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Environmental, Campaign & Website News > IMF Policies Lead to Global Deforestation

IMF Policies Lead to Global Deforestation

Date : 29th Jan 2002, Source : Newsgroup

Contact: Jason Tockman, American Lands Alliance 740-594-5441
Steve Holmer, American Lands Alliance 202-547-9105

Analysis of financial institution's loan programs exposes forest loss


Washington, DC - American Lands Alliance today released a report detailing the dramatic impact that the loans and policies of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are having on forests around the world. The analysis found IMF complicity with deforestation in 15 countries of Africa, Latin America and Asia, including Brazil, Indonesia, Russia, Cameroon and Chile.

"The IMF's formula of promoting export-led growth and foreign investment, while simultaneously pressuring countries to slash funding for environmental programs, has been a recipe for accelerated deforestation in more than a dozen countries," said Jason Tockman, director of American Lands Alliance's International Trade Program and author of the report.

Under "structural adjustment programs" or SAPs, the IMF demands that client countries undertake a series of policy changes as a precondition for agency loans sought by countries seeking to avoid defaulting on debt payments to international lenders. Through these SAPs, the IMF has effectively realigned global economic relationships into an integrated, investor-friendly system. As detailed in IMF: Funding Deforestation, the forests of many countries have been devastated by these policies.

Excerpts from IMF: Funding Deforestation:

  • "The record shows that funding for environmental programs has been hampered by the significant cuts in government spending imposed by the IMF."

  • "Displacement of communities, devaluation of certain currencies, elimination of social services, and other IMF-driven downward pressures on the living standards of the poor have caused increased incursion into forests for the extraction of resources for survival, including wood for fuel and homes."

  • "The IMF prioritizes economic liberalization measures over key social and environmental objectives."

The report recommends a series of steps to reverse the IMF's negative impact on world forest resources, including the abandonment of the policies that are linked to deforestation, adoption of environmentally sensitive guiding principles, and assessments of the environmental impacts of loan programs. Greater transparency, debt cancellation for poor countries, attention to the issues of illegal logging and poaching, and elimination of government subsidies linked to forest loss are also called for in the report.

Countries analyzed in IMF: Funding Deforestation: Brazil, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chile, Ecuador, Ghana, Guyana, Honduras, Indonesia, Ivory Coast/Cote d'Ivoire, Madagascar, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Tanzania.

Document last updated on Wednesday 01 August 2018

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