Regional and multilateral agenda
Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC)
In December 2011, in Caracas, the Heads of State and Government of Latin America and the Caribbean formalized the operation of the new Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
Formed by the 33 countries in the region, CELAC will promote cooperation, political consensus and the international projection of Latin America.
The Community reflects a new concept of Latin America and the Caribbean, by articulating the cooperation and integration policies, aiming at solving the problems of the region based on inter-regional synergies (economic development, fight against poverty and extreme poverty and environmental protection among others).
XLII Summit of Presidents of MERCOSUR and Associated States
Held in December 2011 in Montevideo, the Summit was attended by the Heads of State of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Venezuela and Ecuador. Among the main results achieved were:
• Approval of a mechanism authorizing MERCOSUR Member States to raise, until December 2014, the rates of import duty on up to 100 products imported from countries outside the region;
• Creation of a High Level Group to define, together with the Government of Ecuador, the conditions for the country’s accession to MERCOSUR as a full member;
• Organization of the Specialized Women’s Meeting, giving a new status to the treatment of gender issues within the Bloc;
• Decision to adopt, within the framework of the Strategic Social Action Plan (Plano Estratégico de Ação Social - PEAS), Annual Regional Social Strategies to guide the implementation of the Plan. The year 2012 will be dedicated to the “Eradication of Extreme Poverty and Hunger in MERCOSUR”;
• Signature of the Protocol of Montevideo, which improves consultation and cooperation mechanisms between MERCOSUR member States in cases of threat or disruption of the democratic order, in line with the Additional Protocol to the Constitutive Treaty of UNASUR on Commitment to Democracy;
• Signing of a Free Trade Agreement between MERCOSUR and Palestine, reaffirming the support of MERCOSUR Member States for the establishment of the Palestinian State.
II Meeting of the South American Infrastructure and Planning Council (COSIPLAN) of UNASUR
The Meeting was held in Brasília, in November 2011. Among the main results achieved were:
• Approval of the 2012-2022 Strategic Action Plan (SAP), which seeks to incorporate mechanisms for social participation in infrastructure projects and improve the tools for the financing and execution of civil works;
• Approval of the Agenda of Priority Integration Projects (Agenda de Projetos Prioritários de Integração - API), with investments worth US$13.6 billion in 31 major projects, including environment, protection of indigenous peoples and preservation of the historical-cultural heritage; and
• Approval of the creation of three Working Groups:
- South American Railway Integration, which will hold discussions on the construction of the Bioceanic Railway Corridor;
- Telecommunications, which will address the creation of a South American Optical Ring;
- Funding and Guarantees Mechanisms, which will develop financial equations to enable API projects, with the support of national and regional development banks.
XI Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO)
Held in Manaus in November 2011, the Meeting decided to create the “Amazon Observatory”, a permanent forum of scientific authorities to assess the status of biodiversity studies.
During the meeting, besides the final document entitled “Manaus Commitment”, a Joint Declaration was signed for the Rio+20 Conference, in which ACTO countries reaffirm their commitment to sustainable and inclusive development and emphasize the need for greater commitment from developed countries to the provision of financial resources for the socio-environmental agenda.
Brazil has highlighted the importance of reducing inequality and promoting social justice on the international and domestic agendas of Amazon countries and proposed that issues related to social development and poverty should be prioritized in new ACTO projects.
17th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and 7th Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol
The Conference was held in Durban, South Africa, from November 28 to December 11, 2011, with the following results:
• The second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol shall begin in 2013. From then on, developed countries will have quantified obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The continuity of the Protocol strengthens the multilateral treatment of the climate change issue and preserves the only binding international instrument defining specific mitigation commitments. Its maintenance was a priority for Brazil; and
• The negotiation process through the so-called “Durban Platform for Enhanced Action” was launched.
Preparations for the Rio+20 Conference
On January 10, 2012, the UN published the first version of the Final Declaration of the Conference - “Draft Zero”. The text will be the basis for negotiations during the Rio+20.
The results of the first round of discussions on the “Draft Zero” were presented during the Fourth Meeting of the National Committee for the Conference, held in New York from January 25-27. The committee is composed by Government and Civil Society representatives, and is responsible for preparing Brazil’s positions. The next round will be held on March 19, also in New York.
Global Bioenergy Partnership
In November 2011, the Steering Committee of the Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP), co-chaired by Brazil and Italy, approved the report entitled “Sustainability Indicators for Bioenergy”.
There are 24 indicators for the sustainable production and use of bioenergy, being eight for each sustainability pillar: economic, social and environmental.
Its purpose is to offer interested policy makers a tool to support the development of national bionergy policies and programs and monitor their impact, as well as to interpret and respond to environmental, social and economic impacts of bionergy production and use.
Brazil and Italy co-chair the GBEP since 2008 and their mandate was just renewed for an additional year.
Visit of the Executive-Director of UN Women to Brazil
The Undersecretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) visited Brazil from December 14-16, 2011.
On the occasion, she officially delivered the Report on Social Protection Floor for a Fair and Inclusive Globalization to the Brazilian President and addressed issues related to the Brazilian experience in fighting poverty and hunger, to South- -South cooperation in the area of gender and to the prospects for the Rio+20 Conference regarding gender and women’s empowerment.
In Rio de Janeiro, the Executive-Director of UN Women also visited the Brazilian Joint Center for Peacekeeping Operations (Centro Conjunto de Operações de Paz do Brasil - CCOPAB).
High Level Ibero-American Summit to celebrate the International Year For People of African Descent
The Brazilian President chaired the High Level Ibero-American Summit to celebrate the International Year for People of African Descent, held in Salvador on November 19, 2011.
The meeting was attended by the Presidents of Cape Verde, Guinea and Uruguay, the Vice-President of Colombia and the Ministers of Culture of Angola, Benin, Cuba and Peru.
The Declaration of Salvador, which recommended the establishment of a “Statistical Data Observatory for People of African Descent in Latin America and the Caribbean” and the creation of the “Ibero- -American Fund for the Benefit of People of African Descent,” based on voluntary contributions, was adopted during the meeting.