IMPLICATIONS FOR WORLD
Peace and Sustainable Development
Why? When? How? For Whom?
Ronnie D. Lipschutz
Board of Studies in Politics
260 Stevenson College
University of California
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
Phone: 408-459-3275/Fax: 408-459-3334
Peace is more than just the absence of war. It requires that the basic constitutive conditions of social life be broadly accepted within a society and depends on a social consensus over the terms of peace. Sustainable development is more than just the maintenance of resource flows; it requires that members of a community come to some sort of agreement about the shared interests that override their individual ones and depends on having in place the social organization that is based in a framework that helps to facilitate social consensus and peace. Together, peace and sustainable development can be realized only within the context of specific communities, working towards specific goals. This does not mean that global peace or governments are irrelevant; they are a very necessary part of a comprehensive formula. But, unless both social peace and projects of sustainable development are conceptualized and implemented in these terms, and strive to be inclusive and democratic, they will be hard put to succeed. In this paper, I discuss both concepts and offer two cases of communities working toward sustainable development.
Portions of this paper have previously appeared in: Ronnie D. Lipschutz, "Wasn't the Future Wonderful?
Resources, Environment, and the Emerging Myth of Global Sustainable Development," Colorado Journal of
International Environmental Law and Policy 2, #1 (Winter 1991):35-5; Ronnie Lipschutz, "Conflict Prevention
and Resolution: General Principles and Recent Cases," pp. 586-98, in: Proceedings of the 42nd Pugwash
Conference on Science and World Affairs, Shaping Our Common Future: Dangers and Opportunities (Singapore:
World Scientific, 1994); Ronnie D. Lipschutz, "The Environmental Consequences of Social Conflict: A Taxonomy
of Concepts and Alternatives," Prepared for a Meeting of the U.S. SCOPE Committee, University of California,
Berkeley, November 16, 1995; Ronnie D. Lipschutz, Global Civil Society and Global Environmental Government-
-The Politics of Nature from Place to Planet (Albany: SUNY Press, 1996 in press).
There once was a farmer who thought he was spending too much for food for his donkey. So he decided to try an experiment in self-reliance. He reasoned that if he gradually weaned the donkey off food, he could save an enormous amount of money, and the donkey would never notice that it was getting less and less to eat each day. The project was a success until the last day, when the farmer did not feed the donkey at all. The ungrateful wretch promptly died.
Since the term was first brought to the public's attention in 1980 by the IUCN, sustainable
development has generated a voluminous literature--supportive, skeptical and critical--as well as a host of projects and programs intended to make it more than just an idealistic concept.1 In the course of its travels, however, sustainable development has been largely stripped of whatever radicalism might have inhered originally in concept and practice, inasmuch as the political implications of implementing true sustainability have proved too much for the world as it is today. In other words, sustainable development has moved from the realm of idealization to that of essentially-contested concepts, and has thus become the football of competing ideologies. This does not mean that the term is useless or empty of meaning; only that we must define it carefully before we try to apply it to real world situations.
The concept of peace suffers from a similar problem. Peace arrives at the end of every war, but is peace simply the absence of war? Could the world be at peace but its citizens not? Does peace require, as some have suggested, conditions of justice and equity, so that structural violence is not being perpetrated on those who are weak or poor? Is the absence of conflict a necessary condition for peace? Certainly, the United States is at peace with most of the world's countries, yet we might hesitate for a moment if asked whether conditions of "real" peace were to be found within our cities.
In this paper, I argue that the conditions necessary to link "peace" to "sustainable development" are much more complex than many take them to be. "Sustainable economic growth," sometimes put forth as the sine qua non for sustainable development, is not enough, especially if it serves to increase economic and political inequities and damage the environment. By the same token, the absence of war is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for peace, inasmuch as an ostensible peace can be no more than a cover for continuing and deeply-rooted conditions of injustice and injury within societies and between countries. None of this is meant to suggest that there are versions of sustainable development that can proceed without peace; rather, it is to argue that some forms of sustainability might actually exacerbate conflict while some forms of peace might not facilitate sustainability. I begin the paper with an examination of the notion of peace, and why it must be clearly defined if we are to apply it usefully. I then provide a general overview of the concept of sustainable development and some of the
contradictions inherent in the concept. In the third section of the paper, using several case studies, I discuss how we might link peace with sustainability and turn our conceptualizations into practice.
II. Peace: Small, round green vegetable?
Let us turn, then, to consideration of the concept of "peace." What is it? Kenneth Boulding once wrote:
The concept of peace has both positive and negative aspects. On the positive side, peace signifies a condition of good management, orderly resolution of conflict, harmony associated with mature relationships, gentleness, and love. On the negative side, it is conceived as the absence of something--the absence of turmoil, tension, conflict and war.
From the perspective of those that international relations theory calls "realists," peace is best described as the absence of violence among states, an interregnum between wars when the balance of power prevents adversaries from attacking one another. As we know from experience, such a state of affairs is not necessarily conducive to domestic tranquility, equity or justice. Indeed, many policies, practices and conditions that facilitate internal conflict and injustice can be rationalized by reference to an external Threat that must be kept at bay. Thus, during the Cold War (or "Long Peace," as John Lewis Gaddis has stylized it), both sides thought nothing of supporting allies and clients whose modus operandi at home were violent and oppressive, and whose territory was suitable for proxy wars. Consequently, as in Angola and Mozambique, vast areas were turned into graveyards and deserts, facilitating the sustainability of death. Given the veritable explosion of domestic conflicts since 1989--by some estimates, there may have been more than 40, resulting in more than one million deaths--it is clear that, even as we are experiencing global peace, peace is not present within many countries around the world.
It is important to remember, however, that wars capture our attention by simple virtue of their being out of the ordinary; we rarely recognize just how uncommon war is. Boulding thought this a positive thing. He diagrammed the relationship between war and peace, and conflict and non-conflict, as seen in Figure 1, in order to make the point that war comprises only a small part of all human activities.
Most of the time, he argued, only a very small fraction of the world's population is, some how, implicated in war. The vast majority of human activities are peaceful, although some fraction of those do involve "conflict," which has to do with situations "in which we are conscious that an increase in our welfare may diminish the welfare of others or an increase in the welfare of others may diminish our welfare." Boulding was particularly interested in how societies engaged in cold war might achieve a condition of "stable peace" among them. This, he thought, would involve a situation whereby their mutual activities would, first, reinforce positive relations between them and, second, channel their activities so as to reinforce these relations. In other words, he wanted to regularize conflict.
The concept of conflict is one that is generally used with great alacrity and carelessness. As has often been observed, politics is fundamentally conflictual because, in David Apter's words, it is about the "authoritative allocation of values." Social conflict involves disagreements among individuals, groups or societies about the fundamental rules governing their relations as well as their relationships to the resources (including power and wealth) which they both possess or to which they have access (i.e., property rights). Where there is disagreement over values, and where the authority or legitimacy of the system for choosing among values is open to easy challenge or weak, we are likely to find conflict. Such conflicts may or may not escalate into violence or war. What accounts for the difference?
The American political system is, for example, quite open to contending views presented in a broad range of public settings (legislative, media, public places) and is, thus, fairly conflictual. But its political institutions are, for the most part, fairly robust, with the result that conflict is highly patterned and institutionalized and tends to generate repeated and predictable outcomes. We have only a few examples of societies where values are so broadly held, and institutions are so widely accepted without question, that there is little dissent or conflict. Japan and Singapore are often held up as exemplars--because, some say, of "Confucian values"--but these appear to be exceptions rather than the rule. They are highly homogenous in ethnic and social terms, and moral order is an authoritative value. In those societies where institutions are weak or under internal assault (for whatever reason), such conflicts are less easily addressed and might be resolved only through violence or intimidation.
Although societies are conventionally seen as more-or-less coterminous with the states which they occupy, states are really fairly complex cultural agglomerations that experience periods of social stability and political regularity, during which value conflicts are relatively low, interspersed with periods when such conflicts increase in number and intensity. It is during these latter periods that violence may erupt and domestic peace brought to an end. The reasons for such cycles are complex and beyond the scope of this paper--both internal and external factors play a role--but the pattern seems to be fairly common.
Generally speaking, we can characterize conflicts over the fundamental ordering principles of a society as being constitutive in nature. By this, I mean that they are, essentially, constitutional, involving fundamental questions about membership in a society, citizenship in a state, and the rights and obligations that follow.2 So, for example, most ethnic conflict has to do with the constitutive basis of state or society: Who belongs and on what terms? Civil wars often have this character--what will be the fundamental rules on which society will be based?--although as often they simply involve different members of the same social class fighting over political control.3 Once basic questions of membership have been answered and broadly accepted, the design of governing institutions and implementation of policies follow, albeit, perhaps, with considerable disagreement. But getting to the first step is, quite clearly, no easy task. More to the point, many societies seem to be falling into constitutive conflict, with no resolution in sight. And these are the places where the environment and social welfare are at greatest risk and the prospects for any development, let alone that of the sustainable kind, are minimal.
Societies that are not suffering from constitutive conflict, and have reasonably well-functioning political institutions, nonetheless do experience social conflict, but it is generally distributive in nature. Distributive conflicts presume that the terms of citizenship or membership have been settled and only the division of resources and entitlements among society's members is at issue. Thus, in a society in which the rules of political membership and process are widely accepted, the procedures for the distribution of resources and property rights to them are also likely to be well-institutionalized (although always open to legislative or judicial revision). There will be rules for proposing and passing legislation, for implementing policy, and for gaining access to or ownership of resources, financial or other. Some may win and others may lose, but all accept the rules as legitimate. To put this another way, property rights are constitutive, contracts are distributive. Entitlements are constitutive, the size of the check is distributive. Public lands are constitutive, wilderness vs. ranching is distributive. Where, however, the very system of making rules and laws are under attack, institutions lose legitimacy and the ability to implement policies, even well-regarded ones, will be limited, at best.
This taxonomic differentiation among types of conflict suggests why economic development does not always work as a conflict-reducing strategy, and also raises important questions about the actualization of concepts such as sustainable development. Liberal theories and strategies of development focus on expanding the pie, on making more material resources and financial rewards available to all, without consideration of the basis on which such distribution is taking place. But, to revise somewhat the old clichˇ, a rising tide raises only those ships without holes in their hulls.
Societies characterized by social and political inequality as a result of constitutive discrimination are
unlikely to be "without holes in their hulls" so long as some groups are visibly better off than others, and appear to be maintaining that lead. Liberal development policies stress efficiency, rather than equity, in the hope that distribution will, somehow, take care of itself (preferably through "trickle down" rather than redistribution). If, however, society's rules and laws are rigged constitutively against some parties and in favor of others, this is a faint hope. A "real" peace must take these elements into account.
III. Sustainable development & its discontents
Let us turn, next, to sustainable development. There is no denying that the concept is an attractive one. It implies, on the one hand, a commitment to sustainability of the biosphere, that is,
protection of the planet's environmental resources. On the other hand, the term suggests the desira
bility of the continued development and improvement of the human condition. As a consequence, the notion of sustainable development has developed a broad constituency, including actors as diverse as multinational oil companies and transnational environmental coalitions, presidents, prime ministers, and party chairman, and UN Commissions. But, there remain serious questions that have yet to be addressed in discussions of sustainable development: given existing political institutions and realities, can sustainable development be achieved without addressing the underlying conditions of social conflict, as discussed above?
As intelligent observers, it is easy for us to see the flaw the farmer's experiment, described at the beginning of this paper. He was trying to make the donkey subsist on internal resources alone, and his effort might be viewed as one to instill the spirit and substance of "sustainable development" and self-reliance into the donkey, by reducing its dependence on external sources of food. Unfortunately, the example is not so far-fetched. Similar experiments were tried in real life--in Cambodia, in Romania, in North Korea--with disastrous consequences.
For many thousands of years, of course, the human condition was not very different from these experiments. Societies subsisted on the resources they were, alone, able to find and exploit, or they died. The difference was that those which survived had found ways to address social as well as material matters. Even though they might have been quite oppressive, tradition and authority kept them going. Today, societies are usually too populous and closely "crowded" to be entirely self-sufficient, and interdependence and exchange make it possible to survive and, often, to far exceed subsistence levels of consumption. Indeed, it is this very interdependence that, I would argue, makes the concept of sustainable development plausible, for without the possibility of such exchange, we might condemn millions to poverty or death. Given these and other contradictions, what can the concept mean?
It has, so far, proved extremely difficult to define with any precision. Surveys of the literature suggest the term to be more like a "Humpty Dumpty" word than a well-defined concept.4 Richard Norgaard proposes no less than five different definitions, depending on the level of analysis under consideration.
If sustainable development is to be achieved, we will have to devise institutions, at all levels of government, to reallocate the use of stock resources toward the future, curb the pace and
disruption of global climatic changes, reverse the accumulation of toxics in the environment,
and slow the loss of biological diversity.5 But he fails to suggest what these institutions might look like, or how they could be constructed. And, he hardly acknowledges, in this article, the conflicts likely to arise from these necessary changes to the social order. Another thoughtful critique of the concept by David Simon wrestles with the implications of others' definitions, without offering a concise one of its own. Simon concludes:
An historically sensitive political perspective is proposed as most appropriate for embracing not only the more traditional ecological and economic aspects but also the crucial political factors
underlying uneven development and underdevelopment in the age of an increasingly integrated
global economic system. Although we now have a fairly sophisticated theoretical
understanding of sustainable development, appropriate methodologies and techniques for
translating this into practice are still required.
The Brundtland Commission, collective author of what is surely the most publicized, if not
definitive, notion of sustainable development, found in Our Common Future, begs the question by
Humanity has the ability to make development sustainable--to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
The concept of sustainable development does imply limits--not absolute limits but limitations
imposed by the present state of technology and social organizations on environmental
resources and by the ability of the biosphere to absorb the effects of human activities.
Additionally, according to the Commission, sustainable development "contains within it two key
- the concept of `needs', in particular the essential needs of the world's poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and
- the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the
environment's ability to meet present and future needs.
All definitions of sustainable development thus more or less hew to the broad notion that
human consumption of resources and environmental services must be sustainable in not exceeding the capacity of the biosphere/environment--possibly in conjunction with technology and social or
ganization--to supply those resources or absorb waste products. That is, "natural" stocks and flows of goods and services must not be degraded or damaged to the point that they collapse or disappear. At the same time, the concept of development implies some degree of improvement in human standards of living--not necessarily unfettered economic growth in the classical sense, but some sort of growth, nonetheless. To the extent that this growth is dependent on consumption of resources and services, how are limits to be reconciled with growth?
As indicated by the Brundtland Commission, and repeated in Agenda 21, the guidelines for the UN Commission on Sustainable Development that emerged from the UN Conference on Environment and Development in 1992, one possibility is that "new" technologies might be utilized to improve the efficiency and efficacy of consumption, or to provide the required services, while placing less of a burden on the environment.6 Similarly, greater reliance on renewable resources--sun, water, wind--and afforestation to supply energy needs--are posited as means of slowing the depletion of non-renewable resources. While these are certainly necessary conditions for sustainability, they are not sufficient for the reason that reliance on hardware alone does not take into account the problem of "social organization."
Social organization can be thought of as the matrix of rules, procedures, and relationships that exist among the individuals living in a society. These rules, procedures, and relationships apply not
only to the members of the community, however, they also have to do with linkages between the
community and the political, economic, and natural environments within which that community exists. This includes, as well, the material methods that the society uses to accomplish its goals.
Consequently, neither "environment" nor "technology" are independent or autonomous variables;
outside of the framework of the community's social organization, they have no "real" existence (this does not mean that they do not exist, of course, but that the society itself defines what is a "resource" or a "technology").
In other words, the problems facing us in any effort to achieve sustainability cannot be simply addressed through the applications of new technologies. Moreover, the problems cannot be dealt with by societies acting unilaterally, either, since none of them are isolated from each other, either ecologically or economically. While it was once possible to speak of independent societies, with few or no outside contacts, this has been a rare condition for the past several millennia. All communities have some degree of exchange across their boundaries. This implies that, although communities might be able to stabilize their consumption of resources and services, they almost never exist within a closed cycle.
From these observations, it follows that there are several inherent contradictions between
pursuit of the general concept of "sustainable development" at all levels and the differential distribution of resource endowments, requirements, and technology around the world, both at the present time and, in all likelihood, into the future. These contradictions are particularly troubling if we set our sights on the same goals as the Brundtland Commission: Eliminating poverty while sustaining the planetary biosphere (and, it might be added, fostering real peace). It is not that these goals are necessarily incompatible but, rather, that they will be very difficult to reconcile if we also wish to foster both constitutive and distributive social peace.
Three contradictions, in particular, stand out. First, there is a contradiction of geography: if we require high levels of local self-reliance as one element of sustainable development, there is likely to be a disjuncture between the boundaries of the environmental/ecological units that supply goods and services and the borders of existing units of political and economic jurisdiction. Second, there is a contradiction of exchange: because sustainability will be possible only if societies possess the capabilities to use environmental endowments effectively, there will have to be transfers of technology, resources, and goods among nations. And third, there is a contradiction of politics: global sustainable development will not be possible without major changes in global patterns of consumption, a requirement that implies major social and behavioral changes in the North.
These three contradictions are not the only ones that cloud the concept of sustainable devel
opment, but they must be dealt with if the concept is to be made meaningful. They also highlight both the conceptual and practical difficulties of making sustainable development something that can be implemented in the real world. So far, as evidenced by debates within the UN Commission on
Sustainable Development, there is a great deal of rhetoric and, as yet, only a limited amount of action. Much that has been tried has been small-scale and under-financed and not clearly suited to a global industrial civilization. Sustainable development on a large scale will, in the long run, require massive infusions of funds and technology from wealthier to poorer countries, as well as a major transition to some sort of post-industrial or much more efficient civilization. This is a project that will take decades. In the meantime, what should we do?
IV. Linking Peace to Sustainability: From Conceptualization to Practice
There is no global solution: Neither social peace nor sustainable practices can be legislated
from above. Rather, they must be imagined and implemented in the places where people constitute
their daily lives, where they live and work. It is here that many of the conditions contributing to social conflict and violence originate and must be redressed, and where the constitutive and distributive rules governing their activities and people's relationships to economy and environment must be addressed. A practical approach to sustainable development demands direct and constant engagement with both the material conditions of a community's existence and the relationship of that community to the wider world. This is only possible if "sustainable development" is both democratic in its formulation and equitable in its implementation. Linking peace with sustainability requires, therefore, that we reinsert politics into our everyday lives and eschew simple-minded solutions, such as "let the market do it," to complex problems.
Where do we begin? It is important to recognize that the circumstances that lead to social conflict and violence are rooted in the histories and political economies of societies as well as communities and their institutions. To be sure, as I have noted above, in today's world no place is an island and no community is isolated from larger influences. But, although the legal bases contributing to conditions of structural violence may originate far away, such an absence of peace manifests itself in relationships among people in specific places. This suggests that we must seek ways to foster new practices and institutions in those places. I offer here two cases--one in California, the other in Hungary, by way of partial illustration. Both leave unanswered a number of questions--including whether they are socially sustainable over the long term--but they begin to get at the local problematic that I suggest is central to linking peace with sustainability.
The Mattole River: Salmon and sustainability
The Mattole River on the "Lost Coast" of California is a rather short one. It rises in the forests at the base of the King Mountain Range, which runs parallel to the coastline, travels a distance of not much more than 60 miles through the counties of Mendocino and Humboldt, and reaches the Pacific Ocean near the small town of Petrolia, south of Cape Mendocino. The entire Mattole watershed of perhaps 300 square miles falls within two different counties and districts of the California Department of Fish and Game and is inhabited by no more than 3,000 people.8 Most of the land in the watershed is privately owned, although some 12% is within the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) 52,000 acre King Range Conservation Area.9
Historically, the economy of the area has been dependent on logging, fishing and ranching, the ranches having been established late in the 19th century. The area experienced an influx of "new people" beginning in the 1960s, with an especially large number arriving during the late 1970s. The cash flowing into the region from marijuana cultivation, a cultural renaissance and an influx of individuals engaged in craft-based and other types of work created something of an economic boom throughout Northern California, but created cultural friction between "old-timers" and "newcomers."10 It is somewhat surprising then that, in addition to its beauty, tranquility and remoteness, the Mattole River Valley has also acquired a reputation for the cooperative ventures of its citizens--ranchers, fishers and environmentalists--working together toward restoration of the river's largely-depleted chinook salmon runs.
By the late 1970s, the salmon run in the Mattole River was in serious decline. In the early
1980s, a number of the "new" arrivals in the region established the Mattole Watershed Salmon Support Group, a private, non-profit organization whose goal was the restoration of the chinook salmon runs. Among the group's founders were Freeman House and Dan Weaver, two advocates of bioregionalism, as well as several individuals with technical training in ecology and fisheries biology. The group went about its work very systematically. It surveyed salmon populations, spawning grounds and nests. It looked for existing and potential causes of fishery decline. The group did whatever possible to maintain or restore salmon habitat in the river, including establishment of "homemade hatching and rearing facilities."11 During the course of the group's work, it became clear that one of the major sources of damage to the fishery was erosion and the deposition of sediment into the river, via landslides, from road maintenance and activities associated with ranching. This meant that salmon restoration had to move "out of the stream and up on the hillside."
Consequently, in 1986, some of the local activists established the Mattole Restoration Council, which based its program on bioregionalism and took the watershed as its broader focus. It emphasized improvement of fish habitat and passage, reduction of sedimentation and restoration of vegetation, where possible. Inevitably, perhaps, the Council's analyses and pinpointing of the causes of degradation, and the necessary responses, brought it into conflict with local landowners. These individuals saw the Council not only as a hotbed of environmental radicalism but also as a threat to their property rights.
In January 1991, a regional meeting was arranged, at the behest of the Council, to discuss how erosion into and sedimentation in the Mattole River was affecting the salmon fishery. The meeting was, by all reports, a "hot and heavy" encounter between ranchers and activists.12 Still, discussions continued and participants later set up a new committee that included Council members as well as six local ranchers. It excluded all governmental agencies except the BLM which, as a land-holder in the watershed, later joined. Discussions within the committee proved, in the words of one Petrolia resident, to be "transformative."13 Another public meeting was then held at the Mattole Grange in April 1991, during which restoration of the salmon proved to be the issue around which the very divergent interests of ranchers, environmentalists, and others could converge. During that meeting, the Mattole Watershed Alliance (MWA), with broader membership than the Restoration Council, was established.
Between 1980 and mid-1994, the Council, Salmon Group and Alliance undertook 34 restor
ation projects in the watershed, two-thirds of which were funded by state agencies and non-govern
mental environmental organizations such as the Coastal Conservancy (although there were, and
continue to be, internal disagreements about the propriety of accepting governmental funds for these projects. These groups' roles in the Mattole Valley represent a mutually-transformative process of both community and government: The community, in finding the basis for collective action and addressing issues of social conflict, and the state government, in recognizing the possibility of and necessity for local involvement in environmental restoration, governance and sustainability. To some degree, the efforts of these organizations reflect the evolution of both the constitutive and distributive elements of the political economy of the area, as long-time residents are joined by newcomers, some of whom make their livings in non-traditional ways. The Mattole Watershed Alliance came to be seen as representative of all stakeholders within the watershed, and not only environmentalists or lumber companies or ranchers. While the Mattole watershed has not become a zone of "sustainable development," the activities of its residents do point the way toward the kinds of actions needed to make connections between social peace and sustainability.
The Ormánság: Culture and political economy
Another effort to foster sustainable development can be found in attempts to revive parts of the historical political economy of a small part of Hungary called the Ormánság, lying around the
confluence of the Danube and Dráva Rivers. The Ormánság region encompasses approximately 600 square kilometers in the southwestern part of the country, with a total population of some 18,000 people living in 46 villages. Historically, the region was the site of what is now called the "water culture," a mode of production and life centered on the flood zones of the two rivers.14 Much of this highly-localized mode of production disappeared decades ago. Today, the Ormánság is an ethnically-mixed area, including not only ethnic Hungarians but Croatians, Germans and Gypsies, as well.
In recent decades, the proximity of the area to the border with Yugoslavia (now Croatia),
whose relations with Warsaw Pact countries were rather poor, kept it peripheral and "underdevel
oped." On the one hand, this means that the region has been less affected by the "hyper-
industrialization" that occurred in other parts of the country, although it has undergone major
ecological alteration dating back to the mid-19th century, as a result of water-diversion projects. On the other hand, it has made the region a "territory of poor people and Gipsies [sic]," with mono-cultural, chemical-intensive agriculture, industrial-style animal husbandry and deteriorating soil and environment.
Under the aegis of a regionally-based organization called the Ormánság Foundation, which
draws for many of its ideas and projects on sources elsewhere in Hungary and the world, a cooperative effort is underway with the towns and villages in the region to restore some semblance of the historical landscape and culture. These efforts involve agriculture, animal husbandry, local infrastructural development, ecotourism and, most critically, hands-on environmental education and restoration. With funding from several ministries of the Hungarian government and in-country sources (the latter supported by the European Union and the German Marshall Fund of the United States), as well as foundations in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, the Ormánság Foundation has become involved in developing a regionalized "rural sustainable development programme." The goals of the Foundation, according to its literature, are to contribute:
- to the growth of territorial independence of the Ormánság, its development as a whole
- to long-term preservation (preventing deterioration and depletion of resources in the
- to the development of a habitat, appropriate and enjoyable for the inhabitants
- to the development of a culture and life-style corresponding with [sic] the sustainable state
To these ends, the Foundation has established nine separate projects. These include: an
"ecological culture" school, in a building donated by the village of Drávafok to the Foundation, which is rehabilitating it; an organic demonstration farm and collaboration with local farming units to implement organic farming techniques; a project to ensure "basic subsistence for gypsies without depletion of local resources" through farming, animal husbandry and industrial-handicraft workshops; a landscape preservation project for the benefit of the region's inhabitants as well as "eco-tourists"; a "living" floodplain museum, dedicated to illustrating the region's "water culture" through demonstration projects; and an "organizing project" to foster the creation of local grass-roots groups and to establish a framework for providing management advice and helping in regional fundraising.
In this last category, the Foundation has also helped to establish groups such as the Ormánság Development Association, which includes 25 local governments, private enterprises, associations and foundations, and is oriented toward raising funds for the improvement of local infrastructure. Launching these projects have required extensive negotiations among the leaders and inhabitants of the region on ways to use the frameworks already in place, but adapting them to sustainable modes of production and reproduction. This is being accomplished through a clearly-defined regional focus, attempts to integrate Nature with livelihood and culture, and the goal of fostering "capital conservation" by retaining as much of the natural capital stock as possible in the region while also exporting services, such as ecotourism.
As is true of many similar efforts around the world, the projects in the Mattole and Ormánság are still in relatively early stages of development and, so, their ultimate success is by no means assured. More than most, these two projects rely on cultural-historical and political economy aspects of their regions to generate legitimacy and some degree of social consensus as a means of establishing sustainability. More to the point, the participants in these projects view their communities not simply as ecological zones but ones whose form was, in the past, and will be, in the future, shaped by political economy, culture and history.
This suggests a very important conclusion: unless both social peace and projects of sustainable development are conceptualized and implemented in these terms, and strive to be inclusive and democratic, they will be hard put to succeed. Peace is not simply bringing an end to war: Its sustainability also depends on a social consensus over the terms of peace. Sustainable development is not simply making the resources last: Its depends on having in place the social organization that is based in a framework that helps to facilitate social consensus and peace. This does not mean, of course, that global peace or governments are irrelevant; they are a very necessary part of a comprehensive formula. It does mean, however, that if sustainable development is to become more than a mantra, it must address the specific needs of people in specific communities through their own collective and collaborative efforts
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