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05/10/2012 - 09:50hs

Aspa to have plan to fight desertification

Arab and South American countries signed a framework agreement in the area and should establish a joint scientific programme. Responsible for coordination in South America is the Brazilian Insa.

São Paulo – An agreement signed at the Summit of South American-Arab Countries (Aspa), early this week, in Lima, Peru, should grant the starting push to formulation of a joint scientific project between Arabs and South Americans to fight desertification. The treaty on the matter, a beacon for cooperation, was signed between the National Semiarid Institute (Insa), of Brazil, and the Arab Centre for the Study of Arid Zones and Dry Lands (Acsad).

According to the research coordinator at Insa, Aldrin Martin Perez Marin, after the agreement was signed there should be a technical meeting to develop a scientific project for the area. “The partnership is very relevant as the knowledge is universal, is in all areas of the world, not just in the European and American universities,” stated Marin. He recalled that Arab countries have even more extreme environmental conditions than Brazil.

Marin stated that the cooperation with the Arabs and South Americans should be through the Brazilian science network, which is already established and also works with international perspectives. The Insa will be ahead of the agreement with the Arabs as it is the government of Brazil’s scientific organisation responsible for the theme of desertification. Apart from that, the institute answers to Brazil in the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.

Last year, in Campina Grande, Paraíba, where the Insa headquarters are, the institution hosted a meeting with scientists and investigators in the area in the world to discuss desertification. It was there, according to him, that the idea of establishing the cooperation arose, and it ended up taking place with the signing of an agreement in Lima. Brazil was chosen by the South American bloc to orchestrate the work, as it has great excellence in the matter.

The agreement signed in Lima strengthens the importance of technical, scientific and technological cooperation among the countries to face the impacts of climate change, of degraded land and of desertification. The objectives are creating a research network and studies about the area, establishing an international network on the matter, creating guidelines for preservation and recovery of areas affected by desertification, training specialists in the development of arid and semiarid regions and promoting research and innovation about the area.

Other targets of the cooperation are the study of species of vegetation native to each country and their nutritional benefits, the development of technology for cultivation of these species, mainly those that need little water, promotion of studies on carbon capture, stimulation of simulations of extreme-climate settings, the development of studies and the exchange of experience on the use of rainwater, among others.

The agreement states that there should be promotion of technical and scientific missions and that the projects and actions will be executed by agencies and institutions involved, with shared cost. Some projects may have the involvement of other countries, multilateral institutions and the United Nations. Insa and Acsad will have as their missions the coordination, follow up and evaluation of actions. The agreement was enacted after its signing, on Monday (2).

*Translated by Mark Ament

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