A conservation framework for Australian development assistance projects

  • William Brown

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    1. It is now generally accepted that conservation is an important consideration for developing countries. (1 .1 & 1.2)
    2. This has been made clear in the World conservation Strategy, published in 1980, which sets out the essential link between conservation and development. Three conservation objectives are identified:
    - Maintenance of essential ecological processes
    - Preservation of genetic diversity
    - Ensuring sustainable utilisation of species and ecosystems (1.3)
    3. Foreign aid donors have recognised the importance of conservation considerations in their aid programs. The World Bank has had an environmental program since 1970 and USAID since 1975. The emphasis has shifted from the environmental impact of projects towards projects intended to bring conservation benefits. Interest has recently been directed toward biological diversity and wildlands. (1.4)
    4. Although Australia has significant expertise in conservation, only in the last couple of years has interest in the conservation aspects of Australia's development assistance program been expressed. Australian support for the World Conservation Strategy indicates that conservation concerns should be included in the aid program. (1.5)
    5. conservation and environmental assessment should be an integral part of the processes of project appraisal and evaluation. The techniques used in appraisal and evaluation such as the logical framework and cost benefit analysis can be linked to environmental assessment. (chapter 2)
    6. Many environmental guidelines are available, however these should not be used directly for project appraisal and evaluation but rather to assist in the preparation of project specific terms of reference. (2.6)
    7. The intensification of some farming systems damages the ecological processes on which they depend and hence reduces productivity. Other farming systems can be intensified without ecological damage. The challenge is to ensure that When farming is to be intensified it can be done without adverse ecological consequences. (3.1, 3.2)
    8. constraints on the adoption of sustainable fanning systems include the perceptions, attitudes and knowledge of the society affected, economic limitations and problems of land tenure. (3.3)
    9. Foreign aid donors can make a contribution towards establishing sustainable fanning systems but past project designs have often not been well suited to conservation. (3.4)
    10 . Projects can be developed with conservation goals which will conserve the land, improve subsistence fanning and assist with economic production.
    There are three stages in these projects:
    - Identify the causes of land degradation and the constraints to countering them.
    - Develop and demonstrate appropriate farming systems
    - Extension (3.5)
    11. A project is likely to have a greater impact if it leads to the adoption of appropriate conservation techniques over a region than if it intensively ~roves a restricted project area. A project must therefore seek to develop techniques which will be adopted without subsidy. (3.4, 3.5)
    12 . The Australian projects in northern Thailand have successfully demonstrated fanning systems which would reduce erosion but these have yet to be adopted on a significant scale by the population in the region. (4.2)
    13. The NTT Livestock Development Project in Timor has not yet had sufficient time to demonstrate suitable farming systems but it is expected that such systems can be developed. (4.3)
    14. In Sikka, Flores, Indonesia, the widespread planting of contour hedgerows of leucaena has brought substantial conservation benefits. The key factors in the adoption of this practice appear to have been that the technique was readily undertaken by farmers, it increases crop yields and that there was strong support from the local administration. (4.3)
    15 . It should be possible to introduce conservation farming systems to a region in a period of about ten years. If success is to be achieved it is essential that practices be capable of being adopted without subsidy, that the introduction get strong support from the local administration and that there be a vigorous extension campaign.
    16. It is recommended that:
    - Australia should have an explicit policy on conservation and development assistance based on our commitment to the world conservation strategy. (5.1)
    - ADAB should have its focus of conservation within the appraisals and evaluations area. ( 5.2)
    - ADAB should incorporate conservation considerations throughout the project cycle. (5.3)
    - The cost benefit guidelines provided by ADAB should be amended to include conservation considerations. (5.4)
    - ADAB should support and encourage conservation projects and should seek to develop projects which will have a conservation impact throughout the relevant region. (5.5)
    - ADAB should cooperate with other agencies in its activities on conservation and development. In particular we should play an active role in OECD activities relating to environment and development. (5.6)
    Date of Award1986
    Original languageEnglish

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