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Cablegate: Brazil's Environment Minister Silva Discusses Ministry

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PP RUEHRG
DE RUEHBR #0874 1361927
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 161927Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8946
INFO RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 4391
RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 9878
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 6651

UNCLAS BRASILIA 000874

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE PLS PASS TO USDA DLAWRENCE
STATE FOR WHA/BSC WPOPP
STATE FOR G FOR PBATES
STATE FOR OES/PCI FOR FCOLON
STATE FOR OES/EGC DNELSON
STATE PLS PASS TO EPA/HILL-MACON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV KSCA TRGY BR
SUBJECT: BRAZIL'S ENVIRONMENT MINISTER SILVA DISCUSSES MINISTRY
PRIORITIES


1. SUMMARY. During a wide-ranging conversation with Ambassador Sobel
and other Embassy staff on May 11, 2007, Brazil's Minister for the
Environment, Marina Silva, discussed bilateral and multilateral
cooperation. Topics included Brazil's proposal regarding
compensated deforestation, Ministry priorities, the Tropical Forest
Conservation Act and the Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking
(CAWT). END SUMMARY

2. Minister Silva outlined Brazil's proposal for Compensated
Reduction of Deforestation to address climate change. This
proposal, which Brazil tabled at the United Nations Climate Change
Conference meeting in Nairobi last November, advocates the creation
of a voluntary fund that would reward developing countries for their
already completed efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by
reducing deforestation. Funds would be donated voluntarily by
developed countries. Ambassador Sobel said while the White House
was interested in learning more, the U.S. Treasury had expressed
concerns about setting up a new multilateral funding mechanism.
Minister Silva said that it would be similar to the PPG7 fund, in
which donors had put billions to preserve the Amazon. The new fund
would operate similarly but instead provide fiscal incentives for
voluntary reductions in deforestation. Minister Silva promised the
Ambassador more detailed information on Brazil's proposal after this
week's meeting in Bonn but before the G-8.

3. Ambassador Sobel suggested that it might be useful for Minister
Silva to meet with U.S. Treasury Secretary Paulson during his
upcoming visit to Brazil in July. Because he is concerned about the
environment, Paulson should hear from the Minister about Brazil's
efforts to create protected areas. Minister Silva responded
positively to the suggestion. Subjects for discussion between the
two could include the Amazon Region Protected Areas Program (ARPA),
pollutant emission reduction and the Chico Mendes Institute.

4. Minster Silva listed the priorities for the Ministry as the
development of parks, the creation of conservation units, tropical
forest management, reduced deforestation and the establishment of
the Chico Mendes Institute.

5. On the subject of the proposed Tropical Forest Conservation Act,
Minister Silva said she had concerns about the composition of the
Board that would administer the funds, that funds would only go to
NGO's and expressed her preference that no Board member have the
right to veto.

6. Concerning the Department's Coalition Against Wildlife
Trafficking (CAWT) initiative, Minister Silva repeated concerns that
Brazil still needed clarification on how the Initiative would relate
to CITES and believed that flora and trafficking in genetic
resources, biopiracy, should be included. Until those issues are
resolved, Brazil would continue to be an observer at CAWT meetings
she said. (The paper Minister Silva presented outlining Brazil's
concerned was sent to the Department previously.)

7. Ambassador Sobel encouraged Minister Silva to participate in the
May 17 U.S.-Brazil Common Agenda for the Environment meetings
scheduled in Brasilia, so that the Ministry's opinions on issues are
heard.

8. NOTE: Brazil's Ministry of the Environment was hit with a strike
which began, May 14. The 6000 plus employees of IBAMA, the
enforcement division of the Ministry, are striking to prevent the
enactment of a proposed reorganization under which they would lose
some of their authority to the newly created Chico Mendes Institute.
Brazil's President Lula signed an act to implement the
reorganization, but it has to be confirmed by the Brazilian Congress
within 30 days. IBAMA's workers plan to stay out until the issue is
resolved.

SOBEL

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