Globalization in the Amazon: Exploiting Natural Resources and the Sustainability of the Human Factor - A Series of Workshops

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The International Symposium Globalization in the Amazon - Exploiting Natural Resources and the Sustainability of the Human Factor is an international symposium held in Haifa, Israel, 26-28 May 2010, with international and Brazilian experts. It brings together leading, international experts from the diverse fields of the social and environmental sciences, and non-governmental organizations, within the framework of a three-day concentrated endeavour.

LOCATION: Haifa, Israel

DATE: 26-28 May 2010

CONTACT: Amos Megged: amosmegged@research.haifa.ac.il,

Juliano Klevanskis Candido: jklevans@campus.haifa.ac.il

Contents

Challenges addressed

  • The Amazon Basin is the largest, dense tropical rainforest in the world, covering about 7,235,430 square kilometres, an area larger than the entire continental United States. It is drained by the Amazon River and its tributaries, containing nearly 1/3 of the world’s species, 1/5 of the earth's fresh-water supply and within this vast space are 80% of the world's medicinal plants. For the past two decades or so, the Amazon Basin has witnessed the growing currents of social upheaval and catastrophes, side by side with disastrous, environmental consequences. By 1995 paved highways linked the major towns, hydroelectric dams on the Tocantins, Uatamã and Jamarí converted the rivers into large terra firme lakes, and the headwaters of the principal tributaries had been devastated physically and contaminated chemically by gold mining. Hundreds of square kilometres of virgin forest had been replaced by pasture and numerous indigenous populations had been displaced. Concurrently, the entire region is also undergoing a massive process of deforestation; unique plant species used for extracting medicine, as well as unique bird species are progressively becoming extinct. Human traditional activities, such as rubber tapping, are also under threat, especially in the southern Amazonas state, in the Purus and Jurua river valleys.

Currently, there is an intensified involvement of foreign NGO’s in the conflicts arising between indigenous groups and commercial actors that are invading the forest. Take for example, the German NGO's Brotfür die Welt (Bread for the World), Robin Wood, Tropenholznetzwerk, GFBV who support the Tupiniquim and even the Guarani against the Aracruz Celulose S.A. production line. The protest is led by the German Lutheran Church. Other foreign organizations are now working in many areas of the Amazon, side by side with over a hundred Brazilian NGO's.

Symposium aims

The Amazon crisis still requires cautious review, which is the object of this symposium and workshops:

  • Is "Globalization of the Amazon" indeed a reality? One of the most disturbing issues at stake is the degree in which local disastrous trends are fueled by Brazilian agents-of-change or by global, external, driving forces? The assumption is that about 70% of the harmful consequences are caused by Brazilian factors and actors, and only 30% by foreign-global factors (See: the 17th USAID Report from November 2009). What is the degree of the dialogues conducted by incoming companies with local actors?
  • How the different law-enforcement agencies manage to both supervise and curb deforestation; excess mining; illegal dumping of fuels and intoxicants (kaolin) into the Amazon earth and rivers, and other harmful trends.
  • Governmental initiatives: The current REDD policy aims to reduce deforestation by 80% by 2020. The Brazilian government seeks to reach this target through a series of incentives for forest conservation which will be conducted through forest conservation for indigenous and traditional groups, and reduction of emissions by settlers and private property owners (in Acre state). There is currently also an official ban on deforestation for cattle ranching in the Amazon, since November 2009. The question remains whether such policy is really implemented and is it effective?
  • The allocation of lands to private and commercial sectors: the issue of lands and the privatization of Amazon lands by various agencies through both legal and illegal means coincide with the issue of assigning protected lands to the different indigenous tribes. On many occasions, there is an obvious conflict between the two.
  • Yet another significant issue that requires attention is the role and capacity of local, indigenous initiatives of conserving the forest lands and developing self-awareness of managing their resources vis-à-vis the new challenges, such as the outflow from remote villages, and increasing links with towns and cities (The establishment of Ethno-environmental protection zones).
  • In this context also is the issue of considering how best indigenous peoples can optimize the opportunities presented by the access and benefit sharing (ABS) debate in furtherance of the development imperative in international intellectual property law and policy. What are the obstacles that indigenous peoples face in the ABS process and how may those be mitigated for a meaningful indigenous people’s engagement in the new knowledge economy?

Symposium goals

The goal of this symposium and workshop is to initiate a serious gathering of experts to form a unique framework of a "think-tank" over the entire complex of all these urging predicaments. In this light, then, this international symposium aims to further enhance public and governmental awareness and actions concerning the crucial implications and repercussions of the above issues on the Amazon Basin. It brings together leading, international experts from the diverse fields of the social and environmental sciences, and non-governmental organizations, side by side with senior representatives of petroleum and wood companies and the pharmaceutical industry, within the framework of a three-day concentrated endeavour.

As expected, the outcomes of stirring such debate should result in the reaching of a special consideration over the need to establish a far more cautiously balanced policy of material exploitation, vis-à-vis human conservation and environmental sustainability of the Amazon basin for the generations to come.

The University of Haifa is the home of the Helena Lewin Chair in Latin American Studies, which is committed to current political, social and environmental developments, innovation and change in Latin America, as well as to historical aspects. In this spirit, back in 2002, this Chair initiated an international symposium that dealt with Impunity and Human Rights in Latin America, from the legal angle, in which leading jurists from Latin America and Spain participated. As a direct consequence of this present symposium, the Helena Lewin Chair in Latin American Studies strives to make public 'guiding principles' in order to preserve these forests and its peoples.

Symposium activities

The workshop will be structured in the form of: a) plenary sessions, open to public and to the world press, in which the participants will address the most urging issues of this workshop (in English), and b) closed, round-table sessions (in English and Portuguese), during which discussions will be held among the participants in order to try and bring to light 'guiding principles' for resolving major issues, such as the growing currents of social unrest in the area, territorial rights, and patent rights of the indigenous peoples over natural resources and local traditional medicines.

The University of Haifa is the largest comprehensive research university in northern Israel. It is a microcosm of Israeli society dedicated to academic excellence and social responsibility. Inter-disciplinary programs, cooperative endeavours with academic institutes around the world and a diverse student body primed to address regional challenges and universal social issues.

Language

There will be consecutive translation English/Portuguese, Portuguese/English, Spanish/English and English/Spanish for the sessions.

Proposed actions and solutions

Meeting activities


Day 1: Wednesday, May 26


The Hecht Hall

09:00-10:00 -- Formal Opening

Greetings: Greetings by Yossi Ben-Artzi, Rector, the University of Haifa;

Introductory Note: Amos Megged, Chairperson, The Helena Lewin Chair in Latin American Studies


10:15-11:00 -- Keynote Speaker

  • Mr. Eduardo Uziel, Chargé des Affaires, The Brazilian Embassy in Israel




Plenary Session I: The Social and Legal Aspects

11:00-11:45

Stephen Grant Baines -- Universidade de Brasília (UnB)

(Via Tele-Conference from ANU-Canberra, Australia)

  • The impacts of large-scale development projects on Indigenous Peoples of Brazilian Amazon.


12:00-12:45

Ela Wiecko Volkmer de Castilho -- Universidade de Brasília (UnB), Former Deputy-Attorney General

  • The Indigenous Peoples and Minorities: The Legal Angle.


12:45-13:00: Discussion


13:30-15:00: Lunch break


Brazil Film Festival: Day 1 -- Video Hall 606




Plenary Session II: Re-Appropriation of Rights over Natural Resources, Vis-A-Vis Developmental Acceleration.


15:00-15:45

Almir Narayamoga Suruí -- The chief of the Surui people, Brazil

  • Brazilian Indigenous Testimonials on the Current Developments.


16:00-16:45

Alcida Rita Ramos -- Universidade de Brasília (UnB)

  • Brazil's Plan of Growth Acceleration (PAC)


17:00-17:45

Chidi Oguamanam -- Dalhousie University, Schulich School of Law, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

  • Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous Knowledge in the Politics of the Global Knowledge Economy.


18:00-18:45

Hilton Silva do Nascimento -- Ecologist. Regional Coordinator of the Center for Indigenist Work (CTI)

  • Accelerating Development: The Possibilities of Environmental Conservation Initiated by Isolated Populations in the Brazil-Peru Border.


18:45-19:00 -- Discussion




Concurrently, throughout the first day, there will be a Brazil Happening held all along the public promenade leading from the Main Building to the Rabin Building, with stands, Capoeira dances, folklore items on sale from Brazil, and Brazilian culinary dishes. At the hallway along the University Library there will be an exhibition of Photography from the Amazon (inaugurated on April 15).



Day 2: Thursday, May 27



Plenary Session III: The Historical, Ethno-historical, and Anthropological Facets


09:30-10:15

John Manuel Monteiro -- Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp)

  • Indigenous Responses to Slavery, Commerce, and Missionary Activities in the Amazon during the Colonial Period.


10:15-11:00

José Pimenta -- Universidade de Brasília (UnB)

  • From logging economy to 'sustainable development´: The experience of the Ashaninka in Brazil


11:00-11:15 -- Discussion


11:15-12:15 -- Break


12:15-14:00 -- Working Session I -- The Indigenous Peoples and National Sovereignty

Stephen Baines (Via Tele-Conference from ANU-Canberra, Australia)

  • Case Study: "Macushi and Wapishana Indigenous Peoples on the Brazil-Guyana Border, Northern Amazon: Ethnicity and Nationality". The more recent impacts of the Balbina Hydroelectric Scheme and Industrial Mining on this indigenous people, and prohibition of all research in anthropology by the Eletronorte (hydroelectric administration program (with short PowerPoint presentation).


14:00-15:00 -- Lunch Break


Brazil Film Festival: Day 2 -- Video Hall 606




15:00-17:00 -- Working Session II

Indigenous Re-Appropriation of their Rights over Resources and Intellectual Property

Chidi Oguamanam

  • What are the obstacles that indigenous peoples face in the ABS process and how may those be mitigated for a meaningful indigenous people’s engagement in the new knowledge economy? – Calibrating Indigenous Knowledge within the Development Imperative in International Intellectual Property Law and Policy.



Day 3: Friday, May 28



09:30-12:30

Working Session III: Deforestation, Dams, and Environmental Destruction in the Amazon Basin - The Xingu River and the Belo Monte Dam Project


Ivaneide Bandeira Cardozo -- Kaninde - Associação de Defesa Etnoambiental, Brazil

Moshe Inbar -- Department of Geography (Emeritus), University of Haifa

Hilton Silva do Nascimento -- Center for Indigenist Work (CTI)


12:45-12:45 -- Break




12:45-14:00 -- Working Session IV

The Legal Repercussions of Globalization and the Human Factor

Ela Wiecko Volkmer de Castilho -- Universidade de Brasília (UnB), Former Deputy-Attorney General

  • Indigenous Campaigns and the Democratic Public Prosecutor for the Defense of the Indigenous Peoples and Minorities.

Chidi Oguamanam -- Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Workshop Outcomes

Workshop Media Coverage

Real-time Updates

Visit the Facebook event [1] for real-time updates on the progress of the symposium and workshops. Visit the Facebook event [2] for update from the parelell event: Ethnohistory & Cinema. Visit the Facebook event [3] for update from the parallel event: Brazil's Festival at our Campus. Visit the Orkut event [4] for real-time updates on the progress of the symposium and workshops.

Related Documents

Flickr images from the events

[5]

TheLatinam Channel on YouTube

[6]

Live Broadcast

[7]

Related External News & Publications



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Joint International Workshop on High Nature Value Criteria and Potential for Sustainable Use of Degraded Lands
2nd Joint International Workshop on Bioenergy, Biodiversity Mapping and Degraded Lands
Brazil edit

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