ACTO Environment Ministers Adopt Lima Declaration, Agree to Combat Illegal Mining

ACTO21 March 2012: The second meeting of the Environment Ministers of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO) adopted a "Lima Declaration" agreeing on joint actions on environmental policy, including annual Environmental Ministerials and closer coordination in implementing multilateral environment agreements (MEAs). They also recommended that ACTO form a special working group to draft a common strategy to combat illegal mining in the Amazon Basin.

The meeting was the second ACTO Environmental Ministerial since 2006. It took place in Lima, Peru, from 20-21 March 2012, bringing together environment ministers of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela.

In the "Declaration of Lima," the Environment Ministers agree to impel the execution of priority activities in the environment sub-themes of the Strategic Agenda for Amazonian Cooperation (AECA), namely: forests; water resources; monitoring and control of trade in endangered species; protected areas; sustainable use of biodiversity, and promoting research, technology and innovation involving Amazonian biodiversity. They also agree to work together on new themes, particularly climate change, and commit to develop and share tools for the prevention, early detection and timely control of forest fires.

The Declaration also expresses support for the decisions of the XI Meeting of ACTO Foreign Ministers held in Manaus, Brazil, in November 2011, particularly to establish the "Amazonian Observatory" as well as an Environmental Cooperation Platform, and to study Amazonian biodiversity.

The Environment Ministers also discussed the June 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) and the declaration sent to Rio+20 by the XI Meeting of ACTO Foreign Ministers. In the Lima Declaration the Environment Ministers "consider" that the adoption at Rio+20 of sustainable development goals (SDGs) would be "of utility" if they are universally applied but nationally implemented.

The Ministers also underscore in the Lima Declaration that the AECA establish regular meetings on environment issues, with annual sessions of the Environmental Experts and an annual Environmental Ministerial, along with meetings at the technical level to prepare member States for participation in MEAs and meetings of Ministers or Heads of Delegation within the framework of the Conference of Parties (COPs) of MEAs to consult on positions of common concern.

Annexed to the Lima Declaration is a separate Declaration on Illegal Mining in the Amazon Basin, which among other things, recommends joining forces to combat the activity with a specific common strategy, and to form a special working group to that end. [ACTO Press Release] [Declaration of Lima (in Spanish)] [IISD RS Article on the XI Meeting of ACTO Foreign Ministers]