On April 7th we endorsed a letter signed by a number of international civil society organizations and addressed to the World Trade Organization's Third Ministerial Conference to be held next November in Seattle, USA, which expresses opposition to the expansion of the powers of the WTO through a new comprehensive round of trade liberalisation, and asks governments to review and rectify the deficiencies and injustices of the present trade system and the WTO regime itself.
By means of a fax dated April 8th the WRM International Secretariat addressed Mr Fernando H. Cardozo, President of Brazil, expressing its satisfaction for the Brazilian government's decision to demarcate the Raposa Serra do Sol indigenous area in the Amazonian region of Roraima State. We also asked for the prompt completion of the demarcation process through Presidential ratification of the demarcation and subsequent registration at the land registry.
On April 8th we sent a letter to President Chávez of Venezuela, requesting him to intervene in the conflicting situation in the State of Portuguesa between the pulp and paper transnational Jefferson Smurfit and local communities and environmentalists.
On April 19th the WRM sent a letter of support to the campaign "Help Protect America's Heritage Forests" launched by Global Response and aimed to protect these vast forests from logging, mineral development, and other destructive activities that are threatening them.
The WRM held its Steering Committee and annual meetings in Enkhuisen, The Netherlands, from 30 March to 2 April. The meeting discussed a number of areas of concern of WRM, which are affecting forests and people. Presentations and discussions ranged from the broader issues of international trade (WTO), the climate negotiations, the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests, the World Bank's Forest Policy Strategic Plan and Implementation Review, to more specific issues such as oil exploitation, large scale tree monocultures (including oil palm plantations), national parks and people, export-credit agencies and the forest situation in Africa. A plan for future activities related with all those issues was drawn up, taking advantage of the networks in which WRM affiliates and friends are actively involved in.
Ricardo Carrere participated in an intersessional of the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests organized by the governments of Chile, New Zealand, Denmark, Portugal, India and Zimbabwe. The meeting (International Expert Meeting on the Role of Planted Forests for Sustainable Development), was held in Santiago, Chile, from 6-10 April and was also attended by some NGO delegates from Indonesia, South Africa, Denmark, Chile, Paraguay, Costa Rica and IUCN-South. Comments on the meeting are expressed in the current issue's section "Our Viewpoint."