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The Environment
Awards in Spain commend Itaipu’s actions on sustainability
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Representatives from Itaipu just concluded an intense agenda in Zaragoza and Madrid, in Spain, exposing the sustainable actions of Itaipu, which just received the recognition of the Community of Madrid (equal to the Federal District of Brazil), with the “Cumbres de Guadarrama” award, in reference to the national park located near the capital and which is symbol of the natural preservation of that country.

According to the vice-counselor of Community of Madrid Environment Department, Enrique Escudero, Itaipu was recognized in this first edition of the program because it was able to bring together the development of its area of influence with its company goals.

“We understand that Itaipu is a formidable project, which fulfills all the requisites of the award. The company was able to build an impressive infrastructure for the energy generation, maintaining balance with the human development around the facilities”, he stated.

The award was given on Monday, 19th, to Paraguayan general director, James Spalding, and to the directors of Coordination and Environment, Nelton Friedrich (Brasil) and Pedro Domaniczky (Paraguay).

 Spalding stated that social-environmental responsibility is inserted in the mission and vision of the company, and that the award is a recognition that Itaipu is on the right way to reach its goal as the hydroelectric plant with the best indicators of sustainability in the world. “This is an award that gives us even more responsibility to broaden and expand these actions”, said the director.

Domaniczky stated also the cooperation between Brazil and Paraguay to deploy the “Cultivando Água Boa” (Cultivating Good Water) program in Paraguay’s side of the border. “Alongside that, we are also concluding in Paraguay the largest reforestation since the building of Itaipu, using only native species”, he added.
Besides the award ceremony, made by the Community of Madrid’s president, Ignacio González, Itaipu also participated in a forum promoted by the University of Zaragoza, called “Cultivando Água Boa” (Cultivating Good Water) Forum. This event had the participation of representatives of many universities, researchers and specialists, and it was headed by the highest authority in Water Culture, Pedro Arrojo.

“This was a very rich experience, to be able to share the experience from Itaipu and also to get to know many European experiences. It was also a recognition the fact that an European forum be called “Cultivando Água Boa” Forum”, said director Nelton Friedrich.
Another proof of the international recognition of CAB (Cultivando Água Boa) was the inclusion of a lecture on the initiative at the official agenda of the UN International Conference on Water. Itaipu’s program was presented at the “Management of Water Resources: the rising shortage of water” panel.
This presentation drew the attention of Denise Soares, from the Mexican Institute of Water Technology, who affirmed interest to replicate the program in her country.

 According to her, water management is complex in Mexico, and is usually treated in a technical way, prioritizing the works. “It called my attention how CAB works with people. When we work with water, is to raise life quality, so everything has to be centered in people. We have to take the focus from the technical point of view. Without social participation, we cannot solve water-related problems”, she stated.

The Director of Environment and Sustainability Agency of Zaragoza, Javier Selma, also expressed his interest in replicating the program. “I found this social participation very interesting, and also Paulo Freire’s methodology (used in the Future Workshops, when the program was being deployed). It is similar to what we are doing in Zaragoza”, he said. “It is important to do these exchanges, because it raises the potentiality of projects”.

The Secretary of the International Hydrological Program (IHP), Blanca Jiménez Cisneros, emphasized the example set by CAB. According to her, the program is aligned with the objectives of IHP, to mobilize international cooperation to efficiently manage water, generate jobs and development, to attend energy needs and produce food. “Water is an aspect that integrates these themes and CAB represents this integration aspect of water”, she said.

About the Decade Conference on Water, the coordinator of this UN initiative, Josefina Maestu, said that, today, the main challenges of water are related to the universal access, to quality (treatment and purification), integrated management of resources and rights of access to water, efficiency (waste reduction) and climate changes and natural disasters that affect water.

“Cultivando Água Boa, from Itaipu, is a social technology that serves as example because deals with some of those challenges with the involvement of society”, stated Josefina.