An in-depth critique of the Port of Spain Declaration prepared for the Vth Summit of the Americas, for its failure to address fundamental issues in sustainable development from the perspective of the interests of the Global South. Discusses issues of land degradation,, sustainable agricultural practices, ecology and agroecology, water resource depletion, lessons of the Cuban experience in sustainable growth with equity, developing a culture of sustainability, renewable energy, toxic emissions, nitrous oxide, global warming, deforestatiion, the role of traditional agroecological practices and indigenous knowledge, disaster prevention, food security, intellectual property, biopiracy, cultural heritage, creativity, and the extreme envionmental situation in Haiti. Concludes with, concrete proposals for an Internet discussion of sustainable development practices and policies, forr the Caribbean and initiatives that Caricom can take with respect to Haiti and, at, the upcoming (2010) conference, of the Inter-American Program for Sustainable Development.
I strongly believe that all public policies, actions, and decisions would benefit greatly from a critical examination and that the more searching the examination, the healthier would be the society concerned and the better the quality of its democracy. I also firmly believe that such criticism is useful and valuable to the extent that it is complemented by suggestions or proposals for alternative policies/actions which are demonstrably or, at least, arguably better than those criticized.
A given public policy or action may be criticized for one or more justifiable reasons but unless that policy or action can be shown to be worse than adopting no policy or undertaking no action at all on the particular matter, and if the person who criticizes it is unable to propose feasible alternatives which are demonstrably/arguably better than the one criticized, he/she should acknowledge the possibility that the policy/action in question might be the least worse option available to the authority and, as such, does not merit outright condemnation. I have always tried to apply that principle to any criticism I make on all issues I examine, whether they concern public policy or not. It is a principle that I applied in this paper, which criticizes quite severely many if not most of the policies and actions advocated in the Port of Spain Declaration of Commitment.