Poul Nielson, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, will visit Brazil from 15th 18th June. The visit will provide an opportunity to build on the ECs close co-operation with Brazil to ensure the conservation and sustainable management of the Amazon Basin tropical rainforests.
During the visit, Mr. Nielson will meet Ms Marina Silva, Brazils Minister of Environment, for bilateral talks on the future of co-operation between Brazil and the EC. Discussions will cover Brazils plans to tackle recent high rates of deforestation, and the future of EC-Brazil co-operation for the conservation and sustainable management of Brazils forests.
Mr. Nielson will also establish a dialogue with Brazil on the EU Action Plan for Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT), a global initiative through which the Commission aims to provide support to combat growing problems caused by illegal logging. The FLEGT initiative is one of the Commissions priority areas for action following the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD).
The EC is strongly committed to providing continued support for the conservation and sustainable management of the Amazon forests, and has provided funding of over 62 million in support of this objective over the past 10 years.
The Amazon Basin contains the largest remaining area of tropical forest in the world, providing habitat for an estimated 50,000 species of plants, 3,000 species of fish, and 400 species of mammal. The region is also home to more than 170 indigenous cultures.
While in Brazil, Mr. Nielson will see the Amazons vast diversity first hand when he visits the Mamirauá Sustainable Development Reserve in the state of Amazonas. The reserve, which lies in the flooded forest of the Amazon Basin at the confluence of the Solimões and Japurá Rivers, demonstrates how sustainable management of forests and the environment can help to reduce poverty.
Involving local residents in the protection of the reserve has helped to safeguard its natural treasures from illegal and unsustainable harvesting, and this in turn has raised local living standards through better management of the reserves vast fish (and other) resources.
Mr. Nielson will also meet Dr. Virgílio Viana, Amazonas State Secretary of Environment and Sustainable Development (SDS) to discuss how to strengthen decentralised environmental and natural resource management at state level, before returning to Brussels on 18 June.