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                   in the discussion," says Maifungbam. "But in Johannesburg [at the second Earth

                   Summit, last summer], this was dropped completely from the declaration. So we had to

                   fight again, right from scratch, to get indigenous peoples back on the agenda. We are

                   still being marginalized even though we still play a very central role in the world's water


                   Although Maifungbam remains upbeat, pointing to the media attention they received, he

                   stresses that much remains to be done.

                   "I think that for indigenous peoples, everything is in the future. We have so much to do,

                   and our struggle will still be long."

                   The Japan Times: March 27, 2003


The Statesman (India)

March 27, 2003


OH, to be in Brazil, now that spring is here! With due apologies to Peter Sellers, we are, indeed, in Sao

     Paulo, soaking up the warmth of a typical South American primavera. And yet, the names our son tosses at

     us as must-see attractions sound so alien - Iguacu (pronounced "iguasu"), Itaipu, Curitiba... Must be

     Portuguese in origin, we think. But we're mistaken. There's nothing remotely Portuguese about them, these

     exotic-sounding names that stand for the world's widest waterfall and largest hydro-electric plant. But they

     intrigue us sufficiently for us to hop on to a super-express night bus to Curitiba, capital of Parana, 430 km

     away. Iguacu lies 635 km west of Curitiba. Famous as Brazil's ecological capital, the 300-year old city stands

     914 m above sea level and boasts 52 sq m of green area per inhabitant. Renowned for its recyclable

     waste-exchange scheme, Curitiba was the recipient of the United Nations Environment Programme's

     highest environmental prize in 1990. Standing on the site of abandoned quarries are some of the city's major

     tourist attractions - the Opera de Arame or wire opera house, with a seating capacity of 2,000, the Parque

     Tangua and the Pedreira Paulo Leminski with a standing capacity of 50,000. What is truly remarkable,

     though, for those used to Kolkata's chaotic public transport system, is its Brazilian counterpart. Particularly

     impressive are its "bi-articulated'' buses, introduced in 1992. Operating along high-capacity lanes, they are

     actually three buses-in-one, attached to each other by two articulations and large enough for a passenger

     load of 270. The narrower streets are serviced by smaller buses. Uniquely designed plexiglass tube stations

     serve as bus stops. Passengers pay the fare, enter through one end of the tube and exit from the other.

     Enhancing Curitiba's appeal are its streets. The Rua 24 Horas (24 Hours Street), laid out in 1992, is

     protected by a 120-m glass-covered metal archway. As its name indicates, Curitibanos and tourists can

     stroll, shop at the 42 retail outlets flanking it and enjoy themselves 24 hours of the day. Lined with gardens

     tended by street children, the Rua das Flores (Flower Street) is, on the other hand, entirely given over to

     the use of pedestrians. The beauty of this little town is matched by the warmth of its inhabitants and we

     leave it behind us with pangs of regret as we board the bus for Foz do Iguacu. A night's journey takes us to

     this small town near Brazil's border with Paraguay and Argentina. Its main attraction, Cataratas do Iguacu

     (the Iguacu Falls), is located within the Iguacu National Park, registered by UNESCO as a Humanity Natural

     Patrimonium. Sprawling over 170,000 hectares, this reserve is one of the last sanctuaries for endangered

     species of fauna and flora. Together with Argentina's Iguacu National Park on the banks of the Iguacu river,

     it covers a total area of 225,000 hectares of preserved subtropical rainforest. On the Brazilian side, near the

     park's entrance stands the visitor's centre, right next to the ticket booth, the restrooms and a souvenir

     shop. All visitors headed for the Cataratas Trail must park their cars here and board elegant double-decker

     buses specially reserved for the purpose to keep pollution levels within the reserve at a minimum. The sneak

     preview of the falls through the bus window is no preparation, however, for the real thing. As we make our

     way on foot along the Cataratas Trail - a kilometre and a half of paved path into which steps have been cut

     - the falls plunge to a foaming abyss on our right. It is slow going, because we can't help pausing from

     occasionally to admire the spectacular sight and click pictures - a vain attempt, I must confess, to capture

     nature's grandeur on film. At the end of the trail lies the look-out path for the Devil's Gorge where the falls

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