By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Residents of Rio de Janeiro can present sustainable solutions for the preservation of Ilha Grande Bay, located off the coast of Angra dos Reis, through the ‘Desafio BIG’ (BIG Challenge) – an unprecedented program in the state.
The initiative includes a process of selection and training for proposals defining solutions to the region’s environmental challenges. According to a government news source, registration to submit a plan can be made by April 23rd at the web site www.big2050.org.
Officials say that at the end of the selection process, ten proposals can be remunerated up to R$50,000 and support for the sustainability project to move forward on the path to launching.
The BIG 2050 is a new integrated ecosystem management model developed under the Integrated Big Island Ecosystem Management Project (BIG Project), which is coordinated and implemented by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the State Environmental Institute (INEA).
Paulo Schiavo, Director of Biodiversity, Protected Areas and Ecosystems at INEA told the government news agency, “The BIG 2050 Initiative is innovative in applying the concept of Integrated Management of Ecosystems within the public sphere, creating new spaces for the participation of society in the construction of a more sustainable BIG.”
According to the manager of the FAO BIG Project, Tiago Rocha, Ilha Grande Bay is home to one of the richest socio-biodiversity in Brazil, still very well preserved, but presents a series of pressures on the terrestrial and marine environments.
“In order to improve the management and conservation mechanisms of this region, FAO and INEA have been active for more than five years through the Ilha Grande Bay Ecosystem Integrated Management Project.” explained Rocha. “After this period, it was possible to consolidate a new strategy of action, bringing an innovation in environmental management.”
Ilha Grande (Big Island) is the largest of the coastal islands of Angra dos Reis. Once a destination for pirates, lepers, and prisoners, today, the island is one of the country’s most popular destinations for foreign tourists and Brazilians alike, boasting beautiful tropical beaches and virgin government-protected rainforest.
Perhaps one of the most frequently visited islands on the Brazilian coastline, steps have been taken to preserve its natural beauty and protect the wildlife by registering it as a UNESCO world heritage site in 2011.