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A Hemispheric Research Partnership

1 The Fundacion ECOS from Argentina
2 The International Centre of Economic Policy for Sustainable Development (CINPE) from the Universidad Nacional of Costa Rica
3 The Fundacion Ambiente, Salud y Desarrollo (FUNSAD) from Ecuador
4 The Caribbean Environmental Health Institute (CEHI) in Saint Lucia
5 The Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL) in Canada which is also in charge of compiling and editing the North American legal aspects of the research.

Associate Partners

1 Interdisciplinary Center for Development Studies (CIEDUR) in Uruguay
2 The Centro Mexicano de Derecho Ambiental (CEMDA) from Mexico
3 Recursos e Investigacion para el Desarrollo Sustentable (RIDES) in Chile

 

 
   

Mercosur
Dr. Maria Leichner Reynal
Fundación Ecos (ECOS)
CEP 56098 - Agencia 20 – Punta del Este, 2000 Uruguay
Phone: 59.842.71252/71532
Fax: 59.842.71252
E-mail: mlreynal@adinet.com.uy
Web: http://www.ecosibera.org/

Dr. Maria Leichner Reynal is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Fundación Ecos, a non-profit educational and research center created to promote sustainable development and transform Agenda 21 principles into concrete action since 1994. Inside Fundación ECOS she created "The Trade, Investment and Environment Program" to stimulate the Mercosur Civil Society towards a sustainable development implementation to make a solid contribution within the region.  Dr. Leichner’s work focuses on increasing public awareness of civil society participation in trade, investment and environment negotiations, through research, communication, information dissemination and dialogue. In Land Conservation, she is the former President of Patagonia Land Trust Argentina, during her presidency PLT donated to the National Parks Administration 60.000 hectares to create the first National Park on the Patagonian coast named Monte León National Park. She is Lead Counsel for Crosscutting Issues at the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL).

She holds a Doctorate in Law, 1987, School of Law and Social Sciences, National University of Litoral, Argentina. Before joining Fundación Ecos, Dr. Leichner had served as Professor at Buenos Aires University, School of Social Sciences and Economics. Dr. Leichner also co-ordinated "Informa Mercosur" a program based in Argentina to promote Mercosur for civil society and academia in 1993. She has been organizing groups of key decision makers in the Region promoting sustainable development dilemmas facing the Mercosur. She is a Consultant of World Wildlife Fund - United States from 1999 and last year Dr. Leichner was inviting to collaborate with Conservation International in the State of the Hotspots Program of Mata Atlántica. She was nominated Guest of Honour at the National University of Rosario, Argentina for her work on the Mercosur Civil Society. She was nominated one of the Global Leaders for Tomorrow 2002 –World Economic Forum - for her work on sustainable development in a global scale. She is part of the Global Leaders for Tomorrow Environmental Sustainability Index Task Force. In 2001, she became a partner of the International Investment Rules Project, to produce a Framework for a set of global 'Sustainable Development Investment Rules' and stimulate a global coalition to press for its implementation. It seeks to develop the conceptual and strategic foundation for an approach to the global governance of investment, both portfolio and foreign direct investment (FDI), that integrates social, environmental, and human rights norms.

She is the President of Fundación Ecos Corrientes, 2002, established as a subsidiary organization in Argentina, to develop the “Management and Conservation of Biodiversity in the Wetlands of the Esteros del Iberá” – GEF programme,  a nature conservation programme with a strong social context. The Esteros del Iberá is one of the five most important wetlands in the world and the largest protected area, covering 1.3 million hectares, in Argentina. Ecos believe that the inclusion of a social poverty amelioration component to our purely environmental conservation Esteros del Iberá, conservation programme is innovative and mutually strengthening. She creates Ecos Escuelas a programme to support and promote capacity building for the local rural school system. This project provides education, medical support and capacity building in nutrition, gardening, child care, and practical skills and environmental knowledge for careers in ecotourism, artisanship, park rangers. In 2003 Dr. Leichner was contracted by the Organization of American States (OAS) to carry out the “Environmental Assessment and Capacity Building for the Free Trade Area of the America Agreement, Uruguay case study” She was the Mercosur Partner of the America’s Capacity Assessment (ACA), 2004, which contributed to sustainable development throughout the western hemisphere. This is being done by ensuring that economic, social, and environmental policies are mutually supportive and contribute to sustainable development.

Ricardo Luis Cayssials Brissolese es Ingeniero Agrónomo, especializado en suelos y física de suelos a nivel doctorado en Francia (Office de la Recherche Scientifique et Technique d'Outre Mer,ORSTOM-1974-1977). El Ingeniero Cayssials ha ocupado distintos cargos que incluyen Técnico del Programa de Levantamiento de Suelos (PELS-1968-1977) que culminó con la Cara de Reconocimento de Suelos del Uruguay a escala 1/1000.000;Asesor Técnico de la Dirección de Suelos y Aguas en materia de Conservación de Suelos; Co-redactor de los informes técnicos nacionales a las Convenciones de Lucha Contra la Desertificación y la Sequía (CCD del PUNMA) y Co-redactor en calidad de asesor sobre ecosistemas terrestres a la Convención de Defensa de la Biodiversidad (CBD del PNUMA);Presidente de la Comisión Nacional encargada de redactar el Ante-Proyecto de Ley de Conservación de Suelos y Aguas con fines agropecuarios (LEY 15239 ya aprobado así como su Decreto de reglamentación);Asesor técnico del Proyecto de Represa Bi-Nacional de Salto Grande. Actualmente es coordinador docente del Laboratorio de Desarrollo Sustentable y Gestión Ambiental del Territorio del Depto. de Geografía de la Facultad de Ciencias de la Universidad de la República. Ha realizado varias investigaciones en relación a la temática ambiental y evaluación de recursos naturales. Actualmente centra su investigación en temas relacionados a cuencas hidrográficas y la gestió?n de suelos. Sus publicaciones incluyen “PERFIL AMBIENTAL DEL URUGUAY / 2002” y “DESAFIOS PARA EL URUGUAY: Espacio agrario, espacio  ambiental”.

Julio A. Franco,Asesor Económico, Cámara Mercantil de Productos del País,es Contador Publico Autorizado, con vasta experiencia en negociaciones comerciales e inversiones. Actualmente es Asesor Económico de la Cámara Mercantil de Productos del País en Uruguay y de varias entidades privadas en el Uruguay. Ha sido Asesor Especial de la Delegación Uruguaya a las reuniones Ministeriales de OMC y además ha representado al Uruguay en los foros empresariales paralelos a las negociaciones Union Europea-Mercosur y del ALCA. actualmente es asesor económico en el Proyecto de Evaluación de Sustentabilidad de la Cadena Productiva de la Soja, en Argentina, Paraguay y Uruguay.

Walter Regueiro Laxaga, Asesor de la Dirección Nacional de Medio Ambiente (DINAMA) y consultor ambiental de Fundación ECOS es Licenciado en Oceanografía Biológica; Egresado de la Facultad de Humanidades y Ciencias. Tiene amplia experiencia en temas medio ambientales de orden técnico. Cuenta con una especialización en diseño y elaboración de proyectos público-privados con organismos internacionales. Actualmente se desempeña como Asesor de la Dirección Nacional de Medio Ambiente (DINAMA) del Uruguay, en la Asesoría de Asuntos Ambientales Internacionales e integrando varios grupos Ad Hoc dependientes del Subgrupo de Trabajo Nº6 “Medio Ambiente” del MERCOSUR.

Alavaro Santos Granero, Economista, es Licenciado en Economia egresado de la Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración la Universidad de la Republica, ademas tiene una especialidad de la Universidad de los Andes en Teoría y Técnicas de Evaluación Económica de Proyectos. Actualmente ademas de ser consultor independiente, es docente del Departamento de Gerencia y Administración de la Facultad de Administración y Ciencias Sociales, de la Universidad ORT del Uruguay. Fue Director de Area en el Instituto de Promocion de Inversiones y Exportaciones y ha trabajado en la ejecución de multiples proyectos con el sector privado en el area de competitividad e inversion para mejorar las exportaciones incluyendo en el sector agrícola. Apoyó al Ministerio de Economía Y Finanzas (MEF) como integrante del equipo técnico para el desarrollo del Programa de Promoción de Exportaciones e Inversiones para el Uruguay. Ha sido catedrático en la Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración en la Universidad de la Republica en el tema de Preparación y Evaluación Económica de Proyectos. Ha realizado varias publicaciones sobre comercio en distintos rubros para ALADI. 

 

The Fundacion ECOS
CEP 56098 - Agencia 20
Punta del Este, 2000 Uruguay
Tel: 59.842.71252/71532
Fax: 59.842.71252
mlreynal@ADINET.COM.UY

Fundación ECOS is a non-profit educational research centre created to promote sustainable development.  It was created in April 4th 1994 in Uruguay, for the purpose of educating community leaders and decision makers in the MERCOSUR countries in the principles and philosophy of sustainable developments recognizing that “we can not solve the problems we have created with the same thinking that have created them”.(Einstein) ECOS meets this challenge by advancing policy recommendations on international trade and investment, economic policy, measurement and indicators, and natural resource management to make development sustainable.  ECOS covers and report on international negotiations and broker knowledge gained through collaborative projects with global partners, resulting in more rigorous research, capacity building in developing countries, and a better dialogue between North and South, governments and civil society.

ECOS was established with a mission of educating and capacitating in environmental stewardship and economic development thus promoting a transition towards a sustainable future.  This process of education and consciousness building was indispensable at that time since little was known of the working and justification of sustainable development.  Economic development and environmental conservation were still opposites.  The birthing process took place at a Curricular Design Meeting, funded by WWF US for many of the major figures in the environmental process. Out of this meeting the following principles of sustainability were incorporated into the ECOS vision: absoluteness of ecological systems, acceptance of long term realities, acceptance of complexities as elements of reality, recognition of diversity, avoidance of irreversibility and respect for singularity. 

ECOS focus on these issues to contribute to more sustainable society. ECOS organizes seminars, conferences and workshops for groups of key decision makers in order to promote sustainable development and environmental care in the region.  A partnership with the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law at the Faculty of Law of McGill University was created in 2002.

In 2002, Fundación ECOS, established a subsidiary operation in the province of Corrientes, Argentina, called Fundación ECOS Corrientes.  This organization was created to satisfy two demands: the first was to continue with their mission of establishing a civil society organization (NGO) with a regional MERCOSUR reach, and secondly, their longstanding effort to obtain a Medium Size Grant (U$S 1MM) from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), managed by UNDP, succeeded for the project “Management and Conservation of Biodiversity in the Wetlands of the Esteros del Iberá” in the Province of Corrientes, Argentina. Simultaneously, ECOS obtained funding from the Ford Foundation, via the Universidad de San Andrés and from private family donors to carry out a social program, named ECOS Escuelas, by adopting ten rural schools with approximately one thousand pupils. ECOS provides drinking water, latrines, efficient kitchens, organics grounds, and a series of educational workshops on nutrition, health, food production and handicrafts.

It is essential to build a strong hemispheric voice with the capacity to participate effectively in shaping trade and integration policies.  ECOS is working to establish mechanisms to build bridges between trade and sustainable development communities.  Much of ECOS past work, resulting in the successful accomplishments of integrating within the Mercosur trade and environment principles is now being projected towards achieving the insertion of sustainability elements into the FTAA. These could be listed as openness, increased transparency, public participation in policy debates and the ultimate objective of consesus building.   The important goal and achievement of this process is the inclusion of the civil society perspective into the southern agenda.  

Trade is the engine of economic development, which on a sustainable basis, will alleviate poverty improving standard of living and quality of life. The principle achievement within the context of this programme was the signature and ratification of the Mercosur Framework Agreement on Environment by the four Mercosur countries. Another major achievement, innovative in character, has been the insertion of civil society organizations and their acceptance by government organizations into the policy making process, up to then the undisputed fiefdom of government. This was accomplished despite strong opposition, lack of transparency and exclusion on the part of official government organization from meetings and deliberations. To this must be added a major lack of expertise and capacity on the part of public officials.
ECOS seeks to educate and communicate that policy makers and public officials should build on positive national and sub-regional experiences with civil society inclusion, drawing upon lessons learned in other processes, to create the most effective and comprehensive mechanism on an hemispheric level. At present ECOS is responsible for a programme of “Environmental Assessment and Capacity Building for the FTAA” within a programme funded by the organization of the Organization of American states (OAS). The focus of this initiative is on areas where trade related economic growth and environmental impact overlap. This analysis will provide insights about the policy and institutional framework and the necessary steps that need to be considered to guarantee environmentally sound trade expansion under a free trade regime such as the proposed FTAA.

For more information: http://www.fundacionecos.org/