adoption by 
the G-7, took place in a particular political 
context. 
In various European countries, the fate of the 
rainforest in general and the Amazon in 
particular gave rise to debate, actions and 
programs. In Germany, for example, a large 
number of environmental organizations 
expressed their concern in a 1989 rainforest 
memorandum, signed by more than a hundred 
NGOs (Hagemann, 1994, p. 49) and the subject 
was actively discussed in and investigated by the 
Parliament (Deutscher Bundestag, 1990). More 
than other European countries, Germany had 
participated in, and profited from, the Carajas 
project. The European Community had provided 
loans for Carajas, which gave rise to questions 
from the European Parliament and to delibera- 
tions with the World Bank to diminish the worst 
consequences. The idea emerged that Brazil 
should probably be given funds on favorable 
conditions if the industrialized countries attached 
so much importance to the conservation of the 
Brazilian rainforest.x Personal commitment of 
Kohl to the issue also played a role: since the 
late 1980s German support for the Brazilian 
Amazon and for rainforests in general had 
increased; the same was true of Great Britain 
and the United States. 
Other considerations also played a role. 
During the preparations of the Pilot Program, 
frequent mention was made of the necessity to 
achieve results before UNCED. For the G-7 
countries, the Commission of the European 
Communities (CEC) and the Brazilian govern- 
ment, this would prove their sincere intention to 
deal with environmental issues. At the same 
time, World Bank and European officials, and 
the Brazilian government used this argument at 
various instances to put pressure on the donors 
to commit funds; Brazil in particular threatened 
to denounce the G-7 publicly if sufficient funds 
were lacking. Moreover, quick disbursal of 
substantial amounts might also prevent potential 
Brazilian opponents of the Program from 
increasing their political influence. Finally, calcu- 
lations by the CEC showed the economic sense 
of the Program: giving money to reduce carbon 
dioxide emissions in Brazil would presumably be 
cheaper than the cost of achieving the same 
results in the European countries themselves 
(World Bank, 1991a, p. 2). Therefore, the PP-G7 
could help to fulfill the European promise of 
stabilizing emissions at the 1990 level. 
To some extent, the Pilot Program also 
demonstrates changing practices and insights 
within the World Bank. Under pressure from 
NGOs and industrialized countries, the Bank 
adopted a more cautious attitude toward mega- 
projects, strengthened its environmental 
procedures and started to implement environ- 
mental projects. Coordination of international 
environmental programs and more intensive 
cooperation with local organizations fitted into 
this new policy. Moreover, supervision of small- 
scale projects is easier, which benefits the effec- 
tiveness as well. The PP-G7 represented a new 
tendency in a region in which the World Bank 
had negative experiences. The Planafloro project, 
also in the Brazilian Amazon, showed that this 
did not always proceed smoothly: designed to 
diminish the negative effects of Polonoroeste, it 
became the subject of NGO criticism because 
the conditions and local participation were 
considered insufficient. These charges have been 
confirmed by the World Bank’s inspection panel 
(Aslam, 1997). 
The G-7 Houston announcement put the 
Brazilian government in an interesting position: 
it was offered an aid program which it had not 
asked for. Deliberations between different minis- 
tries followed to decide whether to accept the 
proposal, and if so, in what form (Hagemann, 
1994, p. 70). The discussions resulted in two 
positions: one, advocated particularly by the 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, feared interference 
in Brazilian matters and only wanted to propose 
a number of projects which were ready, while 
another group, led by the Secretariat for the 
Environment (SEMAM), strongly advanced the 
FROM CONFLICT TO COOPERATION 1487 
idea of submitting a detailed proposal which 
included new projects. With presidential support, 
the latter view prevailed because it was 
considered very important to show Brazilian 
environmental progress during UNCED; the 
proposal could also help requests for further 
financial assistance. The relatively “soft” condi- 
tions of the Program contributed to the shift of 
the balance in favor of acceptance after weighing 
the “costs” and “benefits”. 
5. THE DYNAMICS OF COOPERATION 
In contrast to the Houston declaration, which 
requested the World Bank and CEC to formu- 
late a proposal, the World Bank decided to seek 
the active involvement of the Brazilian govern- 
ment in the preparation, without losing its 
leverage on the final product. The reasons for 
this change were Brazilian sensitivities regarding 
outside interference, the readiness on the 
Brazilian side to prepare a proposal and the fact 
that such a clear commitment would increase the 
chance of success and effective implementation 
of the Program (World Bank, 1990, p. 1). 
Throughout the preparation of the PP-G7 and 
its specific projects, the representatives of the 
World Bank, European Community and donor 
countries adopted a cautious approach in order 
to prevent particular sectors within Brazilian 
society and the government from being offended. 
This prudence was motivated by the concern that 
nationalist forces would characterize the 
Program as yet another attempt to “internation- 
alize” the Amazon or to infringe on Brazilian 
sovereignty. In the negotiations, the Brazilian 
delegation pointed out that the government’s 
acceptance of the Program represented a novelty 
which should be handled carefully to prevent 
misinterpretations from frustrating such an inter- 
national effort for some time (World Bank, 
1991a, p. 8). 
At the time of the negotiations, accusations 
about the internationalization, directed particu- 
larly at environmental and Indian organizations 
and their international supporters, received 
much attention as a resultof a 1990 report of the 
influential Brazilian Superior War College (ESG, 
1990). The 1990 publication of the “greenhouse 
index ranking” by the World Resources Institute 
(WRI/UNDP/IJNEP, 1990), in which Brazil 
occupied the third position after the United 
States and the USSR, also gave rise to a large 
controversy. The contribution of deforestation to 
global warming was calculated on the basis of the 
1987 figures, the exceptional nature of which was 
already known at the time. Moreover, there were 
other problems regarding interpretation and 
assumptions (Feamside, 1990; Kolk, 1996a, pp. 
78-82). Designed to help international negotia- 
tions, the Institute was accused of “environ- 
mental colonialism” as its method tended to 
exaggerate the share of Southern countries in the 
emission of greenhouse gases (Agarwal and 
Narain, 1991). The Brazilian congressional 
commission of inquiry, which investigated the 
rumors about internationalization, concluded 
that the suspicions could neither be confirmed 
nor identified (CPI, 1991). Nevertheless, the 
hearings and the accompanying media attention 
provided nationalists with a good opportunity to 
express their ideas in public. In view of this 
political situation, donor insistence on furthering 
the participation of Brazilian NGOs in the 
process was formulated discreetly (World Bank, 
1990). 
Because of their intention to set the Program 
in motion, the World Bank and CEC almost 
automatically entered into a coalition with the 
Brazilian proponents, particularly SEMAM and a 
group of Amazonian NGOs (GTA). The GTA 
had been critical but supportive of the PP-G7; 
other NGOs, mainly traditional development 
organizations based in the south of Brazil, had 
rejected it. These opponents also dominated the 
Brazilian NGO Forum, formed to represent 
NGOs in the UNCED process, which led to 
conflicts with more moderate NGOs (such as the 
GTA members) which participated in the Forum 
as well (Hochstetler, 1994). After the approval of 
the PP-G7, the controversy between the two 
groups declined considerably and the GTA has 
continued to participate (Fatheuer, 1994). 
In spite of these difficulties and the allegations 
of “internationalization” mentioned before, the 
political climate proved to be favorable to this 
alliance until mid-1992. This was largely the 
result of the organization of UNCED in Brazil, 
Collor’s concern to present a positive image of 
the country, and the idea that the environmental 
cause would yield substantial international funds. 
Corresponding to this desire, the government 
had, during the preparations of the PP-G7, 
emphasized the need to achieve results before 
UNCED. Particularly the Ministry of Foreign 
Affairs, which largely shaped the Brazilian 
positions advanced during the UNCED process, 
awaited clear commitments. It expected to profit 
from the peculiar moment, in which international 
attention and a positive Brazilian attitude would 
generate financial resources for environmental 
protection. 
This view became evident in the Brazilian 
reaction to a World Bank report on the environ- 
1488 WORLD DEVELOPMENT 
mental problems in the Brazilian Amazon 
(World Bank, 1992). Although wide sectors of 
the Brazilian government, including military 
officials, agreed with the comprehensive analysis, 
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its 
opposition: the report’s proposition that the 
concept of “sustainable development” is not 
useful contradicted the Ministry’s intention to 
attract funds for sustainable development 
projects during UNCED. The Ministry therefore 
also raised objections to the official publication 
of the report before the Conference. The World 
Bank report rejected the term sustainable 
development because of the variety of interpreta- 
tions and stated that its 
popularity (...) at the political level stems from the 
same ambiguity that has driven it from use at the 
technical level: Environmentalists hear ‘sustainable’ 
while developmentalists hear ‘development’. The 
term suggests that ‘win-win’ alternatives are 
awaiting to be discovered (World Bank, 1992, pp. 
26-27). 
The Brazilian objections to this view were 
included in the report and referred mainly to the 
report’s supposed bias towards the environ- 
mental dimension, which neglected the popula- 
tion’s developmental needs (World Bank, 1992, 
pp. xix-xx). 
The SEMAM reformers adopted the strategy 
of preparing the most controversial projects first 
and having them approved before others were 
negotiated; the World Bank informally backed 
this approach, which was shared by other inter- 
national agencies. The generally shared objective 
of proceeding rapidly with the Program to show 
its potential for success would increase the 
chances for approval of the first projects. The 
SEMAM priorities were the demarcation of 
indigenous territories, extractive reserves, NGO 
demonstration projects and the strengthening of 
environmental institutions. 
In July 1992, however, the political situation 
changed considerably. Not only did attention to 
the environmental issue decline now the Confer- 
ence had been held, but Collor was also accused 
of corruption and misappropriation of funds and 
sought to save his political life by turning to 
conservative forces (which turned out to be 
unsuccessful, as Collor was forced to resign in 
October 1992). The nationalist opponents to the 
projects, which until then had been unable to 
mobilize sufficient support to reverse the 
reformist trend, to which the upcoming Confer- 
ence and the awaited funds had certainly contri- 
buted, regained political attention. In spite of 
this relatively low profile, the military succeeded 
in monopolizing zoning activities. With the 
appointment of Perri as secretary of the environ- 
ment, a reorientation of SEMAM’s course took 
place, and the team of reformers left. Money to 
carry out INPE’s deforestation surveys also dried 
up (MMA/World Bank, 1996, pp. 10-11). 
The government now shared some of the criti- 
cisms of the Program and its components, 
whereas before the Conference it had quietened 
PP-G7 adversaries. In August 1991, for example, 
Foreign Minister Rezek declared that the 
government would not accept attempts to 
diminish Brazilian sovereignty, be it under the 
pretext of the environment, drugs or human 
rights (Jomal de Brasilia, October 16, 1991). 
Furthermore, when Amazon governors 
denounced the extent of the G-7 commitments in 
Geneva, a government delegation was sent to 
avoid more agitation (Hagemann, 1994, p. 123). 
The conservative, nationalist opponents 
included those forces engaged in profitable 
activities in the Amazon, the proponents of 
Brazilian sovereignty, and those who were 
skeptical about international aid programs. This 
skepticism was based on a “cost-benefit 
analysis” which compared the large amounts of 
time and money these projects would cost Brazil 
with the funds to be eventually expected and 
applied particularly to environmental projects 
which aimed to reduce deforestation. Such 
projects were not given high priority; large-scale 
projects were preferred. The opponents included 
the military, mining, construction, agricultural 
and industrial interests, which at the ministerial 
level found support in (parts of) Foreign Affairs, 
Economic Affairs and the Secretariat of Strategic 
Affairs SAE. In particular the resistance to the 
demarcation of Indian lands, which has been a 
sensitive issue, mobilized a broad coalition. They 
also opposed the funding of extractive reserves 
and the support for Brazilian NGOs by way of 
the demonstration project, denouncing the 
overemphasis on and international support for 
groups to which they clearly did not attach 
priority. Likewise, donor insistence on NGO 
consultation was not appreciated. Presumably 
because these projects competed for funds with 
the science project, the Secretariat for Science 
and Technology joined the nationalist ranks. 
The policy change did not leadto a reversal of 
the progress achieved with the formerly priority 
projects, but they suffered a drawback while 
other projects, particularly a scientific research 
project, proceeded much more quickly 
(Hagemann, 1994, pp. 132-138). New rounds of 
negotiations with the World Bank and donors 
followed to solve the problem of insufficient 
resources to fund all the prepared projects, 
FROM CONFLICT TO COOPERATION 1489 
which ended up in the reduction of project 
budgets. The political changes, difficult economic 
conditions and the recurrent discussions resulted 
in considerable delays, a situation which was 
further aggravated by the involvement and 
required approval of the various ministries and 
donors with their specific interests, In spite of all 
these complications, activities to further the 
implementation of the PP-G7 have continued. 
During the presidency of Itamar France, the vice 
president who succeeded Collor after the 
impeachment, lack of political power and credi- 
bility slowed down the process. This situation 
improved with the election of Fernando 
Henrique Cardoso who assumed the presidency 
in January 1995. 
During the Cardoso presidency, five years of 
preparations for the Pilot Program have started 
to produce results. A large number of meetings 
and activities is being organized to realize the 
objectives of the PP-G7. The main projects in 
the process of implementation are the indige- 
nous lands project, which aims to protect indige- 
nous peoples and the natural resources in their 
areas; the natural resources policy project, meant 
to strengthen environmental management 
entities in the states of the Brazilian Amazon; 
support for extractive reserves, for scientific 
centers and the management of forest resources. 
Approximately $300 million has been pledged by 
donor countries, of which Germany provides the 
majority, followed by the European Union.’ 
6. ASSESSMENT AND DILEMMAS 
By now, the PP-G7 is recommended as a 
promising example of international environ- 
mental cooperation by the participants (World 
Bank, 1996b, p. l), in spite of its difficult and 
protracted preparations. The strength of the 
Program is that it actively seeks the participation 
and support of the local authorities and the 
population. Previous projects in the Brazilian 
insufficiently reckoned with the political situation 
to ensure that they were profitable for the most 
important stakeholders, including the partners in 
the triple alliance. By analyzing the potential 
winners and losers beforehand, and, if necessary, 
adjusting conditions and increasing involvement, 
the group of actors which may benefit from the 
project one way or the other, has been enlarged. 
The success has been facilitated by the size of 
the PP-G7, which is the largest environmental 
program for a single country, and by the fact that 
it encompasses grants instead of loans. At the 
moment, proposals are being prepared which 
enable international payments for protecting 
biodiversity and preventing the emission of 
greenhouse gases. This kind of compensation for 
landowners or local authorities had drawbacks 
which need careful consideration, particularly the 
sensitivities with regard to sovereignty, and the 
control of these agreements (MMA/World Bank, 
1996). 
These aspects point at the ambiguity of 
current Brazilian policies. On the one hand, 
responsiveness to international concerns is 
accompanied by measures against deforestation. 
In July 1996, for example, the Cardoso govern- 
ment adopted the “Amazon package”. It 
included the announcement of a two year 
moratorium on the logging of two rare timber 
species (mahogany and virola), the review of the 
environmental impact of current logging 
contracts, and the imposition of more restrictions 
on deforestation in agricultural areas. The new 
measures coincided with the publication of new. 
high deforestation figures for mid-1992 to 
mid-1994. In these years, annual deforestation 
was 34.4% higher than in 1990-91, when INPE 
reported the lowest rates; in mid-1994, approxi- 
mately 12% of the rainforests in the Brazilian 
Amazon had disappeared (MMAlWorld Bank. 
1996, p. 10). There are indications that the 
number of fires increased substantially in 1995, 
although uncertainty exists whether this can be 
unequivocally translated into deforestation 
figures, as fires may also have taken place in 
areas already deforested (World Bank, 1996b, 
P. 4). 
On the other hand, however, a new develop- 
ment plan for the Amazon has been devised, and 
policies with regard to indigenous territories 
remain highly controversial. The 1995 Integrated 
Policy Plan for the Legal Amazon aims to 
further the integration of the region both nation- 
ally and internationally, while safeguarding 
sovereignty (MMA, 1995). Better routes of 
access to the Caribbean and the Pacific, 
including the construction of a new trans- 
Amazonian highway which connects the Western 
Amazon with Peru, should improve transporta- 
tion by road, rail and water; new hydroelectricity 
projects are also proposed. Projects should, 
however, also benefit agriculture, energy, 
housing, sanitation, health and education. As 
stated in the plan, this development must be 
“socially just, environmentally sustainable, 
economically effective and with an ethical dimen- 
sion which corresponds to the basic requirements 
of a National Project” (MMA, 1995, pp. 
15-16).‘” Part of the funding for this policy 
would have to come from foreign loans and 
donations, such as the Pilot Program. According decree, concluded that it did not violate existing 
to Cardoso, Brazil’s ability to attract these funds agreements between the Bank and Brazil, 
depends on how well the country recognizes its including those for the indigenous lands projects, 
own responsibility for preserving nature and a cautious attitude has been taken. To cite an 
indigenous culture. example of this approach, the World Bank 
The situation with regard to the indigenous secured a commitment from the government of 
territories, one of the most controversial issues, the state of Rondonia to withdraw two of the 
provides insights into the dilemmas. In January claims it had made on Indian land, as these 
1996, Cardoso signed a decree which enhances might impinge on the Planafloro project financed 
the possibilities for filing injunctions against the by the Bank in this state. In this same project, 
demarcation of indigenous areas. The decision to the World Bank had also insisted on the partici- 
change the procedures originated from the pation of local NGOs; concerted NGO pressure 
conviction that the previously existing situation from the very beginnings of Planafloro has 
was unconstitutional. The act has aroused much produced effects. 
protest: it is regarded as a reversal of the hard- At various instances, donors and international 
won constitutional rights of the indigenous organizations participating in the PP-G7 have 
peoples. National and international environ- expressed their concern. They also demand a 
mental and indigenous organizations have urged rapid implementation of the indigenous lands 
Cardoso to revoke the decree. They have project, “which many view as a bell-wether for 
requested the World Bank, the European Union the entire Pilot Program” (World Bank, 1996b, 
and the G-7 governments to suspend funds 
allocated to projects in the Brazilian Amazon. 
p. 4). The PP-G7 has enlarged the possibilities 
for the international community to exert influ- 
In February 1996, the European Parliament 
strongly condemned the decision of the Brazilian 
ence on Brazilian policies. In that sense, the 
worst fears of hard-line nationalist forces have 
government and called upon the European 
Commission to cease funding demarcation 
been realized. The political situation and the 
projects in Brazil. This resolution received 
nature of the coalitions has changed to such an 
extent however that both this national-inter- 
widespread attentionin Brazil and provoked a 
strong reaction from the Brazilian Minister of 
national dichotomy and the concept of sover- 
Justice. He emphasized Brazilian sovereignty and 
eignty need to be reconsidered. In a similar vein, 
criticized the members of the European Parlia- 
the triple alliance, on which the development of 
ment by stating that “they should be more 
the Brazilian economy and the Amazon was 
concerned with the problems in Bosnia, which 
built, is characterized by continuity and change. 
they have not managed to solve” (CIMI, 1996a). 
On the one hand, the difficulties encountered by 
In addition, he was not receptive toward the 
President Cardoso, especially in privatizing 
Brazilian groups which criticized the decree and 
former state companies and in assuring all 
organized an international lobby. These 
parties with regard to the future development of 
denouncements did not silence all protests, 
the Amazon, show that the alliance is still 
however, since the number of appeals under the 
relevant. On the other hand, democratization has 
new decree has exceeded 35% of the demarcated 
changed the political and economic situation, 
indigenous areas (CIMI, 1996b). This poses a 
and the terms of the debate: companies can no 
serious threat to the position of the indigenous 
longer rely on protectionist measures, high trade 
peoples and shows that counterforces are still 
barriers and large state influence. 
influential. In subsequent months, members of 
the US Congress, and the British and German 
Parliaments have expressed their concerns. 7. IMPLICATIONS FOR INTERNATIONAL 
The Brazilian government has tried to COOPERATION 
convince international opinion of the importance 
of the decree. The Minister of Justice went on a Compared to a decade ago, the Brazilian 
mission to various European countries, and position has changed considerably. A strong 
Cardoso vehemently underlined his commitment rejection of international interference has given 
to indigenous causes. Furthermore, the govern- way to cooperation on the Pilot Program to 
ment assured the World Bank and PP-G7 donors conserve the Brazilian rainforest. Important 
that the “decree will make indigenous land factors which explain this shift encompass the 
regularization efforts more transparent, large international interest in the environment at 
democratic and agile” (World Bank, 1996a, p. 2). the time of UNCED, the relatively favorable 
Although World Bank staff, who examined the conditions and the fact that national sensitivities 
1490 WORLD DEVELOPMENT 
FROM CONFLICT TO COOPERATION 1491 
were taken into account. An international 
environmental coalition has emerged in which 
representatives of the Brazilian government, the 
World Bank, the European Commission, donor 
countries and NGOs cooperated intensively to 
prepare the different projects of the PP-G7. 
The formation of this coalition also shows the 
policy changes within the World Bank, which 
came about after fierce critique on both the 
environmental effects of lending and the 
declining effectiveness of development projects. 
As part of an overall restructuring, the organiza- 
tion has started to pay more attention to small- 
scale projects and to the participation of local 
NGOs (World Bank, 1997). So far, NGOs have 
given the organization the benefit of the doubt. 
Forced to build up environmental expertise by 
international NGO pressure, the World Bank 
points at the gravity of the environmental situa- 
tion to underline the need for its activities and 
partly to legitimate its existence. Both current 
president Wolfensohn and his predecessor 
Preston emphasized that the environment is one 
of the areas in which the World Bank can play a 
crucial role in the interest of the international 
community (Bretton Woods Commission, 1994, 
pp. 43, 4.5; World Bank, 1997, p. ii). 
Interestingly enough, requirements to reckon 
with the environment and to involve local organi- 
zations in the preparation and implementation of 
projects have enlarged the Bank’s influence on 
borrowing countries’ policies. Fear of interven- 
tion into domestic matters will increase, possibly 
stimulating those developing countries which 
have access to the international capital market, 
such as Brazil, to refrain from World Bank loans. 
This may diminish the effectiveness of the World 
Bank’s new environmental policy. 
Although the PP-G7 is unlike the standard 
international aid program because it does not 
consist of loans, the perceived infringement of 
Brazilian sovereignty continues to be a sensitive 
issue. Paradoxically, the groups which most 
staunchly defended the national interest were 
those which stimulated the large-scale inflow of 
international capital in the 1960s. When politi- 
cally useful, they can refer to the involvement of 
international actors just because of the large 
degree of internationalization of the Brazilian 
economy, and the growth of international 
governmental and nongovernmental cooperation 
patterns. 
These tendencies underline the need to refine 
the concept of sovereignty and to distinguish 
different dimensions, considering not only the 
external but also the internal aspects, as 
highlighted by the environmental problem. Inter- 
national environmental cooperation, such as the 
PP-G7, can strengthen and erode the power of 
the state simultaneously. Increasing international 
influence and direct donor collaboration with 
local authorities and NGOs diminishes the role 
of the state. At the same time, the federal 
Brazilian government is party to the agreement 
and mainstay in its implementation, which means 
that its power at the local level has also been 
augmented. 
The fact that international attention for the 
Brazilian Amazon has provoked so many 
reactions reveals the other interests which are at 
stake in slowing down deforestation. Environ- 
mental policy not only deals with the environ- 
ment, but, perhaps more importantly, with 
distributional issues. The Pilot Program reckons 
with these other aspects by international transfer 
of resources, cooperation with those Brazilian 
groups which benefit from protection of the 
rainforest, and by compensating and counterba- 
lancing others. In view of the size of the Amazon 
and the difficulties of control, measures which 
diminish the incentives to deforest are preferred 
to coercive approaches (Rude1 and Roper, 1997). 
Changing local practices is crucial, because at 
this level the ultimate causes of deforestation are 
found (Andersen, 1996) as part of a process set 
in motion by national development policies. 
Whether this process can be changed, will 
depend on the effectiveness of the coalition 
against deforestation, an alliance which has been 
strengthened as a result of the Pilot Program. 
Although conflicts about the Brazilian Amazon 
will continue to emerge every now and then, the 
terms and the intensity of the debate have 
changed considerably in 10 years’ time. 
At the international level, a comparable 
development can be noted. After UNCED, the 
controversy between North and South and the 
politicization of the forest issue have diminished. 
The recognition that the focus on tropical 
rainforests was not at all free of hypocrisy grew 
among a large number of Northern countries. 
They have accepted the importance of preserving 
all types of forests instead of just tropical forests. 
Policies to import only sustainably produced 
timber, announced for example by the Dutch 
government in 1991, have given way to a more 
cooperative attitude (Kolk, 1996b). As a result, 
Southern accusations of infringement of sover- 
eignty have declined in number and intensity. 
International and national attempts to protect 
forests are increasingly coordinated, and 
cooperation prevails over conflict. How such a 
coalition can be forged in spite of all difficulties 
is the most salient lesson of the Brazilian case. 
1492 WORLD DEVELOPMENT 
NOTES 
1. The Program also covers the AtlanticRainforest; 
this article focuses only on the Brazilian Amazon. 
2. For a more specific account of the MDB campaign 
see, e.g., Arnt and Schwartzman (1992); Aufderheide 
and Rich (1988); Cowell (1990); Bramble and Porter 
(1992); and Rich (1994). 
3. These developments and the following arguments 
were reported in various issues of Folha de Stio Paulo, 
0 Estado de Stio Paul0 and Jomal do Brasil, particularly 
in the period from January 7, to April 7, 1989. 
4. Deforestation in 1987 turned out to have been 
exceptionally high, due to the long, dry season and the 
uncertainty on the future regulation of land rights, 
which incited land-invaders to burn large areas before- 
hand. For an analysis of deforestation figures and the 
climatic consequences, see Fearnside (1990, 1997) and 
Kolk (1996a), pp. 78-86. 
5. The CVRD had a majority ownership in Nibrasco, 
Itabrasco and Hispanobras, and a nearly 50% owner- 
ship in Mineracao Rio do Norte. Taken together, these 
four enterprises and the CVRD represented 63.7% of 
the 1991 market share (for a more detailed analysis of 
the information in this paragraph, see Kolk, 1996a, 
pp. 91-99). 
6. Of the total area on which concessions were 
granted in 1986, 39.9% was in foreign hands, 36.2% in 
national hands, and 23.9% in state hands (Fernandes, 
1987, p. 21). 
7. Thomas Lovejoy, personal communication, 
October 26, 1994. 
8. Maritta Koch-Weser, personal communication, 
October 25, 1994. 
9. Information derived from World Bank, Ruin Forest 
Pilot Progrum Update, various issues. The Brazilian 
government originally requested $1.6 billion, but 
donors have made no commitment to reach this 
amount (World Bank, 1991b, pp. 6-7). 
10. Translated from Portuguese by the author. 
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