Delegations from Amazonian countries praised the initiative to implement ARO and pledged to share official information from countries on biodiversity
In a special virtual meeting, held on April 5, the Permanent Secretariat of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (PS/ACTO) presented to the delegations of the Member Countries the proposal for a Management Committee for the Amazon Regional Observatory (ARO).
The meeting was chaired by ACTO Executive Director, Ambassador Carlos Lazary, who welcomed the delegations contextualizing that the meeting to discuss the formation of the ARO Steering Committee culminates in a process initiated in the meetings of Foreign Affairs ministers of the Amazon countries that instructed PS/ACTO to move forward in the construction process of the Observatory.
“We hope that the Amazon Regional Observatory will be a virtual and face-to-face locus of scientifically based information from different official sources on the Amazon region and that it will become a regional and global reference, as well as a more agile means of interaction between Member Countries,” he said.
ARO is a permanent virtual forum that fosters the flow of information between institutions and intergovernmental authorities in the Member Countries. Subdivided into modules, it covers the themes of biodiversity and CITES species, forests, water resources, indigenous peoples, science and technology, among others. Currently in development, ARO is expected to launch in August 2021.
Development and implementation
The coordinator of the Bioamazon Project, Mauro Ruffino, presented the timeline and status of implementation of the ARO and the Term of Reference for the creation of the Steering Committee. Ruffino stressed that one of the most important functions of the Committee will be the preparation of ARO’s Strategic Plan with a long-term vision, which will be the guiding document for the next stages of implementation by PS/ACTO.
The Steering Committee will be composed of one or more delegates officially appointed by the eight ACTO member countries. Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana and Peru have already appointed their representatives. With the indication of the other delegates of the countries, the coordination of actions with the institutions of national scope that will participate in the construction of the ARO will be initiated.
Motivation and participation of the Member Countries
During the virtual meeting, representatives of the delegations of the Amazonian countries had the opportunity to speak about ARO.
The representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Christian Villarreal, expressed the country’s willingness to work together in the implementation of the Observatory.
The representative of Colombia, Dr. Luz Marina Mantilla, of the Sinchi Institute, referred to the historic development process of the Observatory and to Colombia’s proactive participation. She stressed that the country has always emphasized that the information passed on to ARO must come from official sources, and that information on the projects carried out by PS/ACTO should be considered as primary information to be shared. In addition, she informed that the country is working on information on CITES species that will be made available to interoperate with ARO.
Ecuador, through Juan José Saltos, from the Ministry of Environment and Water (MAAE), reiterated the country’s commitment to move forward with the implementation of ARO and that they are analyzing the best way to provide their support.
Américo Sánchez, representative of the Peruvian Amazon Research Institute (IIAP) said that there is great institutional motivation with the implementation of the ARO and informed that they are working on the Information System on Biological and Environmental Diversity of the Peruvian Amazon (SIAMAZONIA), aligned with the ARO, ratifying the commitment to support compliance with implementation deadlines.
Closing the meeting, Ambassador Carlos Lazary stressed the importance of appointing a representative to the Management Committee of the Amazon Regional Observatory based on the internal dialogue between national institutions related to ARO issues, a process that must be conducted by the ACTO´s Focal Points.
Published in the Bioamazon Newsletter, issue n. 8, March-April 2021.