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The Founex Report - Direction of Aid


4.10. Besides the flow and direction of aid, the kind of technology that is transferred from the developed to the developing world may be seriously affected. It is quite likely that future technological developments in the developed world will be influenced by their current preoccupation with non-pollutive technology. To the extent that these developments are shaped by the environmental problems faced by the advanced countries and do not take into account the conditions in the developing countries, technology which is transferred from the developed to the developing regions may become even more inappropriate than it often is at present. It is also obvious that some of this non-pollutive technology would be quite costly for the developing countries. No definite estimates are at present available as to how costly the non-pollutive technology may be (vague estimates ranging between five and twenty per cent are often mentioned). We propose that further research be undertaken in this area, preferably under the auspices of the United Nations Advisory Committee for Science and Technology. If such equipment is significantly more expensive than the present technology, its export to developing countries under tied credits will further reduce the real content of foreign assistance.

4.11. All these are legitimate fears. But they should not be exaggerated. In any case, the best strategy for the developing countries is to articulate them fully and to seek opportunities to turn the environmental concern in the developed countries to their own advantage or at least neutralize its adverse implications.

4.12. There is, first of all, a prospect that the global concern for environment may reawaken the concern for elimination of poverty all over the globe. An emerging understanding of the indivisibility of the earth's natural systems on the part of the rich nations could help strengthen the vision of a human family, and even encourage an increase in aid to poor nations' efforts to improve and protect their part of the global household. There is at least a chance that the legislatures in the developed world may be more, not less, forthcoming in their allocations for foreign assistance as they face up to the problem of deteriorating quality of life at home in the midst of obvious affluence. This opportunity must be seized. For this, the environmental problem has to be placed in its proper perspective both in the developed and the developing countries. It should be treated as a problem of the most efficient synthesis of developmental and environmental concerns at different stages of social transitions. Furthermore, it must be emphasized in all international forums, including the Stockholm Conference, that it is for the developed countries to reassure the developing world that their growing environmental concern will not hurt the continued development of the developing world nor would it be used to reduce resource transfers or to distort aid priorities or to adopt more protectionist policies or to insist on unrealistic environmental standards in the appraisal of development projects.