Top Latin America Business, Political Leaders Join Forces to Conserve the Region’s Natural Systems
New Latin America Conservation Council to Address Top Environmental Challenges
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO | September 08, 2011
With a goal of solving significant regional conservation challenges for the benefit of Latin America’s nature and people, 34 of the region’s top business and political leaders have formed the Latin America Conservation Council, under the coordination of the global conservation organization, The Nature Conservancy.
The Council, co-chaired by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr. and Warburg Pincus Managing Director Alain Belda of Brazil, will unite business thinkers and private sector expertise from across Latin America and beyond to generate innovative, entrepreneurial solutions to challenges facing the region’s environment. Council members will apply the same investment savvy and political acumen used in business and the public sector to create opportunities to advance conservation.
Leaders from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru and Venezuela are participating in the Council, as well as individuals from the United States and Europe who also have strong ties to the region. (For a complete list of members, please see attachment.)
The creation of the Council was announced today at an event in Mexico City by Paulson, Belda, Nature Conservancy CEO Mark Tercek, and Council member Roberto Hernández Ramírez, chairman of the board of Banco Nacional de México and vice chairman of the Conservancy’s Board of Directors.
“Latin America is changing and growing fast and there exists a unique opportunity to guide that growth in a sustainable way,” said Paulson, who has been a driving force in assembling the Council’s membership. “It is clear that the time has come for a truly pan-regional approach to sustainability and ensuring the health of the forests, grasslands, rivers and oceans that sustain the region’s people and economies. The Council will be a leading voice for these issues.”
As envisioned, the Council will focus on the Latin American environmental issues that pose the greatest challenges to human well-being and natural ecosystems. Teams of Council members will collaborate on the design, implementation and success of a set of projects aimed at addressing those challenges – and will push for the adoption of innovative conservation practices across the region. The Council will focus its attention on:
- Nature-based solutions to water security – The Council will mobilize local business and political leaders around a goal of using nature-based solutions to help secure water supplies for Latin America’s most at-risk cities, benefitting as many as 100 million people;
- Food security and sustainable landscapes and seascapes – The Council will engage in efforts by organizations that are specialized in agricultural, ranching and fisheries productivity to increase food production while protecting Latin America’s unique forests, grasslands and marine areas; and
- Smart infrastructure development – The Council will address opportunities for businesses and governments to design Latin America’s energy, mining, tourism and transportation infrastructure to dramatically reduce its impact on natural systems.
Council members also will work to raise awareness about these important themes among the Latin American population in order to promote broader engagement in conservation opportunities across the region.
The Council will hold its first formal meeting in November in Cartagena, Colombia.
“I have seen both the benefits and challenges posed by the rapid development in many Latin American countries,” said Belda. “We have now the opportunity to choose to grow sustainably as a region. With members from across Latin America, the Council has the opportunity to influence practices and policies at a continental scale.”
“The fact that such an influential group of Latin America leaders has agreed to join the Council demonstrates the urgency and opportunity of taking steps now to conserve the region’s natural capital,” said Nature Conservancy CEO Mark Tercek. “We believe the only way to address regional environmental challenges is for all sectors of society – business, government and NGOs – to work together.”
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization, with nearly 4,000 employees working in 35 countries around the world. The Conservancy began working in Latin America over 36 years ago. Today the organization operates in 16 Latin America countries with 35 offices and 250 staff.
The organization is known for its focus on large-scale projects and replicable conservation strategies. It works closely with public and private partners to achieve tangible, measurable results on the ground. The organization’s core strength is its collaborative, science-based approach to improving conservation practices. With experts in virtually every conservation-related field, from agronomy to environmental economics to watershed management, the Conservancy has used its six decades of land conservation experience, advances in remote sensing and modeling, and a record of applying science to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.