MAC: Mines and Communities

Amazonia countries to have plan to combat mercury use

Published by MAC on 2004-07-01


Amazonia countries to have plan to combat mercury use

1st July 2004

Ministério do Meio Ambiente

The Organisation of the Treaty for Amazonia Co-operation ( , with support from the Brazilian- USA Co-operation Program, revealed the Minister of the Environment, Marina Silva, during the opening of the 1st International Reunion of the OCTA's Permanent Commissions in Brasilia. The metal affects miners, gold sellers and the populations that live near the areas of gold extraction, in addition to those that eat contaminated fish. The first OCTA conference will occur 26 years after signing the Convention in 1978, and it will offer an opportunity to define strategies from now until 2010, concentrating on four areas: regional integration; science and technology for development; water resources; and institutional strengthening. The meeting brings together representatives from the Member States- Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guiana, Suriname, Peru, Venezuela and Brazil, head office of the Permanent Secretary of the entity.

Silva emphasised the OCTA's necessity to act together in regional and international forums, with respect to the issues of access to genetic resources and in defence of traditional knowledge. The Minister believes that the entity should function as an "exchange forum" about information and experiences such that a regional action will gain strength. "Various OCTA members are litigating a reform in the international patent system in such a manner that patents could be conceded in compliance with the principals of the UN's Convention on Biological Diversity", she stated.

The Brazilian Minister also reported on the creation of a network of ecological corridors and of protected areas involving the Amazonia countries and with respect to the advances in the Integrated Administration of Regional Sustainable Amazonia Water Basin Resources, with support form the Global Environmental Fund (GEF) to be implemented by the UN's Program for the Environment. "These initiatives will have positive consequences for the use of water and natural resources in the basin, as biomasses do not recognise geographic borders", she stated. Other actions by the Brazilian government for the integrated development in the region include the Sustainable Amazonia Project, the Amazonia Protected Areas Program (ARPA), the National Forests Program and the Pilot Program for the Protection of Brazil's Tropical Forests (PPG7).

For more information about OTCA, go to the link

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