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ACTO Ministers Forward Declaration to Rio+20 and Adopt Manaus Commitment

ACTO22 November 2011: At their XI meeting in Manaus, Brazil, the Foreign Ministers of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO) countries adopted a declaration to be forwarded to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) and a "Manaus Commitment" pledging new actions for ACTO cooperation.

In their declaration to Rio+20, the Ministers at the 22 November 2011 meeting underlined that the Conference provides an opportunity to emphazise the importance of the Amazon region "due to its contribution and significance for biodiversity [and] climate stability." They further: urged developed countries to "commit strongly" to fulfill internationally-agreed upon target and objectives, particularly through the provision of new, additional and predictable financial resources; stressed eradicating poverty as an indispensable element to attain sustainable development; and called for promoting and strengthening South-South cooperation through new and additional resources and the effective transfer of technology and capacity building.

In the Manaus Commitment, Ministers agreed that ACTO should: intensify cooperation in innovation, science and technology; develop an integrated information system and standardized regional indicators to facilitate research on the Amazon; and promote the inclusion of ancestral knowledge. They green-lighted implementation of an "Amazonian Observatory," bringing together relevant authorities and institutions, with an emphasis on the study of Amazonian biodiversity. The Ministers also decided to initiate joint work under ACTO on biodiversity genetic resources and traditional knowledge with an experts group meeting in first quarter 2012.

In addition, in the Commitment, the Ministers: called on the international community to support Ecuador's Yasuni-ITT Initiative; agreed to hold the second Meeting of ACTO Environment Ministers in first quarter of 2012; instructed the ACTO Permanent Secretariat to explore closer cooperation with the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR); agreed to up-scale and strengthen initiatives to relaunch ACTO, including a series of national seminars and a September 2012 regional seminar to analyze proposals presented in national seminars; supported dialogue among member countries in the areas of social inclusion and poverty eradication, and agreed to create an ACTO ad hoc working group to propose initiatives to this end; and agreed to prioritize activities that strengthen ties among ACTO, national and local authorities, and the populations dwelling in the Amazon to facilitate the process of identifying local demands for regional cooperation projects. [ACTO Press Release (in Portuguese)] [ACTO Press Release (in English)] [ACTO Declaration to Rio+20] [Manaus Commitment]