Bolivia and Acre exchange knowledge on combating deforestation



Posted on 26 March 2014  | 
Buttress tree in the tropical rain forest, Acre State, Brazil.
Buttress tree in the tropical rain forest, Acre State, Brazil.
© WWF-Canon / Juan PRATGINESTOSEnlarge
Bolivian government and WWF-Bolivia representatives were in Rio Branco from March 17 to 20 to meet and exchange information with the Acre state government, in Brazil. Designed to strengthen capacity for curbing deforestation, this is second visit of the Bolivian mission was under the aegis of a cooperation agreement between the two governments for exchanging experience and lessons learned related to public environmental policies. This model of cooperation was inspired and developed in Acre, and it is widely recognised as an example of the sustainable use of forest resources.

Bolivia is currently implementing a national forest certification system and WWF Bolivia is supporting the process. The Living Amazon Initiative (LAI) has helped develop and promote this partnership. As part of this support, LAI also is conducting an analysis of public policies designed to curb deforestation in Brazil, Peru, Bolivia and Colombia and fostering exchanges of knowledge and lessons learned among the four countries.

According to André Dias, leader of the Living Amazon Initiative’s strategy for curbing deforestation and stimulating a standing forest economy, this cooperation among the Amazonian countries aims to, “create mechanisms to strengthen an economy that attributes increasing value to the standing forest. Obviously, that depends on the context of each country, but we do know that there are certain elements and challenges they all have in common.”

Monitoring platforms

During their exchange visit, Bolivian government representatives expressed a desire to have better knowledge of the open code deforestation monitoring platforms. Currently, the Bolivian government uses part of the Brazilian National Space Research Institute (INPE) data, which also covers Bolivia. However, greater technical capacity is required to make better use of such data.

In André Dias’s view, the Bolivians see Acre as a case where they can learn to improve their management of all forest information flows, ranging from the different stages of licensing rights to the transportation of final products. “Acre has a long history of fostering forest management, has pioneered the use of tools to facilitate information and has carried out very interesting work in data systematization,” said Dias.

The coordinator of the Bolivian Government’s National Forest Certification System, Neil Aponte Alvarez, declared: “this has been an excellent opportunity to identify points in common as well as differences between the systems in Acre and Bolivia and to learn more about the practical applications of Acre’s monitoring platform and all the lessons Acre learned when it was implementing the system.”

Alvarez believes that Bolivia can share with Acre its own experience in regulating non-wood forest products as well as presenting some case studies of communities’ self-governance and monitoring. He highlighted the example of the Monte Verde area, which faces problems very similar to those of the Brazilian Amazon, including land tenure issues.

The Acre State Government’s Environment Secretary Edegard de Deus stated, “this cooperation between Brazil, in the figure of the Acre state government, and Bolivia is highly gratifying insofar as we can share our progress in the field of geo-technology and Rural Environmental Registration with the Bolivian government. It must be emphasised that it all began with the implementation of the state’s Ecological-economic Zoning, which in turn made it possible to organise sustainable public policies more effectively.”

This is the second technical exchange event with the Bolivians in the state of Acre. As a next step, the Bolivian government invited the Acre government to discuss the possible implementation of joint climate change mitigation and adaptation activities, which also involve curbing deforestation. Related to that opportunity, in addition to sharing Acre’s experience, the Living Amazon Initiative will address the question of the studies of regional public deforestation policies as part of the regional strategy for strengthening the standing forest economy.

Buttress tree in the tropical rain forest, Acre State, Brazil.
Buttress tree in the tropical rain forest, Acre State, Brazil.
© WWF-Canon / Juan PRATGINESTOS Enlarge

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