Amazonia to whom?

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Amazonia covers more than 50% of the land in Brazil and in addition nine other countries in South America integrate this multi bioma region that in addition to tropical forest have many other ecosystems. Some decades ago many have advocated that the Amazonia belonged to humanity. This concept was abandoned when the so called Rio 92 that conveyed to Brazil heads of more than one hundred countries defined the rules about biodiversity. A protocol so called Biodiversity Convention was signed that decided that biodiversity belonged to countries that housed this so called biomes. Even though many countries still feel somewhat responsible to the fate that Amazonia will face in the future. Even the Pope is part of this preoccupation with the Amazonia not to mention other countries like France, Denmark and Germany Some claim that the whole world will be affected if one fourth of the tropical forestry is destroyed be it for climatic changes or deforestation (1) (2). 

Amazonia tropical rain forests houses a large portion of the world biodiversity. Even if this tropical forest cover only 7% of the Earth's land surface, they contain more than half of the species entire world biota (3). The author still in the eighties called attention to the fact that tropical forests were being destroyed rapidly and the risk of the extinction of a large number of these species were going to occur in the future between 1988 and 2008. Brazil deforested in the Amazon an area larger than Germany (4).The actual Brazilian Government claimed support by the Biodiversity Convention that the Brazilian Amazon belongs to Brazil. This matter is very controversial. How can we prevent the destruction of the of the tropical forestry? To whom Amazonia belongs? Who can prevent the destruction of the Amazonia? 

Main ecosystems of Brazil. The Cerrado (outlined in yellow) corresponds to approximately 2 million km2. Figure 1 from Ref 4.

In the nineties Brazil negotiated in Switzerland with our best diplomats 1.5 billion dollars as a fund to Amazonia. Recently countries particularly Denmark and Germany mostly the first, set a fund of some hundred million dollars to projects to prevent the destruction of the tropical forest. This fund is in the hands of the Brazilian BNDES ( the National Bank for Economical and Social Development ). Have these initiatives been successful? First we have to state that the Biodiversity Convention established early in the nineties have not succeed in the last three decades to prevent the destruction of biodiversity in the world, its main goal. Second the 1.5 billion US dollar fund negotiated by Brazil in the nineties to protect the Amazon is over and the forest is being destroyed at an alarming speed. It is important to call attention that Germany with good reason had to invest heavily to bring the two Germans together and only invested financially to demarcate indigenous land in the mentioned project. The fund established mostly by Denmark is facing the reality that it has not prevented the destruction of the tropical forest. How can we reduce the destruction of the tropical forest ? 

The Brazilian Government now established an initiative to establish politics to at least neutralize the destruction of the Amazonia and hopefully to establish the sustainable development of the region. Where are the funds? These funds do not seem to be available national or internationally from the private sector. To develop sustainably the Amazon many billion dollars are required, a lot more than Brazil destined to move West when Brasilia, the new capital, was established in the sixties in the last century. 

Last year I participated as a consultant to BIOTEC AMAZONIA an institution established by the State of Para. I left when the new Government of the State came and changed the rules as always happen in a Presidential System. I call it alternation caused by the change of political power. While there I proposed two initiatives .First investment in Science with a Project called Transcriptome Mining a technology that has been successful in some laboratories in the world that clone all the genes coding for enzymes that comprise metabolic pathways needed to express the molecules that belong the secondary metabolism of plants.These molecules function to prevent several diseases particularly some types of cancer. Funds are needed by the private sector and we are in the process to obtain these funds. The second initiative tries to answer the main question of this article: Amazonia belongs to the people that live there. My proposal was to empower these so called communities that live in the Amazonia. I called it in the seventies Biokeepers right a legal right to be exercised for those that conserve biodiversity (5). The legal right is sui generis because it is different from the IPR. Inovation is not required. It is different from Plant Breeders right that only applies to agriculture Biokeepers Right does not demand exclusivity. In fact many Biokeepers can conserve the same species. The Right is based on in situ conservation of Biodiversity. The more biokeepers the better for biodiversity. 

The Right applies only when a biokeeper demonstrates conservation of a species that can be used industrially. The same species can have many applications. Conservation demands knowledge of the processes needed for conservation. A data base will list all the biokeepers. The Right prevents others from using what is being conserved without being allowed by the Biokeeper. The Right stimulates biodiversity conservation and assures a financial return for those conserving biodiversity in situ when products from what is conserved reach the market place Social communities already conserve biodiversity without being benefited from this practice. The right stimulates biodiversity conservation. A version of this right was translated in a Decree that is available to those interested. Funds could come from carbon tax as Costa Rica and Colombia are doing successfully (6). Billion dollars can be obtained this way from developed countries that cannot reduce their climatic problems.

References
1- Nobre, C. A. et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 113, 10759–10768 (2016).
2- News Feature Nature February 25 2020 When will the Amazon hit a tipping
point?
3- E.O.Wilson Biodiversity National Academic Press 1988
4- de Castro, Climatic changes: What if the global increase of CO2 emissions
cannot be kept under control? The Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological
Research March 2010 volume 43(3) 230-233
5- De Castro, L.A.B., 1977 Sharing of benefits from the utilization of genetic resources:
components of a model project for Brazil.in Transboundary Movement of Living
Modified Organisms Resulting from Modern Biotechnology: Issues and
Opportunities for Policy Makers. Edited by K.J. Mulungoy pages 47 -60 International
Academy of the Environment , Geneva, Switzerland
6- Nature , February 12 2020 Adopt a carbon tax to protect tropical forests

Go to the profile of Luiz Antonio Barreto de Castro

Luiz Antonio Barreto de Castro

CEO, ABCP Agriculture Biotechnology Consultorias e Projetos

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