NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


January 18, 2006

Many developing countries are finding themselves at a critical junction because their environmental ministries have become outposts of local Green converts. Despite their protestations to the contrary, the Greens are the enemy of the world's poor, says Deepak Lal of the University of California-Los Angeles.

The United Nations and many of its specialized agencies have provided antiglobalization and environmental nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), as well as a host of others espousing Western politically correct causes, an institutional framework in which to push their agenda, says Lal.

It is time to shut them down. They do little to advance the cause of peace and prosperity, explains Lal.

  • The World Bank and International Monetary Fund have served the environmentalists' purposes by failing to foster economic growth in the developing countries.
  • Others, such as the World Health Organization, seem to have stepped well beyond their purely technical arena to take up various politically correct but dubious crusades, such as those against smoking and obesity.
  • Still others have already served whatever initial purpose they might have had.
  • These organizations are now incubators of various antiglobalization agendas that do not serve the interests of the United States or those of the world's poor in whose name they claim to speak.

Although these organizations should be closed, this is unlikely to happen, says Lal, because many of the causes espoused by the NGOs are part of the West's current cultural values.

Furthermore, various proposals to introduce labor and environmental standards in the World Trade Organization and to tie issues of human rights to trade and investment have neither logic nor ethics on their side, and tend to aggravate the suspicion of many developing countries that the new global economy will lead to some form of unwanted cultural imperialism, says Lal.

Source: Deepak Lal, "Environmental Activists Perpetuate Third-World Poverty," Environment and Climate News: Heartland Institute, November 2005.


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