For Ambassadors, Itaipu's environmental actions are at the forefront of sustainable development
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Itaipu's environmental actions are at the forefront of sustainable development strategies advocated by the United Nations (UN). The analysis is a consensus among the nine ambassadors who, this Friday (28), ended a two-day meeting at Itaipu Binacional in Foz do Iguaçu (PR).

Photo: Rubens Fraulini/Itaipu Binacional.

"I was impressed with what I got to know in-depth," said the Spanish ambassador, Fernando García Casas. "Itaipu is an example of international cooperation aimed at a sustainable development project that is fully consistent with the United Nations' 2030 Agenda and the sustainable development positions we hold in the European Union".

According to the diplomats, Itaipu's environmental actions are fully aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) proposed by the UN. All 17 SDGs are achieved by these actions in Western Paraná - the power plant's influence area. This Friday, they went to Itaipu's Bela Vista Wildlife Refuge. They visited the various activities in the areas of fauna and flora protection, reservoir preservation, and territory management.

"It was a passionate visit," said French Ambassador Brigitte Collet. "One point that interested me was the presentation made about carbon sequestration and everything that the reforested forest makes possible in terms of carbon absorption, and this is an essential point, the use of the forest to prevent global warming", he concluded, referring to the green belt formed by Itaipu, with more than 100,000 hectares of preserved Atlantic Forest, divided between the protection strip and biological refuges - three on the Brazilian side alone.

UNESCO recognizes these protected areas as a core zone of the Man and the Biosphere program. It is the only hydroelectric plant in the world with this title. In 2017, the SOS Mata Atlântica Foundation published a study indicating that Itaipu is primarily responsible for regenerating forest areas in Paraná. There is almost a 30% recovery of the biome observed in the state in the last 30 years.

The visit

Throughout the morning, the ambassadors had a lesson about Itaipu's environmental actions. First, about the forest protection areas, such as the riparian forest, the Biodiversity Corridor, and the biological refuges, then, the environmental education activities in the 55 municipalities in the region, a program with 27 goals and 42 actions, based on four axes.

In the fauna part, the delegation learned about two breeding programs for endangered species, one for the harpy eagle and the other for the jaguar. In the flora, they learned about the production of seedlings used in reforestation in the region. They also went on the ecological trail and understood how reforestation actions and the option for electric vehicles avoid the emission of 2.94 million tons of CO² equivalent per year.

The ambassadors went to the RBV Portinho to tag and release pacu fish, take a boat ride on the reservoir, and see the fish production project in tank nets.

"They left very satisfied with what they saw, especially this relationship between hydroelectric power and sustainability", said Itaipu's Coordination Director, General Luiz Felipe Carbonell, who accompanied the group. "We were able to show that it is possible to generate clean, renewable energy and, at the same time, keep the environment in conditions to meet the needs of future generations", he said. "Many have expressed an intention to maintain contact with Itaipu to learn the methodology we use".

The visit was concluded with a presentation of the Itaipu Technological Park (ITP) activities, such as the Hydrogen Research Center and the International Center for Renewable Energy, at the Production Building inside the power plant. At lunch, the ambassadors were received by the Brazilian General Director, General João Francisco Ferreira. In the afternoon, they ended their schedule by visiting the Iguaçu Falls.

"We were happy to welcome them here. We try in this restricted time to show them the best of what we have. The hydroelectric dam that we are so proud of is the result of civil construction engineering and diplomatic architecture. And, today, we continue united, producing energy and social and economic development for the region, with care for the environment", said General Ferreira.

The Ambassadors

This was the most significant ambassadorial visit to Itaipu - the previous record was in 1993 when five diplomats visited the company. Representatives from Australia, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Spain, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and the United States have now attended. They were able to learn about Itaipu's environmental practices and plant seeds, separate seedlings, and place the marker on fish that are released into the reservoir.

"In this visit, we could see the effort that Itaipu Binacional is making in the scope of nature protection, besides creating a sustainable business, contributing to society as a whole", considered the ambassador of the European Union Ignacio Ybáñez Rubio.

For the Danish ambassador, Nicolai Prytz, the binational is an example of Brazil and Paraguay's serious commitment to clean energy production. "This is not yesterday's project, it has been done for a long time, and it shows an unbelievable vision in the renewable energy area, how two different countries can keep this project going for so long", he said.

The UK ambassador, Peter Wilson, also applauds the binational's initiatives in clean energy production. "It was a great pleasure to learn about the size of Itaipu and its importance in protecting the environment with the future of renewable energy in mind".

"It is a beautiful work being done here, with the nature protection work and the agreements made, including between the Nuremberg Zoo (Germany) and the Itaipu Biological Refuge", considered the German ambassador, Heiko Thoms. "It was evident that Itaipu is a company with many aspects, part in the production of energy and everything they do to take care of the environment", collaborated the United States ambassador, Todd Crawford Chapman.

"The message and cooperation between the two countries and the commitment to protect the environment are impressive", said Indian Ambassador Suresh Reddy.

"Impressive, phenomenal. Itaipu is a wonder, not only for Brazil and Paraguay but for the world. It reflects international cooperation and the importance of renewable energies. We will work to expand the relationship between Brazil and Australia, especially in the energy area, which is very important to us", said the Australian ambassador, Timothy Kane.