From: Associated Press
Published September 14, 2004 12:00 AM

Green Meeting in Brazil to Propose Environmental Court

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — A meeting this week sponsored by major energy companies will propose creating an international court to assess and punish environmental crimes, organizers said.


The Fourth Green Meeting of the Americas will seek proposals to promote development while protecting the environment, said Paulo Cesar Fernandes, one of the conference organizers.


The three-day meeting, which begins Tuesday, is sponsored by Brazilian oil giant Petrobras and other Brazilian energy companies. Some 3,000 people from more than a dozen countries are expected to attend, including politicians, business leaders, and environmentalists.


The main proposal will be the creation of an International Environmental Court, modeled after the World Court in the Hague, Netherlands.


The court will seek to balance economic development with protecting the environment, punishing environmental crimes on a global level, Fernandes said.


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"The proposal for the court should come out in a 'Green Letter' that will be drafted by the end of the conference," he said.


Other topics will include climate change, water resources, biotechnology, forests, and energy.


Musa Amer Salim Odeh, the chief of the Palestinian Special Delegation to Brazil, will offer a presentation on the environmental consequences of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.


New Zealand's ambassador to Brazil, Denise Almoa, will discuss her country's successes in the area of sustainable development.


Brazil has long been an important country for environmentalists because it is home to the Amazon rainforest, the world's largest remaining tropical wilderness. Efforts to balance development with environmental protections are especially urgent in Brazil, where logging, ranching, and grain farming claim nearly 25,000 square kilometers (10,000 square miles) of forest ever year.


Source: Associated Press


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