Biodiversity and Business

04 Oct 2007

Speaking in an interview to Reuters yesterday, Brazil’s environment minister Marina Silva, a former rubber tapper and activist, claimed that Brazil has achieved a 50 percent reduction in deforestation over the past two years, thus proving that its increased control mechanisms are working.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s administration has set itself a target of zero illegal deforestation, albeit without a specific deadline.

Marina Silva argues that, in the name of ethics and solidarity, besides making voluntary donations, foreign countries should also help create alternative economic activities in tropical forests, rejecting eco-unfriendly products, transferring technology and remunerating genetic research and natives’ knowledge.

A proposal co-authored by Brazil as part of the International Convention on Biodiversity is designed to force pharmaceutical companies to pay for drugs based on Amazon medicinal plants has been opposed by a number of western countries, but Silva believes that the wealthy countries in general should pay for Amazonian biodiversity.

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