Brazil’s interim Minister of Environment, Claudio Langone, says that one of the biggest challenges faced by Brazil is to incorporate environmental concerns with the country’s development strategy.
In his view, one of the outcomes of the 2nd National Environmental Conference should be a recommendation along these lines. Over 1,500 people are expected in Brasília to discuss the theme, "Integrated environmental policy and sustainable natural resource use," during four days.
"There will certainly be an orientation in the sense of deepening the process of incorporating the environmental dimension into Brazil’s development strategies, so that we can begin a new phase in which the decision-making process involving new development options will incorporate the environmental dimension," Langone argues.
According to the interim Minister, the government has decided to let the environmental question also serve as a guideline in planning the country’s development.
"One of the most important aspects, which is being treated in conjunction with the Ministry of Planning, is that the government has already decided that the next PPA – Pluriannual Plan – which is the cornerstone of government planning policy in Brazil, particularly when it comes to infrastructure – will use the tool of strategic environmental evaluation as a decision-making instrument. This represents a very significant advance."
In Langone’s view, if Brazil fails to perceive the importance of the environmental issue as something basic, "it will be losing a great historical chance."
"There are three countries in the world today that have the chance to enter the bloc of the developed countries," he remarks. "They are Brazil, India, and China. And, in the environmental area, Brazil has incomparable advantages over India and China.
"We need the savvy to avail ourselves of these opportunities, which are not solely opportunities for political insertion in the global context but, most of all, for economic insertion."
The interim Minister observes that in terms of the environment, Brazil’s standards of technological progress and knowledge are similar to those in the world’s principal developed countries.
"In Brazil we don’t face the possibility of disasters like the one that occurred in China recently, where an 80-kilometer long benzene spill appeared in a river that supplies water to a population of 3 million people," he believes.
"In Brazil this would be unthinkable due to the level of technological progress and security possessed by Brazilian industry."
In order for the country to introduce the environmental factor in its development strategies, it is necessary to have a medium and long-term vision, according to Langone.
"Brazil must abandon the craze of short-run thinking and resume thinking in terms of the medium and long run, because every time your thinking is limited to the short run, the environment loses."
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