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Itaipu and the Atlantic Forest Council install the first DMU of the Biosphere Reserve in the World
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Itaipu Binational and the National Council of the Atlantic Forest Biosphere Reserve kicked off the activities of the first Decentralized Management Unit (DMU) of the Biosphere Reserve in the world. The initiative has the approval of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Itaipu Reservoir. Photo: Alexandre Marchetti/Itaipu Binacional.

The Itaipu Atlantic Forest Biosphere Reserve DMU (Itaipu AFBR DMU) adds up to around 860 thousand hectares, comprising the binational company's protected areas and riparian forests of 29 municipalities that are part of Part 3 of the Paraná River Watershed, being limited by the Ilha Grande National Park to the north and the Iguaçu National Park to the south.

In a ceremony held online on July 27th, the National Council of the Atlantic Forest Biosphere Reserve certified Itaipu as the DMU coordinator, with a four-year term. Representing the company, forestry engineer Luís César Rodrigues da Silva, from the Division of Protected Areas, was sworn in as the executive coordinator of the DMU Support Advisory Forum, composed of ten government members and ten non-government members, among them ICMBio-Iguaçu National Park, the Water and Land Institute (IAT), the Council of Bordering Municipalities, the Association of the Municipalities of Western Paraná (AMOP), the Parque das Aves (bird park), and Cataratas S/A, among others. All representatives and respective alternates were also sworn on July 27th. 

For the Itaipu director of Coordination, general Luiz Felipe Carbonell, the DMU is an important advancement in environmental management and a recognition of the conservation efforts undertaken by the company. "The creation of the DMU reflects a concern with sustainable development and the future generations. The care with biodiversity has a direct relationship with the water safety of the territory, which benefits not only the production of energy by Itaipu in the long term but also the other economic activities of the region, such as agriculture, livestock raising, and tourism", he stated.

The chair of the National Council of the AFBR, Clayton Lino, highlighted that the DMU coordinated by Itaipu gathers the three main attributes of the Biosphere Reserve, which are the conservation of the ecosystems, the fostering of sustainable development, and the production of scientific knowledge. "It is a recognition of the conservation work done by Itaipu, which is spectacular", he said. "We could not have a better partner to begin this new type of management, a model that we intend to expand to other sites", he added.

The municipalities that are part of the initiative are among the main beneficiaries, in the opinion of the Itaipu Environmental Management superintendent, Ariel Scheffer da Silva. One of the actions of the DMU will be to carry out efforts for the DMU municipalities to elaborate their Atlantic Forest Municipal Plans, an important tool for the statutory conservation of the biome. "Biodiversity is directly linked to business, health, and economic development, among others. Hence, the city halls have much to gain because they will be contributing to various aspects to promote sustainability and will be able to have facilitated access to financial resources from government and international organization programs ", he assessed.
Besides the already named authorities, the ceremony had the participation of the director of the UNESCO Division of Science Policy and Capacity Building, Lídia Brito, the UNESCO representative, Fábio Eon, the coordinator of Natural Resources of the State Secretariat of Sustainable Development and Tourism of Paraná, Fernanda Góss Braga, the representative of the municipalities of West Paraná, Vinicius Almeida dos Santos, and the representative of the Council of Bordering Municipalities, Sandra Finkler.

How it works

The areas of the Biosphere Reserve are implemented by governments and approved by UNESCO. The management is exercised with the support of collegiates of managers composed equally by government and non-government representatives. The DMU is a new instance in the system and has certain independence to conduct the work.

The operation of the DMU is in line with the promotion of Sustainable Development Goal 11 (support the positive economic, social, and environmental bonds among urban, metropolitan, and rural areas, strengthening national and regional development) and is in accordance with the premises of the program Humanity and the Biosphere (the former Man and the Biosphere). For such, it will have the support of the twenty institutions that integrate the Advisory Forum.