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Lula defends CAB as a rule for new hydroelectric power plants in Brazil
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24/11/2014

Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva defended on Thursday (20th), in Foz do Iguaçu that the Cultivando Agua Boa (Cultivating Good Water) Program (or CAB) developed by Itaipu Binacional and its partners in western Paraná, is set as a rule by the Brazilian government for all new hydroelectric power plant projects in the country.

The statements were made during the participation of the former President in the CGW Meetings and Paths: 11 years BP3 + Sustainable, 12th annual conference of the CGW, an event that began on Wednesday (19th) in Rafain Expocenter, and ends on Thursday. "We need to discuss how to expand the [socio-environmental] program of Itaipu, make this model a rule to be fulfilled in all power plants," said Lula.

The event also counted on the participation of the Minister of Mines and Energy, Edison Lobão; the general directors of Itaipu, Jorge Samek (Brazil) and James Spalding (Paraguay); the Senator of Paraná Gleisi Hoffmann; the theologian Leonardo Boff; and the Coordinating Director of the binacional, Nelton Friedrich – among other authorities.

In his speech at the plenary session of the meeting, Lula recalled that, today, the CGW mobilizes more than 2000 partners in 29 cities of the BP3, benefiting an estimated population of 1 million people. More than 200 watersheds have been recovered or are in phase of recovery.

"The greatest quality of the program is to involve people and institutions without fear of competitiveness. These people are trash pickers, fishermen, housewives; with an integrated and participatory approach," complimented the former president.

"In these 11 years, the CGW not only did a lot for the environment, but also improved people's lives," he added, noting that "there are few programs with such competence and results as the Cultivating Good Water".

Lula also noted that water is a finite natural resource and that there are two ways of dealing with the problem: with environmental education, involving the community in the effort of preservation, or by means of natural disasters.

"Here in Brazil we are learning with both ways, because fortunately, we have this extraordinary experience that is the CGW. We either work together to preserve nature, or we will all suffer from the pollution and shortages,” he said.

Also according to the former president, it is likely that 90% of the government and 99% of union members and Brazilian congressmen do not know the Cultivating Good Water - "because the Brazilian TV does not show the things that go right in this country."

"The CGW is a new frontier that you [program participants] are opening. It is not an idea of well-meaning people, it is a laboratory of successful experiments," defined Lula.

Samek recalled that last year, Itaipu had the best production in history, consolidating the binacional as the largest producer of clean and renewable energy of the planet. Even this year, despite the lack of rains, the generation in the binacional will be over 90 million MWh, one of the largest amounts ever recorded.

"However, Itaipu does not only produce energy. It produces knowledge, development, technology. But fundamentally, it produces in people's consciousness a process of building an ever better world. And this is possible through the Cultivating Good Water and through you, who are here," he said, addressing the participants of the program, who filled the auditorium.

Spokesperson of the CAB

Lula's commitment to take the claims of the CGW to President Dilma Rousseff was made during a private meeting with a group of farmers, fishermen, waste pickers, natives, youth and educators of the program, moments before attending the plenary in the CGW meeting.

The 17 social actors, including eight householder women, gave a statement about the transformation of their lives because of the opportunities arising from the implementation of social programs of the Lula government. Each one thanked the former president and told the difference that programs such as Fome Zero and Pronatec guaranteed in the lives of their families.

The request of the group was that the former president requested to Dilma that social programs do not stop. For Lula, the Cultivating Good Water is a successful experience, with the potential to be repeated not only outside Brazil, as it has, but throughout the rest of the country. And he assured: he will be not only the spokesman, as well as the poster boy of the program's actions.

Tributes

Before beginning the speech at the plenary, Lula asked the audience for a minute of silence in honor of the former Minister of Justice of his government, Márcio Thomas Bastos, who died on Thursday in Sao Paulo.

The former president was also honored with a video showing images and speeches at Itaipu, musical presentation and gifts – including a basket of organic products grown in the region.