At the opening of yesterday’s meeting of Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (OTCA) Foreign Ministers, the Brazilian Minister of Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim, defended the security of the Amazon as a priority for countries of the region. “The security of the Amazon is the basic purpose of the Treaty,” he summarized.
In his view, the chief problem of the region is biopiracy. Amorim reports that a quarter of the world’s pharmaceutical products obtained by piracy come from the Amazon, apart from the local formulas and traditional practices that are copied.
The Minister also called for the establishment of a center to observe the conditions of the Amazon region. He believes that France would be the most appropriate country for this site. “We would thus be erecting a physical bridge between Europe and Latin America,” he explains.
Amorim expressed support for an association between the Mercosur and the Andean Community. It would thereby be possible, according to him, to improve transportation, energy, and communication in the region.
“All the Andean countries are Amazonian,” he points out. The Minister ended his remarks with the assurance that mechanisms will be created to include Guyana and Surinam in the Latin American regionalization process.
The Foreign Ministers of the eight member nations of the recently created Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (Organização do Tratado de Cooperação Amazônica) (OTCA), Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guiana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela, are meeting in Manaus to approve policies to bolster information exchange.
The OTCA is considered a fundamental tool in promoting effective cooperation by the Amazon region nations in the area covered by the Amazon Cooperation Treaty of 1978.
Among the items the ministers are examining this week is the Declaration of Manaus which seeks to expand political communications among member nations and boost trade.
Another item is the OTCA Permanent Secretariat Strategic Plan for 2004-2012, which deals with conservation and use of natural resources, regional integration and competitivity, health, education, transportation infrastructure, energy and communications.
Today, as part of the Manaus event, the ministers will inaugurate the II Amazonia International Fair and the First International Seminar on Amazon Regional Integration and Cooperation.