Lima Hosts International Amazon Co-operation Meeting
Rainforest Cruises was pleased to see a cross-border approach to managing the challenges to the Amazon region as Lima hosted a meeting of Environment Ministers from the Member Countries of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO) on Wednesday, March 21, 2012.
ACTO is an international organization aimed at the promotion of sustainable development of the Amazon Basin. Its member states are: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela.
The Amazon Cooperation Treaty (ACT) was signed on 3 July 1978 and amended in 1998. ACTO was created in 1995 to strengthen the implementation of the Treaty.
This was only the 2nd such meeting, with the first being held in March, 2006, in Curitiba, Brazil, at which the Ministers reaffirmed the political will of their governments to build a socio-environmental Amazon agenda, based upon sustainable development.
In Lima, the venue was the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the meeting focused on the implementation of a Strategic Agenda of Amazon Cooperation, as a working model for sustainable development of the region and on the participation of the Amazon countries in the Rio+20 Conference, where they will make political commitments to meet the challenges of sustainable development of the Amazon Basin and the relevance which should be given to the region.
The Environment Ministers of the eight countries also signed a Declaration of Lima agreeing to combat illegal mining which, owing to rising commodities prices, is increasingly widespread in the Amazon region and has a hugely detrimental environmental impact on the rainforest.
The area of Madre de Dios in Peru, which is home to the wonderful Tambopata-Candamo Reserved Zone and Manu National Park, has been the scene of a number of confrontations between miners and police, and so Peru’s Environment Minister, Manuel Pulgar Vidal, declared: ‘What we want is to share experiences because each country has things to teach and to learn. We are all suffering the scourge of illegal mining and we have to battle it together.’
Luckily, the areas where Rainforest Cruises riverboats operate are not currently favored by miners, as the metals they seek are not found in large enough quantities; but it is a reminder of the ongoing economic threats faced by the Amazon jungle.
And just as we believe that tourism offers a real opportunity to bring wealth and development to Amazonia, while maintaining its ecological integrity, this is also a belief held by ACTO: they will be discussing advances, opportunites and techniques in the area of the development of environmentally-sustainable community-based tourism in the Amazon at the Third Regional Meeting of Tourism, in Georgetown, Guyana in May.