Los países amazónicos se reúnen para reflexionar sobre los planes de conservación
Eight South American countries were meeting in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon Tuesday to mull development and conservation plans for one of the planet's largest natural reserves.
Representatives of Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela gathered in Manaus to review agreements signed to protect the Amazon against the threats of deforestation and illegal trafficking in timber and minerals.
The eight Amazon countries, who in 1978 signed an Amazon Cooperation Treaty, were to discuss plans for a joint stance at next June's UN conference on sustainable development in Rio.
The Amazon, the world's largest tropical rainforest, is one of the world's largest reserves of fresh water.
A Brazilian diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the talks would focus on the Amazon Fund, a joint initiative launched in 2008 to combat deforestation and support conservation and sustainable development.
Other issues on the agenda are navigation rules on the Amazon river and a joint stance at next year´s Rio conference.
The diplomat said Brazil, which has the largest tract of Amazon rainforest, was keen on "expediting the process to implement the Amazon Fund."
Attending the Manaus meeting were Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota and his counterparts Ricardo Patino of Ecuador, Suriname's Winston Lackin, Venezuela's Ricardo Maduro as well as representatives of other parties to the Amazon Cooperation Treaty (OTCA).
The initiative has received donations of nearly $58 million (42 million euros) over the past two years, well short of the initial target of one billion dollars.
It notably seeks to improve satellite tracking of forest deforestation and environmental plans in border areas.
Last year the Amazon lost 7,000 square kilometers (2,702 square miles), down from the historic peak of 2003-2004, when more than 27,700 square kilometers were deforested.
Officials say Amazon logging mainly results from fires, the advance of agriculture and cattle farming as well as illegal trafficking in timber and minerals.
Ecuador is meanwhile pushing an innovative proposal to combat global warming under which it would not exploit its oil reserves in the Amazon in exchange for international compensation of $3.6 billion dollars over 12 years.
Covering an area of seven million square kilometers, the Amazon is home to 40,000 plant species, millions of animal species and some 420 indigenous tribes, including 60 who live in total isolation.
According to OTCA, 38.7 million people live in the region, roughly 11 percent of the eight Amazon countries' population.