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Madagascar moving towards sustainable development: was the preparation of the National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP) a false start?

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Author(s): Jean-Roger Mercier

Journal: Madagascar Conservation & Development
ISSN 1662-2510

Volume: 1;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 50;
Date: 2006;
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Keywords: NEAP | National Environmental Action Plan | Madagascar | sustainable development | hotspot | biodviersity | World Bank

ABSTRACT
In the late 80’s, the World Bank got interested in environmental matters, to the point that a tsunami of a new process (National Environmental Action Plans – NEAPs) swept across the African continent. At that time, Madagascar was still under the rule of Didier Ratsiraka, an iron rule which had started in 1975. A place where biodiversity assets are unique and fascinating, one of the best and hottest hotspots of conservation around the world; but also a place where environmental mismanagement has created severe erosion and water quality problems. What to do when the daily life of the average Malagasy is spent surviving for the very sector sustaining the country’s battling economy? Some of the solutions proposed at the time materialized during the 15 years period since the 1990 adoption by the Malagasy government of the NEAP’s findings and recommendations. Some of the original intentions, however, never were transformed into significant large-scale progress in environmental management. In 2006, Madagascar is still plagued with very serious poverty and environmental degradation problems. Can the lessons learned from the original design and the 15 years of application of the NEAP be useful to help the Malagasy nation move towards more sustainable and equitable development? If the answer is yes, what should the ways and means be?

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