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Developing Countries Call Aid Offer to Protect Environment a “Pittance” With AM-Earth

June 13, 1992

Developing Countries Call Aid Offer to Protect Environment a ″Pittance″ With AM-Earth Summit, Bjt

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) _ Delegates of developing countries accused the industrialized powers Saturday of offering scant long-term aid for economic and environmental projects in the Third World.

″So far we’ve received a pittance,″ said Dr. Keng Yaik Lim, Malaysia’s minister of primary industries. ″How can you save the rain forests, the planet’s wildlife, without funds?″

The United Nations has estimated that $125 billion is needed to implement Agenda 21, the summit’s blueprint for cleaning up the Earth.

At least $10 billion is required to start the initiative next year. But what was offered in Rio by the richest countries was well below that.

Japan, the most generous contributor at the Earth Summit, announced it would chip in an extra $400 million a year until 1998, raising its total contribution to between $7 billion and $7.7 billion.

Germany pledged $500 million next year - by increasing its aid to 0.7 percent of gross national product - but went no further. Great Britain announced it would chip in $270 million. France said it would increase its aid to 0.7 percent of GNP - from the current 0.56 percent of GNP - by 2000, but the amount was not immediately available.

And the United States, which has positioned itself at the conference as the world leader on environmental matters, promised $225 million.

In all, contributions from the world’s seven richest countries total about $2 billion, ″which is like giving nothing at all,″ Lim said. ″It will only cause a mad rush by the least developed nations for what few crumbs of aid there are,″ Lim said.

Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s prime minister and spokesman for the developing countries, told delegates that the wealthiest nations must scrape up more money. ″Without such a commitment from our partners, the expectations from this conference may prove illusory,″ Sharif told delegates in his address.

On Friday evening, Colombian President Cesar Gaviria Trujillo complained that Agenda 21 pumped too much money into environmental projects, and not enough into developing Third World economies.

Developing countries have said they cannot afford to preserve their rain forests and other natural resources until their economies are shored up by huge amounts of foreign aid.

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