News from Bonn
Conservation of Nature
Conservation of Nature-An ImportantTask
In many of the world's regions natural landscapes which were hitherto untouched or hardly utilized are now being developed and cultivated on a dangerous scale. Every year, as tropical forests, humid zones, ecologically intact steppes and savannahs are destroyed, up to 17,000 species of flora and fauna disappear for ever.
As a result, not only are valuable genetic resources lost which can also provide a basis for higher agricultural yields, many pharmaceuticals and other products. Also, the rising demand for land and energy, and the wasteful exploitation of raw materials and natural resources which goes hand in hand with economic development is, in many regions, endangering the balance that has hitherto existed between the flora and fauna on the one hand and the indigenous population on the other. The basis of these people's existence is thus being destroyed.
The search for environmentally compatible systems of utilizing natural resources is therefore becoming ever more important as a development task.
Link between ecology and economy
Some natural zones and biotopes, characterized by a particularly wide variety of species, ecological interrelationships or other Peculiarities, can only be preserved by being fully protected. This requires not only unequivocal statutory provisions, but also an administrative capability to enforce them. Often, however, developing countries lack the necessary personnel and finances.
This is why approaches which combine protection of natural resources with long-term ecologically responsible use of them are often more promising. To achieve this it is necessary for the population to realize how much their existence depends on the preservation of environments which deserve to be protected, such as rain forests or savannah landscapes rich in wildlife.
Possible methods include, for example, establishing and assisting touristically interesting national parks and other protected areas; supporting wildlife husbandry programmes; or introducing and/or developing lasting forms of biotope utilization, e.g. apiculture and harvesting resin, rubber, medicinal plants and other forest products. Programmes of this kind are often accompanied by measures to develop the surrounding regions, as a means of reducing the pressure exerted by the population on the protected areas.
While in the past only a few developing countries were interested in nature conservation projects,e.g.for national parks in Ivory Coast or protection of the vicunas (a type of llama) in Peru, increasing importance is now being attached to these tasks.
Special Prize for "Meine Welt"
An independent panel of judges recently announced the winners of the 1987 "Journalistenpreis Entwicklungspolitik" (Price for journalism on development policy) donated by the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation in agreement with the Federal President.
One of the awards - a special prize of DM 2.000 - went to "Meine Welt" (My World), a magazine dedicated to furthering German-lndian dialogue. The citation mentions that this small publication represents an interesting and important attempt to make intercultural learning possible, to overcome the one-way flow of information in North-South relations and to open doors and windows to ideas, knowledge and experiences of the so-called developing societies.
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