Uruguay UNEP Position Statement

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  Delegation from: Represented by: Uruguay Boulder High School Position Paper for United Nations Environmental Programme 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5. 6. 7. 8. I.   Habitat Fragmentation   Habitat fragmentation in the areas of Central and South America, as with other less developed areas, is a large problem with considerable negative impacts. Deforestation, desertification, overfishing, and unsustainable mining practices have all contributed to habitat fragmentation in addition to an overall loss of biodiversity in the world. Though Uruguay is geographically located in South America, it has been making a constant national effort to improve the efficiency and sustainability of its environmental  practices. Taking that into account, it is also unfair to ask undeveloped countries to abruptly end their current, albeit negative, environmental practices, whether that entails farming, mining, or fishing. Many countries that are important and influential in the modern political world relied on similar practices to develop and gain their current status. Uruguay believes that the entire world needs to work together to stop environmental practices such as slash and burn farming, drift and shaft mining, and overfishing, that lead to habitat fragmentation. The less developed countries of the world especially cannot simply end these practices on their own. Uruguay has lately taken a stronger stance on habitat fragmentation, and its recent reforestation efforts have been described by the UNEP as “highly successful.” Between 1990 and 2000, Uruguay reforested at an annual rate of 6%, gaining 50,400 hectares per  year  . Despite the fact that 57,000 hectares of primary forest cover were lost, Uruguay gained 66% of its forest cover, over 600,000 hectares, between 1990 and 2005, 1   and Uruguay’s forests still consist of 17.5%, or about 306,000 hectares, of primary forest, the most biodiverse and carbon dense form of forest. 2  This growth, however, has not been without its drawbacks, as it has led to some instances of unauthorized burning and logging of dozens of hectares of forest. In one instance, such practices led to the suspension of a Spanish pulp company in 2008; though Uruguay’s Ministry of Agriculture was able to prevent one such occurrence, it may not be able to prevent all illicit, unauthorized practices, especially by private companies. In addition to making efforts to increase amount of forested land in the country, Uruguay has set aside 5,000 hectares of forest specifically for specialized species that require stable habitats with minimum disturbances, and hopes to increase that amount in the future. In addition, Uruguay has also worked in collaboration with the UPM-Kymmene Corporation (UPM) in order to conserve several categories of habitats, especially those unique to grassland birds of the genus Sporophila. 3 Uruguay also has its own faulty environmental practices. However, the economies of Uruguay and many other States in all areas of the world depend on these practices. Aratirí, a project of Megaminería of Opencast Iron in Uruguay, is in its final stage of feasibility. If approved, this mine will utilize a 230 kilometer pipeline to a deep water port of the coastal ocean, extract 20 million tons of iron per year, and consume 100 liters of fresh water every second. Production and preparation of this mine would require huge quantities of explosives, lowering agricultural productivity in the area through water pollution, drying and removal of soil, and sediment deposits. This project would use tens of millions of cubic meters of fresh water per year, and the equivalent of 10% of Uruguay’s energy consumption. 4  While unhealthy, this mine represents the economic and environmental pursuits of many less developed countries, and is necessary for their development until a more sustainable practice is affordable or available. Since habitat fragmentation is a huge issue, especially in less developed countries, Uruguay urges other States to implement the positive measures that it has. Government sponsorship of reforestation, coupled with time and money invested to that purpose, could stop and even reverse the effects of habitat fragmentation. In addition, setting aside land in order to foster biodiversity, and working in tandem with companies such as the UPM, as Uruguay has, has proven to be an effective strategy in countering habitat  Delegation from: Represented by: Uruguay Boulder High School Position Paper for United Nations Environmental Programme 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5. 6. 7. 8.   fragmentation. Finally, the monetary and political support of more developed countries and non-governmental organizations is essential if less developed countries are to respond to demands to cut unhealthy environmental practices that lead to habitat fragmentation. Resource depletion is of grave concern, especially in the 21 st  century as the need for resources such as fossil fuels, valuable minerals and water ever increase. Many nations in Latin America, Uruguay  being no exception, plague their local environment with environmentally costly agricultural and cattle farming practices. These forms of industry provide fuel to resource depletion due to the need to rapidly destroy forest and use the highly infertile soil and reduce soil quality. As developing countries, many Latin American States need to utilize their resources efficiently in order to further aid their development. However, the issue of sustainable environmental protection plans to combat resource depletion for is recognized with the same importance as stable economic growth. Actions to address the issue of resource depletion must both incorporate both effective strategies to undergird economic development, especially in developing nations, and provide the ability for these economic practices to have long environmentally sustainable elements, ensuring that the damaging previous and current resource depleting  practices’  impacts can be improved and reversed. Uruguay has made quite a few attempts to stop resource depletion within its boarders, with  programs such as the National System of Protected Areas (SNAP), a program created in 2000 that focused on the sustainable use of resources and protection of key natural regions located on the Atlantic coastline. This project has been quite successful and through funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Program Uruguay has been attempting to strengthen this program and have it used throughout the nation, as it only helps protect less than one percent of the entire nation. One region this project has been focused on protecting is the Rocha Lagoon due to its rich biodiversity and the fact that it is the location for more than 200 species of migratory birds, many of which are endangered endemic species. A challenge that stifles environmental development in Uruguay is the issue of the private sector, as more that 90 percent of U ruguay’s land  is privately owned. Uruguay has also made an attempt to increase sustainable energy programs. Uruguay lacks the fossil fuels, and in an attempt to reduce the use of foreign oil, Uruguay has used hydroelectric dams to provide 68% of its electric power. Uruguay has made plans to increase its reliance on wind and biomass, which comes from the abundant agro-industrial waste produced in Uruguay, instead of hydroelectric dams, due to Uruguay’s increasing development requiring more powerful renewable source of energy. By 2015, Uruguay plans to have 15% of its power from biomass and wind, but may be able to surpass that goal and have 25% to 28% of its energy reliant on biomass and wind. Citizens in Uruguay also tend to use less energy per person then in most Latin American nations, and thus minimize their environmental impact. Resource depletion is of grave concern, especially on the global level, and continued unsustainable practices and use of non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels must be stopped and replaced by more environmentally conscious economic plans that both undeveloped nations can follow and prosper economically and protect resources and environments. Programs within nations that focus on protecting key regions from resource extraction should be implemented in all nations, to aid in the ending of resource depletion. Agricultural practices such as overfishing should be regulated and restrictions should be implemented on resource extraction. The focusing on the replacing of non-renewable energy  Delegation from: Represented by: Uruguay Boulder High School Position Paper for United Nations Environmental Programme 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5. 6. 7. 8.   is especially important in Latin America. Uruguay supports the use of a program funded by GEF that supports the creation and utilization of hydroelectric dams in developing nations, especially nations in Latin America to provide an alternative renewable source of energy.


Jul 23, 2017
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