concept of a biological or ecological corridor entails
preserving the connections between protected areas
with important biodiversity with the aim of preventing
the fragmentation of natural habitats. Today these
corridors are being promoted as an innovative way
to promote sustainable development as well as conservation.
A search for information on the
Internet about this type of natural conservation project
shows that the most talked about initiative today
is the Meso-American
Biological Corridor, which covers the countries
of Central America and the southern Mexican states.
But it is not the only effort of this kind.
There are natural corridor projects
under way in Brazil's Amazon
and Atlantic forests, in the Andean zones of Ecuador
(in Spanish) and Peru, and some smaller initiatives
in Argentina and the United States. While most of
the biological corridors mentioned on the Internet
are located in the Americas, other regions are following
this route, such as in the Black
Sea region and in Bhutan.
A web site that explains
the term "corridor", as it is used in
the biological sense, states that this nomenclature
dates back to the 1930s, though it was not until the
1960s that it was proposed as a way of uniting nature
preserves or other areas to protect species diversity.
The corridors should permit an
increase in the size and possibilities for survival
of the smaller populations of species, according to
the web site. But to be effective, these corridors
must be well designed.
The fundamental goal of biological
corridors is the conservation of ecosystems.
A Brazilian web
page states that corridors encompass areas of
exceptional biodiversity. One such case is the Brazilian
Atlantic forest, where a project has found that ecosystems
there have become "islands of nature". The
challenge of the corridors "is to re-establish
In the case of the Meso-American
Biological Corridor, emphasis is on preserving
a relatively small area that is nevertheless home
to a great diversity of plant and animal species.
Biological Corridor (In Spanish)
Bank Group: Pilot Program to Conserve Brazilian Rain
Biological Corridor (In Spanish)
Bank and Mexico in Biological Corridor
Sea Ecological Corridor
for Ecological Corridor in Puerto Rico
a Definition of Biological Corridor
Corridors in Bhutan
UN Conferences and Summits
The international conferences
and summits convened by the United Nations generate
intense mobilization around issues of global interest.
On the current agenda are two major gatherings, one
about sustainable development, the other about the
These meetings, which draw diverse
participants ranging from activists of non-governmental
organizations (NGOs) to heads of state, reached a
peak in the 1990s, but continue in the 21st century:
at the end of August 2002 begins the World
Summit on Sustainable Development, in Johannesburg,
and slated for 2003 is the World
Summit on the Information Society.
The UN, which informs the world
about some of these gatherings on its web site "conferences
and events", defends the importance of such
conferences for their capacity to bring attention
to crucial socio-economic issues, guide national policies,
generate debate and the search for consensus on global
issues, and to establish goals that governments commit
themselves to achieving.
The main criticisms about these
events are based precisely on the fact that often
the promises go ignored, and the scant number of commitments
made at the outset.
These conferences have their
own customs: they are preceded by a preparatory process
to establish some level of consensus among governments.
The process includes the active participation of NGOs,
the presentation of an enormous number of documents
and intense logistical efforts to handle the thousands
of participants. In the end, the governments sign
political declarations and plans of action.
In 1990, the importance of these
meetings came to light with the World
Summit for Children, in which 71 heads of state
participated, an unprecedented number, until the 1992
Summit, in Rio de Janeiro, which drew 108 national
leaders and delegations from 170 countries.
The achievements made since the
1992 Earth Summit will be studied at the World Summit
on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio+10.
A decade on, the degree of government compliance with
the commitments made is not very encouraging.
But there are those who put a
positive spin on it: the Rio Summit 10 years ago laid
out a concept that since then has permeated the international
debates on the future of our society, about sustainable
development. In reality, the greatest doubts surround
the results of the Rio+10 Summit itself, because the
preparatory process did not produce the expected consensus.
The Internet holds information
bout these and other conferences, including lists
that give an idea of the events organized in recent
years, and summaries about their outcomes.
Nations: Conferences and Events
Summit on Sustainable Development
World Summit on
the Information Society
Dengue has become a health problem
for tropical areas of Latin America over the last
several decades. But this disease, cause by four types
of virus transmitted by a mosquito, has been known
The viruses -- with the scientific
labels DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3 and DEN-4 -- can cause
different manifestations of dengue, the most serious
form being hemorrhagic dengue, which can be mortal.
The Pan-American Health Organization
(PAHO) has deployed intense operations to aid countries
in their battles against the epidemic. On the Internet
is a website that serves as the PAHO's
center of operations, providing information about
the traits of the disease and its presence in the
According to the history
of dengue in the Americas included on the PAHO
site, the disease is believed to have first appeared
in 1635 on Martinique and Guadalupe. In the 18th century,
dengue epidemics were recorded in the United States,
Asia and Africa, and later in Peru.
The resurgence of dengue in recent
times, which has hit Venezuela, Colombia and Brazil,
and more recently El Salvador and Honduras, is directly
related to the proliferation of the virus's
vector of transmission, the Aedes aegypti mosquito.
This mosquito species is at home
in the urban environment and its presence is reinforced
by phenomena like the growth of metropolitan areas
and the deterioration of sanitary conditions. The
campaigns against dengue are focused on eradication
of the Aedes aegypti.
According to figures from the
Health Organization (WHO), the scope of dengue
infection has risen dramatically in recent decades
and is now an endemic disease in more than 100 countries,
endangering some 2.5 billion people.
The Internet holds abundant information
about dengue, such as websites with frequently
asked questions, explanations about symptoms and treatment,
and even lists of health experts dedicated to combating
Health Organization (PAHO): Dengue
History of Dengue in the Americas
Health Organization: Dengue
Centers for Disease Control
view of dengue virus