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Brazilian Minister Gets UN Award for Reducing Deforestation by 50%

The Brazilian minister for the Environment, Marina Silva, is among the seven winners of this year's edition of the Champions of the Earth award, granted by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

The announcement was made on the eve of the ministerial meeting of the UNEP, to take place in Nairobi, Kenya, next week.

According to a press release published by the organization, this is the third edition of the award and the objective is to contemplate people who have been prominent in the environmental area. The awarding ceremony will take place in Singapore, on April 19, during the Summit of Global Business for the Environment.

According to the press release, Marina Silva was chosen as she is a "tireless fighter for the protection of the Amazon Rainforest" and "her work has championed conservation while taking into account the perspectives of people who use the resources in their daily lives."

According to the UN, she is a "champion of the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity, which promotes conservation, sustainable use and equitable sharing of the benefits of biodiversity."

The organization points out that, as a senator, she was successful in legislating rainforest preservation, defending her people against poverty and protecting their way of life.

Marina was born in a village in the northern Brazilian state of Acre, and has worked in rubber farming and on the land to help her family, according to information on her personal site.

She learnt to read and write late in life, as an adolescent, and went on to history college, to become a teacher and union leader alongside Chico Mendes, and a political activist. She was elected to senate in 1994 and re-elected in 2002.

Marina is currently among the most respected members of president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's cabinet. As a minister, a position she has held since 2003, the UN points out her remarkable contribution for the preservation of the complex and rich biological diversity of the Brazilian Amazon.

The organization estimates that deforestation has reduced 50% in the last two years, "a result undoubtedly linked to a new government process implemented by her and fundamentally based on the idea of a cross-cutting approach to environmental issues in all governmental and non-governmental sectors."

The remaining winners are the minister of City Planning and Environment of Algeria, Cherif Rahmani, prince Hassan Bin Talal, of Jordan, Elisea "Bebet" Gillera Gozun, from the Philippines, Viveka Bohn, from Sweden, the former vice president of the United States, Al Gore, and the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Jacques Rogge, as well as the IOC itself.

Anba – www.anba.com.br

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