The Continental Amazon will be the theme of the VIII Meeting of Foreign Ministers of Amazon Countries, in Manaus, northern Brazil, on September 14.
The meeting will examine the 2004-2012 Strategic Plan, which will orient the activities of the General Secretariat of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (OTCA). In addition to approving the plan, the chancellors will formulate the Manaus Declaration.
According to the Secretary-General of the OTCA, Rosalia Arteaga, the declaration is expected to address, among other topics, the political strengthening of the organization, the security of the Continental Amazon, and the question of project financing””resources apart from the annual quota of US$ 2 million the organization receives from the member countries.
“Through the political strengthening of the organization, we seek to demonstrate the Secretariat’s capacity to do a more efficient job in the forest itself.
“Besides this, security is another point that should be covered. Brazil is providing an example with its systems of protection and surveillance in the Amazon (Sipam/Sivam),” she emphasized.
According to the Secretary-General, the organization is studying alternative means of sustainability in the region in order to avoid problems like deforestation. These means include biotrade, ecotourism, and payment for environmental services.
The countries that belong to the treaty organization and will be represented by their foreign ministers are: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Surinam, and Venezuela.
The Amazon Cooperation Treaty was signed on July 3, 1978, and in 1995 the member states initiated the establishment of the OTCA and its permanent Secretariat, in Brasília.
The Minister of Environment, Marina Silva, said that Brazil’s National Forest Plan, still to be implemented, can serve as an example to other countries that make up the Amazon region.
Silva said that each OTCA member country’s most successful experiences will serve as examples for the other countries.
The Minister affirmed that one of the goals of the Brazilian program for the Amazon will be to expand the area of sustainable timber management. It is expected that 120 thousand jobs will be created as a result.
“Currently, only 4% of the wood produced in the Amazon comes from good management. We want to expand this good management, and, at the same time, we are putting the final touches on a project for administering public forests,” she affirmed.
According to the Minister, the OTCA countries have been studying the creation of an ecological corredor that crosses international frontiers.
“We will adopt a policy of dialogue when it comes to the sustainable use and protection of biodiversity, along with the associated traditional knowledge.
“We are already working on the transfrontier management of water resources, and we shall discuss the idea of creating ecological corridors that treat the region as a whole, based on the understanding that the biome has no geographical frontiers,” Silva explained.
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