Conference Overview
The International Conference on Agriculture and the Environment in the Paraguay River Basin addresses critical issues in one of the world's most spectacular and valuable regions. The Paraguay River Basin extends through vast stretches of four nations: Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina. Preliminary map of Basin/PantanalThe Paraguay River, the feature that gives the Paraguay River Basin its name, begins in the northern part of the watershed in central-western Brazil, and traverses some 2,550 kilometers southward to Confluencia, Argentina. There it combines with the Paraná River, which reaches 3,500 meters wide at Corrientes and courses southward to the Rio de la Plata Estuary between Uruguay and Argentina. 

The Paraguay River Basin drains over one million (1,095,000) square kilometers (with about 1/3 of the basin in Brazil, 1/3 in Paraguay, and 1/6 each in Bolivia and Argentina). The upper portion of this watershed, the Upper Paraguay River Basin, contains the Pantanal, the world's largest freshwater wetland system, and one of the most immense, pristine, biologically rich and ecologically important environments on the planet.

This conference will examine issues of major import with respect to this remarkable region -- its agricultural, economic, and environmental opportunities and challenges. This event is a natural continuation of the second World Conference on Preservation and Sustainable Development in the Pantanal, which took place October 15-17, 1999 in Washington, D.C. Under the leadership of its chairman, Dr. Noel Brown, this conference gathered 129 leading authorities on the Pantanal, from 34 nations. Represented were individuals from the United Nations Environment Program, the U.N. Development Program, the Organization of American States, Nature Conservancy, IBAMA, Embrapa-CPAP, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, PRODEAGRO, the National Protected Areas Service of Bolivia, Conservation International, the Brazilian House of Deputies, the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank, the Worldwide Fund for Nature, the Ministry of Foreign Relations of Paraguay, the Ministry of the Environment for Mato Grosso do Sul, and other organizations, as well as 18 universities, and diplomatic representation from Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, Russia, Japan, the People's Republic of China, and numerous other nations, helping to make this an event of singular import. 

This present conference will examine not only the Pantanal, but also the greater basin area. While attendance at this program will be limited to 70 select leaders, this conference will again gather key authorities from academia, and governmental, non-governmental and intergovernmental institutions, with a goal towards understanding the challenges to the region and builiding strategic partnerships to make the Paraguay River Basin a Twenty-First Century model for sustainable development.