Event brought together government agencies, NGOs, scientists and representatives of indigenous peoples for discussions on strategies that contemplate nature conservation and economic development
The city of Marseille, France, hosted, between the 3rd and 10th of September, the Congress of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The event, which was scheduled for 2020 and was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, brought together government agencies, NGOs, scientists and representatives of indigenous peoples. The president of the Renova Foundation, Andre de Freitas, participated remotely in the Congress, which took place in a hybrid way, participating in two thematic plenary sessions, on September 7th. Click here to learn more about the event.
The concerns of business and government leaders regarding the challenges of how to reconcile biodiversity conservation and development, and the role of independent scientific institutions as valuable and effective tools to address complex and often controversial issues were addressed in the plenary “Harnessing Independent Scientific Advice to Reconcile Conservation and Economic Development Goals”.
During the discussion, Andre de Freitas and Ecuadorian Yolanda Kakabadse, former president of the IUCN and former minister of the Environment Ministry of Ecuador, presented the role of the Doce River Panel to address the reparation process and recovery of the Doce river, after the impacts caused by the collapse of the Fundão (MG) dam.
The president of the Renova Foundation spoke of the importance of independent scientific panels, highlighting transparency and a broad vision as important characteristics, and commented on flexibility, in relation to performance expectations, such as the report produced on climate change. “We at the Renova Foundation have a strong relationship with the panel, but we are just one of the actors involved in the reparation process. We would very much like to see other actors taking over the actions and following elaborated recommendations”, he says.
The president’s second participation took place at the closing plenary “Global Action to Conserve Fresh Water”, which aimed to review the proposals that scientists and institutions developed during the Congress for the preservation of fresh water.
Andre de Freitas presented the advances made by the Renova Foundation in its mission to recover the Doce River. “We have been working on this process for five years and what we can see now is that the water quality of the Doce River has returned to the levels it had before the collapse of the dam. This result is the combination of the work we did to stabilize the tailings with the perception we had that the river is a living dynamic system: if you stop the source of contamination, it will have its quality back,” he said.
He also spoke about the environmental reconfiguration actions carried out in the most affected areas. “We had projects that tried to recreate the river’s natural structures, establishing habitats to serve as nurseries for fish, which contributed to the repopulation of its fauna, also reflecting on the quality of the water,” he explained.
The president of the Renova Foundation emphasized that the lack of historical data on the water quality of the Doce River before the collapse of the dam is a major obstacle to the reparation process. “What was the impact of the rupture and what was the impact that already existed and still exists coming from other sources, such as sewage? Because a large part of the sewage that is discharged into the Doce River and its tributaries is not treated in the localities. But there is no previous data on what the situation was like before the collapse and this data is essential”, he commented.
The Future of the Doce River That’s Us
Two young members of the project The Future of the Doce River That’s Us also participated in the IUCN Congress, on a pitch platform where they presented the project and reinforced the importance of youth participation in the reparation process of the Doce river basin. Click here and watch the video presented.