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UN Chief Visits Brazilian Amazon and Calls It Planet’s Common Asset

UN chief meets Indian chief Marcos Aporinam United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon concluded today the South American phase of his latest tour with a visit to the Amazon rainforest and meetings with local indigenous leaders. Climate change remained the focus of his trip.

Ban took a boat ride on the Amazon River and visited Combu Island, where he met with indigenous community leaders, UN spokesperson Marie Okabe told journalists.

Speaking to reporters at Combu Island, Ban described the Amazon as a common asset of all mankind that must be preserved, and he added that the region's inhabitants are the pioneers in preserving the rainforest.

The UN chief is now scheduled to travel to Tunisia to attend an international counter-terrorism conference, organized by the UN, the Tunisian Government and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. From there, he heads to Valencia, Spain, to participate in launching the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The Secretary-General has already visited Argentina, Chile and Antarctica before he reached Brazil, where he held talks yesterday with the country's President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

The two men discussed the relationship between the UN and Brazil, Ban's appreciation for Brazil's contribution to UN peacekeeping missions, especially in Haiti, and the plans to hold a high-level meeting next year on the progress so far towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the set of anti-poverty targets which world leaders have committed to try to achieve by 2015.

Ban and Lula also talked about climate change, Ms. Okabe said, and the Secretary-General asked for a greater Brazilian contribution to the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), given the growing number of natural disasters worldwide.

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  • Lloyd Cata

    Planets Common Asset
    Planets “common asset” means everyone on earth should have influence in the Amazon. Maybe the UN, or the WTO, or the World Bank should administer this territory. Maybe a Eco-Commission of world powers should administer this territory for the good of all mankind! The Amazon cannot be replaced as a repository ecological, medical, and human needs. It is simply priceless!

    Should everyone on Earth, every government on Earth have some influence over the territory of Amazonia just because it is so necessary for the well-being of the planet? I say no…No…NO!!!

    There were regions of the Earth quite as fertile and important as the Amazon in Africa, Asia, and North America. Those regions were systematically destroyed to ‘improve’ their societies. Now the greatest intact natural habitat should be turned over to ministers from the same people who destroyed their own. Ah, they have now learned the lesson. Well, if they have learned their lesson and they are indeed sorry for their error, let them rebuild their forests and their natural habitat. Let them administer their own resources in such a way that others may learn to save the Amazon. Let them make ecological corridors on their territory to be administered by the UN or others. What will they contribute except their ‘authority’ to control what is not theirs.

    There are ways to pressure the Amazonia nations to properly administer this territory. That pressure should be applied in such a way to remove the profit incentive. The indigenous peoples of Amazonia are the rightful owners and noone will acknowledge that from the beginning. They are not destroying their land for profit, yet no one proposes that they should administer their homeland. They have survived thousands of years without the interference of others, but where is the proposal to make them the guardians of this great treasure? Ha! They are too stupid, no? Well, let’s give them the technology and skills rather than take over their property, because that is what this discussion of who controls Amazonia is about; property, land, and resources. The “world leaders” do not trust the present governments of the region to perform as good stewards of the land which ‘must’ be protected. See, that word ‘MUST’ is very critical in this respect because it provides the urgency and catalyst for whatever is agreed between the world powers. They simply had to do what they did to save the world!

    As a first step,yes, the UN can provide administrative, logistical, and funding to save the region. Enforcement can only come from the indigenous peoples of the region. Since the situation is recognized as being urgent, given the amount of habitat being destroyed, and the pace of that destruction, the penalty for commercial activity in the Amazonia region should be ‘life at hard labor, without the possibility for parole’. Destroying the habitat is tantamount to endangering humanity and should be dealt with very harshly. There are laws in place in several of the regions countries. The simple truth is that greed has outpaced enforcement. It is a very large region to police and that is where the UN and others can assist and ‘observe’. The technology is readily available to find those destroying these lands. Satellites, aviation, wireless detection systems, and the indigenous people are all available to be used in this mission. However, the real issue is enforcement, and UN troops are not the answer. A ‘professional force’ of regional countries is more likely to be more effective. These forces should come under the direct control of an indigenous council with leadership of the council rotating among national members every 2 years. This prevents the councils corruption by shortening their leadership tenure. This is possible!

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