Foreign creditors must cut Latin nations' high monthly payments on the region's $400 billion foreign debt before developing countries can stop environmental destruction, Latin officials said Saturday.
A two-day U.N. environmental meeting, attended by Cabinet ministers and ecologists from 32 countries, ended Saturday with the signing of a collective statement."The debt cannot be paid under the present conditions without increasing the hunger and misery of our people or . . . the degradation of our environment," the document said.
According to the declaration, the region must "reverse the negative transfer of resources that has turned developing countries into capital exporters to industrialized countries."
Latin nations last year paid $29 billion in interest to foreign creditors, the ministers said. Brazil, the developing world's largest creditor, pays $1 billion monthly in interest on its $115 billion foreign debt.
The ministers called for new aid from international agencies such as the World Bank to help fund environmental protection projects.
Industrialized nations have an obligation to use financial and technological resources to reverse deterioration of the world's environment, the declaration said.