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Bringing Xixuaú to Copenhagen

What better way to start our new blog here at the Amazon Charitable Trust than with a few words about our trip to Copenhagen?

Of course the negotiations happened behind closed doors, and it now seems there are as many different versions of events as there were delegates, but at Amazon Charitable Trust we know that, for us, COP 15, Copenhagen was a success.

We went in with one main aim: networking!  We wanted to catch up with old friends, tell the conference about our activities, and add to our contacts with Brazilians and with rainforest NGOs across the world.  Robert Pasley-Tyler, one of our trustees, was delighted to be able to meet Marina Silva, for many years the Minister of Natural Environment in Brazil, an old friend of the Xixuaú-Xiparina Reserve.  We also made the case for expanding the Reserve to Eduardo Braga, the Governor of Amazonas - the largest and most influential of the Brazilian Amazon states.

We were delighted that Professor Virgilio Viana (another of our trustees, and a leading expert on sustainable forest management) joined us from Brazil.  He told the conference about the latest success with Bolsa Floresta: an initiative of Amazonas state that gives grants directly to families and invests in communities, in exchange for preserving the rainforest in their area.

A third trustee, Bianca Jagger, found she had a huge amount in common with Martin von Hildebrandt, who coordinates the Gaia Foundation and COAMA (a series of Colombian NGOs that united support for 250 indigenous communities).  Both Bianca and COAMA have won Right Livelihood Awards for their dedication to social justice and environmental protection in Latin America.

Martin joined our trustees to hold a press conference on 'Averting climate chaos by putting forest and people first'.  By explaining our shared, grassroots approach to rainforest conservation, working directly with and for local communities; we truly brought Xixuaú to Copenhagen.