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Colombia proposes world's largest eco-corridor with Brazil, Venezuela


Bogota, Feb 15 (IANS/EFE) Colombia has proposed to collaborate with and Venezuela in creating the world's largest ecological corridor, to mitigate the effects of climate change and preserve biodiversity, President Juan Manuel Santos announced.

The corridor will span 135 million hectares (1,350,000 sq km) of rainforest, Santos said Friday.

The Colombian president said that he expected the three countries to present the "Triple A" initiative at the UN climate change conference, or COP-21 (Conference of Parties-21), later this year in Paris.

"This would become the world's largest ecological (corridor) and would be a great contribution to (the) fight of all humanity to preserve our environment, and in Colombia's case, to preserve our biodiversity," Santos added.

The Colombian president said he had instructed his foreign minister, Maria Angela Holguin, to "establish all the mechanisms of communication with and Venezuela" so that they can jointly present a "concrete, realistic proposal that conveys to the world the enormous contribution the corridor would make towards preserving humanity and mitigating climate change".

Santos said that he would personally present the proposal to his Venezuelan and Brazilian counterparts, Nicolas Maduro and Dilma Rousseff respectively.

The proposal stems from an exhibition by US-born Colombian anthropologist Martin von Hildebrand, who has dedicated himself to studying and protecting the Amazon rainforest.

Santos said that Norway and Germany had pledged $65 million towards an Amazon protection programme that would promote environment-friendly technologies and was included in Colombia's 2014-2018 National Development Plan.

Those funds will be allocated to reduce deforestation, according to Santos, who noted that 100,000 hectares (1000 sq km) of forests are lost annually as a result of illegal logging.

He said that a balance needed to be struck between the goal of preserving the Amazonian biodiversity and efforts to achieve economic growth.



First Published: Sun, February 15 2015. 05:34 IST