Magazine article Americas (English Edition)

OAS Projects in Brazil

Magazine article Americas (English Edition)

OAS Projects in Brazil

Article excerpt


Brazil is one of the richest countries in the world with regards to water resources. With a water capital of approximately 30 million liters of water per capita per year, Brazil's water supply maintains a strong hydroelectric capacity, supports irrigation systems for agriculture, provides navigation along its many rivers, and sustains vibrant vegetation and biodiversity.

However, notwithstanding its enormous water resource capacity, Brazil's water is not equally distributed in time and space, resulting in frequent floods in some areas and disastrous drought in others. For this reason, Brazil has been engaged for many years in carefully integrated water management. These practices have allowed the country to maintain a balance between using water primarily for socioeconomic development and protecting and conserving its water assets for future generations.

This experience makes Brazil a country that has evolved in terms of governance of its water resources, with an impressive body of laws, strong institutions, effective non governmental organizations, and important participation processes incorporating academia, the private sector, and youth.

Brazil and the Organization of American States (OAS), through the Department of Sustainable Development, have had a long-standing relationship in the execution of projects in integrated water resources management, as well as in the dissemination of information collected from these endeavors. The diverse nature of Brazil's water governance arrangements has benefited countries in the Americas and other parts of the world, inspiring better transboundary and political relationships, while promoting peace and democracy.

Additionally, the collaboration between Brazil and the OAS has lead to important actions on local, national, and regional levels. Some of the areas where Brazil and the OAS have accomplished results which are beneficial to the communities involve projects in Sao Francisco, Amazonas, and La Plata River basins, as well as in the Pantanal region and the Guarani aquifer.

Each project encompasses different and unique aspects. The Sao Francisco River system is comprised of a river, an estuary, and coastal areas. The system shares many of the serious problems faced by other river systems, such as estuarine degradation, pollution from point and non-point sources, and multiple use conflicts. An integrated approach to the planning and management of the Sao Francisco River has provided a fundamental case study, with important results and experiences that can be shared with other regions. …

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