ifoam'96 ifoam'96
Book of Abstracts
11th IFOAM Scientific Conference
11-15 August 1996, Copenhagen, Denmark
EcoWeb Denmark

Organic World

Suriname: Developing the green industry O17

Wirht, W. W.

The Caribbean Institute for Organic Agriculture, Republic of Suriname.
During the past two years Suriname has been in the spotlights of the international environmental community. That happened because of the intensions of the Surinamese government to grant approx. 3.5 million hectares of the last prestine tropical rain forest spots in the world to Southeast Asian (Malaysian and Indonesian) timber companies, who's track record is literally visible in the way the tropical rain forest in that region has been exploited and destroyed and resulted in dramas for both the peoples and the environment.
This issue has been creating a lot of controversial views especially in political circles in Suriname.
The international attention especially with respect to the offered assistance to look into other possibilities to utilise this natural resource in a more profiterable but most of all sustainable way has been neglected by the government using arguments of intervention in internal affairs and urgent need of foreign exchange.
Lack of awareness on the part of the political leaders regarding other optional ways to use this natural resource has also contributed to the believe that granting of logging concessions is the only option.
The environmental society in Suriname has set up a campaign against the plans of the government to grant the concessions to these companies. The environmental society consists mostly of N.G.O's among which all the organisations of indigenous and tribal people.
Suriname is in the mid of the implementation of a Structural adjustment programme and the government is facing some immediate challenges regarding employment, foreign exchange, distribution of income, poverty and degeneration of public services such as education, health, environmental policy and public safety.
All these problems are contributing to an increase of pressure to grant the timber concessions to these companies.
The Caribbean Institute for Organic Agriculture as part of the environmental society in Suriname, has taken upon herself to explore the possibilities of the development of the »Green Industry« in Suriname, but we need a lot of help and assistance.
This presentation in meant to call the attention of the international environmental community to assist and to cooperate with us to develop the »Green Industry« in Suriname in the spirit of »Agenda 21«, and in doing so creating the best alternative instead of granting of timber concessions to companies that already have proven to be ruthless and destructive in there activities.