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Greens Distort Indigenous Rights At Rio Conference

Greens Distort Indigenous Rights To Block Sustainable Development At Rio Conference

Pro-development group says that Green anti-business campaigns will chill investment and halt sustainable development —precisely when the world needs an economic boost.

Rio de Janeiro – World Growth, a pro-development NGO, today called on Western environmental campaigners to halt appropriating indigenous claims in order to block forestry, agriculture and mining projects in developing countries.

World Growth chairman Alan Oxley made the call before world leaders at the Rio+20 meeting in Brazil. Mr Oxley was launching a report outlining how environmental campaigners are using the concept of ‘free prior and informed consent’ (FPIC) to destabilise property rights, undermine the rule of law and stymie economic growth in developing countries.

Mr Oxley said that the Greens’ actions were effectively blocking sustainable development.

“Greenpeace in particular has attempted to blame disputes over land and environmental degradation in places such as Brazil, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Ghana on the private sector,” said Mr Oxley. “This report shows that in all cases the situation on the ground is much more complicated. It shows that Greens have distorted these indigenous claims for their own agenda and made unproven allegations against the private sector.”

“Free, prior and informed consent was originally developed by a coalition of indigenous groups to have customary laws and property rights respected,” said Mr Oxley. “It was developed to ensure that large-scale development projects consulted indigenous peoples appropriately.”

“Groups such as Greenpeace and WWF have distorted that concept. They want it to apply to all communities, regardless of whether they are indigenous or not. They want FPIC to act as a veto right for anyone who objects to a development project, whether it’s for food security, water security or resource use.”

“The Greenpeace and WWF approach will undermine sustainable development. Rather than increasing secure tenure, it will undermine property rights and land tenure in developing countries. This report shows that poor property rights lead to greater levels of environmental degradation, poor economic outcomes and greater levels of social conflict.”

“The actions of groups like Greenpeace will likely undermine the gains made by indigenous communities in gaining recognition for their customary rights.”

“Even worse, their actions will chill private sector investment in productive industries in developing countries that increase food security, drive exports, drive employment and reduce poverty.

“Many governments are on their knees financially and the global economy is facing headwinds. The world needs and economic boost and greater investment from the private sector – not less.”

ENDS

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