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Cablegate: Brazil's Ministry of Environment Proposes Sweeping New

VZCZCXRO3719
PP RUEHRG
DE RUEHBR #1292/01 1791742
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 281742Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5910
INFO RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 2354
RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 7303
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 5023

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BRASILIA 001292

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE TO OES/PCI FOR LKAMAKURA/LSPERLING
STATE TO OES/ENV FOR DBROWN/JMATUSZAK
STATE TO OES/ETC FOR SCASWELL/DGRIER/RWATSON
STATE TO WHA/BSC FOR WPOPP
STATE TO OES/STC FOR GDRAGNICH
STATE TO G FOR KLORD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV TBIO KSCA BR
SUBJECT: BRAZIL'S MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT PROPOSES SWEEPING NEW
BILATERAL ENV TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE INITIATIVE


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SUMMARY
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1. Brazil's Ministry of the Environment (MMA) has expressed its
willingness to establish a new level of bilateral technical
assistance programs in five general environment-related areas: park
management; wetlands protection, chemicals; water systems management
and illegal trafficking in wildlife. MMA has expressed a preference
for a government-to-government collaboration meaning the Department
would help coordinate support directly from U.S. government
agencies. The Ministry is proposing that the collaborations be
governed by a MOU or similar instrument and would be signed by
Minister for the Environment Marina Silva and her Washington
counterpart. Post requests the Department's guidance on the type of
agreement recommended, and concurrence on proposed steps to
coordinate the technical assistance programs.

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Expanded Technical Assistance for Environmental Programs
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2. Brazil's Environment Minister Marina Silva, in a marked
departure from the attitude of previous administrations, has
indicated her willingness to work with the Embassy Brasilia ESTH
office to establish technical assistance programs allowing U.S.
experts to work throughout Brazil with their counterparts in a wide
range of environment and law enforcement-related initiatives. The
subject areas include: the establishment and management of parks in
protected areas; wetlands protection; chemicals control; water
systems management and illegal trafficking in wildlife. Over the
last few weeks, the Embassy Brasilia ESTH Counselor and Officer have
been working with members of Minister Silva's staff at the Ministry
for the Environment (MMA) to ascertain the scope of activities being
requested. A broad outline follows.

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Establishment and Management of Parks in Protected Areas
--------------

3. Environment Minister Marina Silva has established her place in
history as Brazil's most effective protector of the Amazon. Since
she became Minister in 2003, she has placed 19 million hectares of
forest under protection, with 8 million more in the pipeline, which
represents one third of total protected lands in Brazil. She
successfully passed what is widely considered her legacy legislation
that introduces systems for controlled logging and lays the
framework for Brazil's first Forest Service. Minister Silva, who
has in the past expressed her admiration for the U.S. park system,
has stated that putting land under protection is just the first
step, next a system must be created that will encourage a
relationship between society and the forests. At present,
Brazilians rarely visit the protected areas. The United States, she
said, has found a way to welcome the public onto protected lands and
generate needed funds to sustain the areas for future generations.

4. The Ministry vision of technical assistance spans from beginning
to end. Specific areas mentioned were facilities design, road
design, construction, maintenance, park operations, transportation,
education, concessions management (hotels, restaurants, activities,
etc.) and law enforcement issues. The MMA pointed to Yosemite and
Yellowstone as examples par-excellence of what they would like to
achieve.

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Wetland Protection
------------------
5. The MMA also wants to establish a strong program for wetland
protection throughout the country. Brazil is in the process of
creating a national wetland strategy and would like to discuss
experiences and best practices. They noted that the U.S. system of
classifying wetlands has been adopted by RAMSAR. The MMA would like
to better understand the science and apply it to Brazilian wetlands
in order to provide site-specific goals and protective mechanisms.
Expanding on the idea, it was noted that there exists overlap and
the potential to incorporate these ideas in marine protection and
water resource endeavors as well.

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Chemicals
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6. The Ministry is working on a Strategic Plan for Chemicals and
has listed numerous areas for possible collaboration. MMA indicated
that it already possesses what it believes to be advanced domestic

BRASILIA 00001292 002 OF 003


chemical policies/legislation, but seeks greater expertise in the
general areas of market controls, safety and waste removal and
regional chemical management. Also mentioned was coordination of
emissions control efforts and technologies and the creation of an
infrastructure to augment its capacity to manage and assess
environmental risks associated with chemical pollutants. Work of
this kind has already begun on a limited scale with the effects of
mercury poisoning on the Amazon environment. Additional topics
mentioned were assistance in developing and implementing a Brazilian
PRTR (Pollutant Release and Transfer Register) and an examination of
the environmental effects of agrotoxins, dioxins and furins.

----------------
Water Management
----------------
7. Oversight of Brazil's water resources belongs to both the MMA,
which develops water policy, and the National Water Agency's (ANA),
the implementing agency. Brazil is in the fledgling stages of
implementing an Integrated Water Resource Management Plan for the
entire country. It is the first endeavor of its kind in Latin
America and would like to work with U.S. agencies with expertise in
this area. Elements of water management that most interest them are
federal vs state responsibilities; the economic structure in the
United States for water management/delivery and monitoring systems
to maintain water quality. The Brazilians have already had
conversations regarding technical assistance with General Strock,
Chief Engineer for the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. General
Strock's planned visit to Brazil this August has apparently been
postponed, Post would support it being rescheduled.

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Anti-Trafficking in Wildlife
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8. The Mission already has a rich history of bilateral cooperation
in anti-trafficking in wildlife efforts primarily in the training of
Brazilian law enforcement officials by U.S. Fish and Wildlife, an
initiative funded by the Missions Narcotics Affairs Section. MMA
has learned from this training, and now wants to move a step beyond
by suggesting a more formal system of law enforcement cooperation
and information exchange. MMA would like to establish ways to aid
U.S. customs agents/inspectors at U.S. entry points in identifying
illegal cargo at U.S. airports. As examples, they suggested
training courses, the production of a guidebook in English
differentiating legal from illegal objects, and/or a free hotline
allowing rapid access to Brazilian authorities when confirmation is
needed.

9. MMA also expressed a desire to set up forensic laboratories for
identifying the source of animals in transit, noting that the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife team highlighted these laboratories as an
essential component of effective enforcement. U.S. expertise would
be needed in both establishing and training functionaries for the
laboratories.

10. MMA would also like to open talks on repatriation of U.S.
species found illegally in Brazil, noting that many arrive via the
border with Paraguay.

11. Finally, MMA is anxious to establish training so that customs
inspectors on both sides of the border which be familiar with each
other's laws.

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Next Steps
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12. Post is fully aware that the development of technical
cooperation programs of this magnitude will be a tremendous
undertaking. We are also aware that greater detail will be required
in order for the Washington agencies to determine which agency has
the needed expertise and if collaboration is possible. As a way
forward, Post is suggesting a series of DVC's, to be coordinated by
the Department, to allow the Brazilian Ministry of Environment
technical section chiefs to detail their requests for assistance to
U.S. technical agencies. Subsequent TDY visits may also be
requested. Post is seeking Bureau support in organizing these DVCs.


13. Post is also seeking guidance from L/OES as to the type of
instrument that should be negotiated for this initiative. The
Ministry has suggested an MOU or similar government-to-government
instrument to be signed by Minister for the Environment Marina
Silva.


BRASILIA 00001292 003 OF 003


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Comment
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14. Post is anxious to move forward to take advantage of this
window of opportunity. This opening by the Brazilians to reach out
to develop closer ties through initiatives that will strength the
infrastructure of their country can have significant positive long
term benefits for the United States, not the least of which is the
development of shared standards. Their request for closer
cooperation on border inspections directly supports a key mission
priority. Post awaits guidance.

CHICOLA

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