Itaipu is the first power plant to become part of the global biosphere reserve network. The incorporation of preserved areas on the Paraguayan side of the power plant was approved on Wednesday the 14th during the 19th session of the International Council for the Coordination of Man and the Biosphere of the Unesco MAB – Man and the Biosphere (MAB – ICC) Program in Paris, France.
The global biosphere reserve network includes areas for cooperative research, the conservation of biodiversity and the promotion of sustainable development. With its inclusion, the plant can participate and benefit from the sharing of research from the other reservations spread around the world, in addition to strengthening its institutional role as an organization that actively participates in the preservation of the environment.
With this seal of approval, Itaipu, which is already recognized and has been awarded by the UN, especially for its care with water, includes yet another acknowledgement to its portfolio of successful socioenvironmental initiatives in the plant’s surrounding area.
For the Paraguayan general director, James Spalding, this is an important acknowledgment of Itaipu’s decades of efforts, on the Brazilian as well as the Paraguayan side, to rebuild the area around it. “As stated by Pope Francis, our home is unique and therefore, we must take care of it as being unique”, in reference to the work that is carried out in partnership by both countries on both sides of the power plant.
On the Brazilian side, socioenvironmental initiatives adopted along the reservoir have already been replicated in several countries. For this reason, according to the Brazilian general director, Luiz Fernando Vianna, Itaipu will present a proposal at the next MAB Conference in 2018 to extend the biosphere reserve, which will also include areas protected by the binational plant in Brazil. The Itaipu reserves include native woods and stretches of reforestation totaling 41 thousand hectares. Together with the protection strip area, the number of areas protected by the binational plant reaches approximately 105 thousand hectares in both countries.
“We’re here to defend Itaipu as a unique binational company”, said Vianna. “With this acknowledgement, our responsibility increases and our willingness to work hard to turn our surrounding area into a model of sustainable territory.”
For the Paraguayan coordination director, Pedro Domaniczky, the approval of Itaipu’s Biosphere Reserve represents an important tool to promote the sustainable development at the border region.
Another commitment of Itaipu’s delegation in Paris, on Wednesday (14), was a meeting with Éric Fajole, the Île-de-France International Cooperation and Tourism director (Île-de-France is one of France’s 27 administrative regions). On the meeting agenda, a technological, social and sustainable development cooperation agreement was discussed, possibly with the participation of the Itaipu Technological Park (PTI) and also an agreement to bring French companies together that are interested in investing in the plant’s surrounding areas, such as: waste, water, agribusiness, infrastructure, urban mobility, incubators and practical sustainable city models. The secretary of the Brazilian embassy in France, Gregory Beshara, was present at the meeting. The binational’s schedule in the French capital, which started last Monday, will end on Thursday (15).
What is the Council?
The MAB International Council consists of 34 UNESCO member states, elected by the entity’s general conference. Created to facilitate international scientific cooperation regarding interactions between man and his environment, the program was launched in 1971 and is the result of the Unesco “Conference on the Biosphere “, held in September of 1968 also in Paris.
Itaipu areas and reservations
Itaipu maintains reservations and environmental reservations and acts to ensure the sustainability of its surrounding areas, with the dissemination of aquaculture and fish farming in the reservoir, the company also supports environmentally less aggressive agricultural and livestock production practices.
Brazil has the following biological reservations: Bela Vista (1,920/ha) and Santa Helena (1,482/ha), while Paraguay manages the following biological reservations: Itabó (15,208/ha), Limoy (14,828/ha), Carapá (3,250/ha), Tati Yupi (2,245/ha) and Yui Rupá (750/ha).
In Paraguay, where environmental actions similar to those developed on the Brazilian side are carried out, Itaipu Binational is responsible for the execution of the ‘Paraguay Biodiversidad’ program, with resources approved by the Paraguayan government with the World Bank’s Global Environmental Fund (GEF). The objective is to preserve biological diversity and promote the sustainable use of the land.