First ‘transboundary’ reserve in South America protects an endangered ecosystem and promotes peace between Ecuador and Peru
Located in the southwest of Ecuador and northwest of Peru, Bosques de Paz seeks to be a model of participatory and citizen management that can strengthen peace, sustainability and ecological connectivity between both countries.
The site, which was recognized this year as the first transboundary reserve in South America by the International Coordinating Council of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme, was presented officially by the Environment Ministers of Ecuador and Peru, Mr Tarsicio Granizo and Mrs Elsa Galarza, on 18 August 2017, in the city of Macar’, Loja Province, Ecuador. It promotes sustainable development for the benefit of the more than 600,000 Peruvians and Ecuadorians that live in this area.
Bosques de Paz, which translates to ‘Forests of Peace’, has a total area of 1,616,988 hectares and is composed of the Bosque Seco Biosphere Reserve in Ecuador (501,040 hectares) and the Noroeste Amotapes – Manglares Biosphere Reserve in Peru (1,115,948 hectares). It includes the seasonally dry forests of Ecuador and Peru, which form the heart of the Endemic Region of Tumbes, one of the most important biodiversity hotspots of the world.
During the event, the Ecuadorian Minister of the Environment declared that his country was ‘pleased to have this Biosphere Reserve as an additional management tool for the conservation of this important and fragile ecosystem. Thanks to the will, inclusiveness and brotherhood of the people of both countries, this biosphere reserve is now officially launched. In addition to facilitate looking after the forests, it presents an alternative for sustainable development and the conservation of nature.’
The Peruvian Minister of the Environment highlighted the coordinated efforts between the two countries, through which a biosphere reserve could be established to promote the development and well-being of border populations, while further strengthening the friendship between both countries following the conflict of a few decades ago.
Both countries expressed their appreciation for the support received in this nomination process by the Government of Flanders of the Kingdom of Belgium through the BRESEP Project (Biosphere Reserves as a tool for management of coastal areas and islands in the South East Pacific). Ecuador and Peru both participate in this project, together with Chile, Colombia and Panama.
BRESEP, which is coordinated by the UNESCO-MAB Programme, aims to create and strengthen existing biosphere reserves in coastal areas and islands of the South East Pacific coast of these five countries. BRESEP also aims to promote biosphere reserves as tools for innovative projects to bring added value to local socio-economical activities, and to sensitize and build the capacity of stakeholders in the area.
Credit: Buenos Aires News, www.buenosairesnews.net