Rohee urges steps to save Amazon

Guyana Chronicle
April 14, 2000

MINISTER of Foreign Affairs, Mr Clement Rohee is urging countries of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty to take steps to ensure future generations benefit from the Amazon region.

He made the appeal at the recent V1 meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Treaty's signatory countries in Caracas, Venezuela.

The Foreign Ministry said Rohee informed the meeting that Guyana was making every effort within its means to achieve sustainable development and that a tangible demonstration of its commitment to environmental protection was its donation of the Iwokrama forest for related study.

He called on members of the Treaty to become involved in the project, funded by the Commonwealth, which aims to teach the world how to use the forest and save it.

The minister noted that Guyana's stewardship on the environment stood out and that the country is party to all major international conventions on the environment.

He said Guyana is actively promoting issues pertaining to the environment within the Caribbean Community and has adopted several measures consistent with its international obligations.

Under the Pro Tempore Secretariat, countries like Guyana have been able to participate in activities such as a workshop on ecological and economic zoning in September, 1997 and the hosting of the Sixth meeting of the Commission of the Amazon Region on the Environment in May, 1998.

Rohee expressed hope that when a permanent secretariat is established requisite consideration would be given to Guyana.

Guyana reiterated its commitment to work with its Amazon partners in the preservation of the Amazon heritage and Rohee expressed interest in eco-tourism which could boost appreciation for indigenous cultures, environmental education and cross border collaboration in forestry and environmental disaster mitigation.

These areas, he said, could form the basis for South-South cooperation within the ambit of the Treaty.

Accompanying Rohee at the Caracas meeting were Ambassador Mr Bayney Karran, Mrs Jennifer Tiwari and Mrs Anna-Lou Edmonds of the Guyana embassy in Venezuela.

The meeting adopted the Declaration of Caracas and several resolutions pertaining the functioning of the Pro Tempore Secretariat of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty which will soon become a permanent secretariat in Brazil.

By subscribing to the Declaration, the eight member states of the Treaty reaffirmed their commitment to the sustainable development of the Amazon Region. Members have also agreed to push regional cooperation.

Guyana's ratification of the protocol which addresses environment and forests, illicit mining, drug trafficking, crops and bio-piracy, is imminent.

The meeting was also attended by delegates from Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Suriname.

Secretary of Pro Tempore, Ambassador Victor Carrazo was awarded the National Order of the South Cross of Brazil for his sterling contribution to the Treaty.