Brazil’s Minister of Environment, Marina Silva, who is participating in an ecological conference (called "ecodialogues") in Iquitos, Peru (1º Ecodiálogo Amazônico and 6º Ecodiálogo Nacional), addressed the gathering Thursday, February 23, on the subject of sustainable development.
Silva presented proposals and reported on successful experiences in the region, specifically Brazilian government plans for the areas around the BR-163 highway and its plan to reduce deforestation,
The BR-163 highway stretches 1,780 kilometers from Cuiabá, in the state of Mato Grosso, to Santarém, in the state of Pará. It begins in the agriculturally rich savannah region of Central West Brazil and moves northward through the Amazon rainforest.
On its way, it passes near a number of major rivers and their basin areas (Teles Pires-Tapajós, Iriri and Xingu) in order to reach Santarém on the banks of the Amazon River.
The highway was begun during the 1970s, when the military ruled Brazil and sought to "integrate" the Amazon region. Although the highway has existed for over 30 years, only around half of it is paved.
Precisely because the highway runs through such a rich and diverse part of the country, ecologically speaking, it has always been controversial among environmentalists.
Other topics that will be discussed at the conference are water resources and their management, biodiversity within the framework of sustainable development in the Peruvian amazon area, investments in environmental projects, international cooperation and the importance of the Amazon in the world and in Peru.