The communication project is part of a brand new initiative to make a contribution to the current challenges faced by climate change, high levels of poverty and deterioration of natural resources in the region. Urundei, Proteger, Fungir, Gran Chaco and Yangareko work with local communities in the basin of the rivers Pilcomayo, Paraná, Paraguay and Parapetí in ecosystems of Chaco in Argentina and Bolivia, with other related organizations in Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil in the La Plata Basin. The portal will facilitate access to information, documents, maps and photographs, as well as an updated news section and to the videos of “Voces del Chaco”.
Santa Fe, Formosa and Salta (Argentina) and Santa Cruz (Bolivia), July 28th, 2009.- The working group La Plata Basin- Gran Chaco, created in Salta earlier this year by the NGOs URUNDEI, based in Salta, PROTEGER with headquarters in Santa Fe and representation in Reconquista, FUNGIR and GRAN CHACO Formosa-based, all of them in Argentina and YANGAREKO with head office in Santa Cruz, San Pablo de Huacareta and Villa Montes, Bolivia, have just announced the launch of a website that reflects their own activities and other stakeholders’ in the region.
The website www.cuencadelplata-granchaco.org will enable the access to information, documents, maps, photographs and videos, as well as a news section for those wishing to be informed on issues related to sustainability of ecosystems and communities in this vast territory, considered to be unique on the continent and globally.
This communication initiative is within the framework of the recently announced group that seeks to make a contribution to the current challenges faced by climate change, degradation of natural resources and high levels of poverty in the region.
Proper communication addressed to all sectors of society and mainly communities in the area of work, giving greater visibility to the region, is an essential tool. The new website, the videos and photos, which involves experiences that are placed at the disposal of the communities themselves, are part of a strategy that seeks to include the rescue of culture, values and the outstanding importance of ecosystems for Latin America and the whole world and the peoples of the Gran Chaco – La Plata Basin, pointed out the organizations.
The articulation reflects a tradition in work of organizations and experts who have more than twenty years of presence in the vast territory of the Gran Chaco and the rivers that form part of this basin 3.200.00 km2, covering territories of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil , Uruguay and Paraguay, and that is the second largest in South America after the Amazon.
Special mention should be made to the simultaneous launch of “Voces del Chaco”, a series of short video documentaries, which seeks to highlight the views and approaches, and attitudes toward the conservation of biodiversity, the inhabitants of rural dispersed communities, small riverside and other areas considered marginal, “voiceless” in the international circuits.
The creators of the initiative hope to provide tools in the short term, to help other people and organizations upload videos.
Simple stories that hide a way of life, such as the “Iya” www.youtube.com/v/93NWrjIpUa0 or the building based on environmental resources from Chaco www.youtube.com/v/R_O5xWTADmw are some of the videos on youtube and will soon be linked to the website.
It also works with community groups to advance some proposals made videos of themselves on topics of their own environment. In these cases, is providing training, support and equipment to start production of documentaries.
Vast and diverse
The Gran Chaco, which includes areas of Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay, covering over one million of square kilometers in the heart of South America and the basin is the largest dry forest region of the world. Biodiversity depends crucially on the river system that crosses its territory, which, after flowing from the Andes mountains, moves through the Chaco plain with visible portions of channels and gives rise to temporary or permanent marshes, swamps and other wetlands.
It also works with community groups to advance some proposals of videos made by themselves on topics of their own environment. In these cases, training, support and equipment is being provided to start the production of documentaries.
These forests and wetlands are shelters to an extraordinary diversity of species, and are also the frame of an incredible beauty and a source of vital resources for indigenous and diverse traditional communities, says a press release circulated by the working group.
The La Plata Basin includes the Pilcomayo and Bermejo rivers which are born in mountainous areas and drag sediments, these converge with lowland rivers such as the Paraguay, born in the vast Pantanal wetlands. It nourishes countless of minor channels the behavior of which are poorly known and have been inadequately studied and documented in relation to the diversity of fish in reservoirs or sites of reproduction and the importance of migratory birds, among others.
The attractions of the basin go beyond, among others the uncertain flow of the river basin Parapetí which is part of the dividing line between La Plata Basin and the Amazon, in addition to the sub-basins whose survival is conditional to Andean water sources.
Proteger, Urundei, Fungir, Gran Chaco and Yangareko work with local communities on issues relating to capacity building, land management, environmental monitoring, and the state of resources such as fisheries and water management, wetlands and productive systems.
Traditional Chaco communities of farmers, fishermen and indigenous people of the Pilcomayo River in Bolivia and Argentina, the Parana River in Argentina, Paraguay River in Argentina and Paraguay; and Parapetí River in Bolivia, are some of the communities with which the organizations are working with a participatory approach that includes social, economic, cultural and environmental priority.
Resources, management and participation
Some of the objectives are the reversion of non-management situations of biodiversity resources, minimizing impacts and having appropriate impact on global warming issues and on the need to adapt to new situations, creating a regional awareness on the importance of achieving successful examples.
It is being pursued the implementation of joint actions aimed at providing a better understanding of the territory and its major ecosystems on the basis of an appropriate zoning, provision of information and planning aimed at sustainable use of natural resources; performed through the involvement of key stakeholders in the basin, working on incorporating the views and voices of local governments and communities scattered throughout the vast territory.
The process seeks to add synergies based on the interest of other actors to become involved in issues, among institutions and the process of work. This also leads to contribute in the search for changes in society attitude, its organizations and local governments to establish forums for discussion and consensus.
Lessons and learning
In short it aims to give greater visibility to the importance of La Plata Basin and the Gran Chaco and simultaneously display and promote alternatives to mitigate and reverse impacts, preserve the health of the waters and the importance of not affecting the residents and other living organisms, maintaining the integrity of the environments.
This is critical for understanding and exchange of information and experience on the river systems in the Basin on the traditional practices and friendly innovations with communities, their culture and environment.
Changing attitude on the impact to the environment itself, which is expected to have an influence on the surrounding ecosystems as well, should considered viable and sustainable alternatives with respect to livelihood and survival, reversing the current rate of destruction of resources which causes and will cause further degradation of the ecosystem ultimately impacting on their own production activities.
The exchange of experiences and complementary capabilities allow the organizations and communities to take advantage and strengthen their projects. The existing links with experts, scientific institutes and the different levels of government, are supposed to help the implementation on a larger scale developments.
Part of this vision is also the encouragement of research into methods of sustainable management, adding value to natural resources and productive systems of small and medium scale, with a clear option for the ecosystem approach in the strategies to maintain the integrity of watersheds.
Finally it attempts to make a good use of the lessons derived from long-standing processes in the region and the contribution of the new generations, in a scheme to learn and replicate successful experiences taking into account the specific characteristics of the different areas of the Basin.
To access the Website
La Plata Basin- Gran Chaco
Urundei Exchange / Voces del Chaco (videos)
Further information and Contacts
Website, Communications and Press
Federico González Brizzio
Argentina mobile: 0351 153 075 998
From abroad: 54 9351 3075 998
Voces del Chaco
Argentina mobile: 0387 155 932 500
In Bolivia Tel: 033 454032