For UN, Brazil’s Biofuel Model is a Win, Win, Win Strategy

Brazilian biofuel Brazil's experience on biofuels development strategy is considered to be a model . This according to the adjunct secretary general of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad), Laksmi Puri, relater of plenary Biofuels and International Market: commercial rules, technical issues and social-environmental standards, held November 19 in the city of São Paulo.

"We analyzed the Brazilian model so as to see in which countries it might be reproduced. The use of biofuels as we imagine it is a win, win, win strategy. The environment wins, the commerce wins, and development wins too," said Puri.

The biofuels sector, according to Puri, is a great opportunity, because it is new and dynamic. "What we are doing is try and help developing countries. We help nations to choose the correct model, and all of that needs to go hand in hand with food security," he said.

According to the relater, the commercial system must be open. "The rules and policies of the WTO (World Trade Organization) are still too local. There must also be a revision of taxes on some markets, as well as the issue of subsidies, which lead to an even greater imbalance between wealthy nations and developing ones," she said.

"Agroenergy and biofuels represent a shift in paradigms, a coming together of different people, setting new guidelines for sustainable development and peace promotion," said Roberto Rodrigues, president of the Superior Agribusiness Council at the Federation of Industries of the State of São Paulo (Fiesp) and former Brazilian minister of Agriculture.

According to Rodrigues, there is a widespread consensus regarding the need for seeking understanding among those interested in production of biofuel, which is not a commodity yet, therefore has no international pricing.

"The whole issue involves various aspects. It has to do with institutional models, technology, mandatory mixing of ethanol, and it also involves the logistical and infrastructure issue, as well as tariff-related issues," he said.

Global Warming

"Global warming is a general concern. We must discuss the problem to the maximum. We are holding meetings in Brazil and in South America seeking sustainability standards, with more jobs, more opportunities. We are developing standards for biofuels production with all of the known players involved," said Charlotte Opal, head of secretariat for the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels of the Lausanne Federal Polytechnics School, in Switzerland.

To the president at the São Paulo Sugarcane Agroindustry Union (Unica), Marcos Jank, the world currently faces two problems: oil scarcity and global warming.

"Presently, there are over 50 forums discussing biofuels around the world. The matter is so present because it stands on social, environmental and economic pillars," said Jank.

"We have people working in the United States and in Brussels. We have developed folders and ads in newspapers and magazines. We receive approximately 340 requests for interviews a day. The new thing is that Europe and the United States have decided to invest in the segment," he said.

With regard to the rules for trade, Corrado Clini, director general for Research and Development at the Ministry of Environment of Italy, claimed that we must use the rationale of global warming, of climate change, so as to change the rules of the WTO concerning biofuels.

According to him, it is still difficult to introduce bioenergy into a national conference. "And this is not just a matter of information, it is a political issue," he said.

As to sustainability, Clini claimed that consensus must be reached in order for a global market to be built. "It takes a global movement for lands to be used in a way that will reduce CO2 emissions. I hope that the European Union and Brazil will be able to create a common market in which to work. We are unable to meet the goal of 10% reduction by 2020 and we are going to need to import. That is good news to Brazil," he ensured.

The International Conference on Biofuels started last Monday, November 17, and will close this Friday (November 21) at the Hyatt Hotel, in the city of São Paulo.

Delegations from 92 countries participated, and approximately 3,000 have enrolled in order to watch the debates. The meeting is a contribution to the international discussion on the challenges and opportunities posed by biofuels, and is an important occasion for approaching, in an objective manner, issues pertaining to biofuels, such as energy security, sustainable production and use, agriculture, industrial processing, as well as issues pertaining to specifications and technical standards, international trade, climate change and the future of biofuels.

The meeting is attended by government officials, international organizations, parliament members, the scientific and academic community, the civil society and NGOs, among others. All of the UN member countries were invited.

The conference was organized by the Interministerial Working Group, integrated by the Ministry of Foreign Relations; the Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration; the Ministry of Mines and Energy; the Ministry of Agriculture; the Ministry of Environment; the Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade; the Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Ministry of Agrarian Development.

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