Amazon Summit

Amazon Summit

Amazon Summit

“It has never been so urgent to expand cooperation for the preservation of the Amazon,” President Lula, Brazil.

President Lula opened, this Tuesday (8), in Belém (PA), the Amazon Summit, which brings together presidents and representatives of eight countries in the region, as well as nations from other continents. Lula pointed out that “it has never been so urgent to resume and expand” cooperation between countries that have forests in their territory.

“It is a reason for great joy to meet again with the leaders of the countries of South America to deal with the Amazon, this common heritage of our countries. Since the Amazon Cooperation Treaty was signed in 1978, the heads of state have only met three times: in 1989, 1992 and 2009. All of them in Manaus. We haven’t met for fourteen years. It is the first time we have done so here in Pará and the first time in a context of severe worsening of the climate crisis. It has never been so urgent to resume and expand this cooperation,” said Lula.

 

 

The summit, which ends on Wednesday (9), brings together the signatory countries of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty – Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela. Also participating are Indonesia, Republic of Congo and Democratic Republic of Congo, which are also home to large forests. The meeting also counts with the presence of representatives from countries like Norway and Germany, great donors of the Amazon Fund, which finances forest preservation projects.

Lula stated that the current challenges and opportunities that arise demand joint action that meets the interests of each of the countries in the region.

“The Amazon is not and cannot be treated as a great deposit of wealth. The Amazon is an incubator of knowledge and technologies that we barely know and have begun to scale,” he said. “Within it may be solutions to many of humanity’s problems, from curing diseases to more sustainable trade. The forest is not a void to be occupied nor a treasure to be looted. It is a craddle of possibilities that needs to be cultivated,” added the president, who detailed the three main purposes of the summit.

 

 

“First, we are going to discuss and promote a new vision of sustainable and inclusive development in the region, combining environmental protection with the generation of decent jobs and the defense of the rights of those who live in the Amazon. We will need to reconcile environmental protection with social inclusion; the promotion of science, technology and innovation; stimulating the local economy; the fight against international crime; and the appreciation of indigenous peoples and traditional communities and their ancestral knowledge,” he said.

In second place, he highlighted, are the measures to strengthen the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO), “a legacy built over almost half a century and represents the only bloc in the world that was born with a socio-environmental mission.”

Lula pointed out that with the expansion and deepening of cooperation, coordination and integration initiatives among ACTO members, it will be possible to ensure that the vision of sustainable development has a long life and a broad reach.

The third purpose of the meeting, according to the president, is “we will strengthen the place of countries that hold tropical forests in the global agenda, on issues ranging from tackling climate change to reforming the international financial system.”

 

 

Amazon Dialogues

At the end of the speech, Lula announced that, in the sequence, participants of the Amazon Dialogues would speak, a preparatory event that brought together, between the 4th and 6th of August, in Belém, around 24 thousand people, including representatives of social movements, of the productive sector, as well as environmentalists, activists and traditional populations such as indigenous peoples. Several United Nations agencies contributed to the debates.

Lula also thanked the president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, for having promoted the Technical-Scientific Meeting of the Amazon, at the beginning of July, in Letícia, with relevant contributions for the declaration of Belém, a document negotiated between our eight countries, which proposes an ambitious set of actions for the region,” said the Brazilian president about the document that will be released by the Amazon Summit.

The declaration aims to establish a new common agenda for the sustainable development of the Amazon, reconciling: The protection of the biome and the hydrographic basin; social inclusion; promotion of science; technology and innovation; and stimulating the local economy and valuing indigenous peoples, local and traditional communities and their ancestral knowledge.

“The presidential declaration of this summit shows that what we started in Letícia and now consolidate in Belém is not just a political message, it is a detailed and comprehensive plan of action for the sustainable development of the Amazon,” said the head of the Brazilian government.

Reversing Environmental Setbacks

Lula spoke about the Brazilian government’s efforts to reverse a series of environmental setbacks of the presidency of Jair Bolsonaro.

“We didn’t solve all the problems, but we started to follow a fairer and more sustainable path… My predecessor opened the doors to environmental offenses and organized crime. Deforestation rates are on the rise again. His policies have only benefited a minority who are looking for immediate profit,” said the president. “Fortunately, due to the sovereign decision of the Brazilian people and their commitment to democracy, we were able to turn this sad page in our history.”

Lula also spoke about plans to change the reality of the forest from now on. “We are committed to reversing this scenario. We can already see results. Deforestation alerts in the Amazon had a 42.5% reduction in the first seven months of this year. We are committed to zero deforestation by 2030,” he said.

“We are going to establish, in Manaus, an International Police Cooperation Center to face the crimes that affect the region. The new Security Plan for the Amazon will create 34 new river and land bases, with the constant presence of federal and state forces,” he added. “The support of the Armed Forces, especially along the border, will also be essential in this effort. It will also allow the future creation of an integrated air traffic control system in the Amazon Region.”

ACTO

ACTO Secretary General, María Alexandra Moreira López, stated that the Declaration of Belém “is an unprecedented and daring commitment, with an integral vision and trying to understand the Amazon within its great dimension as a biome with many interconnections that require systemic and cross management measures -border and multilevel steps that face various threats that undermine their integrity.”

She underlined that the worsening of the climate crisis makes efforts necessary for zero deforestation in the Amazon by 2030, based on measures such as the fight against illicit activities and organized crime installed in the region.

“We must also preserve biodiversity and this perfect machine for producing water, biodiversity, which is a machine that contributes to a large percentage of fresh water for the entire world, which becomes 70% of the water for South America. We must get out of this view that forests or tropical forests are just an agglomeration of trees and a peaceful repository or carbon reserve. Our tropical forests and their living technology have an important capacity in global and regional climate conditioning.”

Conversation with the President

The Amazon Summit was one of the main topics of the live Conversation with the President, held Tuesday (8). Lula told EBC journalist Marcos Uchôa that the event is important for changing discussions about the future of the largest tropical forest on the planet.

“The basic idea is for us to leave here prepared for, in a unified manner, all countries that have forests to have a common position, in the United Arab Emirates, at COP-28, and for us to change the discussion. And when 2025 arrives, all those people who defend the Amazon, who talk about the Amazon but who don’t know what the Amazon is, will have the right, the pleasure of coming to the Amazon to see up close what it is that enchants the world so much,” said the president, referring to the COP-30, which will be held in Belém.

Lula reaffirmed that the government does not intend to transform the Amazon into a world sanctuary, but to make room for investments in research on the region’s potential, such as, for example, in the pharmaceutical sectors.

“I don’t work with the idea of seeing the Amazon as a sanctuary for humanity. I want the Amazon to be a place where the world takes advantage to be able to experience the richness of our biodiversity, so that we know what we can do with this richness of biodiversity,” he said. “But we need, first, to value Brazilian scientists, the institutes that already take care of this in Brazil and that, many times, don’t even have the money to do the right research. So, from that meeting on, things will change.”

Lula also pointed out that the Belém summit is historic for the fact that it brought together all eight Amazonian countries. “There have already been other meetings, but this is the first in which the eight are participating, plus two African countries and one more Asian country, which is Indonesia. But we can call more people to have this discussion,” he declared.

The president reinforced that the developed countries that demand from Brazil the preservation of the Amazon must contribute with resources for this purpose. 

 

 

Adoption of the Declaration of Belém by the Presidents of the States Parties to the Amazon Cooperation Treaty

Gathered in Belém, at the invitation of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the Presidents of the States Parties to the Amazon Cooperation Treaty adopted today, August 8, the Declaration of Belém , a document that consolidates a new and ambitious common cooperation agenda for the Amazon.

The text approved by the eight Amazonian countries (Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela) was prepared based on a Brazilian proposal, as host of the Summit. The preparation of the text was based on contributions from civil society, to which the Seminar on Sustainable Development in the Amazon (Itamaraty Palace, May 16-18) and Government bodies contributed.

The following can be highlighted, among the main points of the Declaration of Belém :

  • The adoption of transversal principles for its implementation, which include the protection and promotion of human rights; active participation and promotion of the rights of indigenous peoples and local and traditional communities; gender equality; combat all forms of discrimination; based on an intercultural and intergenerational approach;
  • Awareness of the urgent need for regional cooperation to avoid the point of no return in the Amazon;
  • The launch of the Amazon Alliance to Combat Deforestation, based on national goals, such as zero deforestation by 2030 in Brazil, strengthening the application of forest laws;
  • The offer, by the Brazilian government, of the Center for International Police Cooperation in Manaus for cooperation between the police forces of the eight countries;
  • The establishment of an Integrated Air Traffic Control System to combat illicit air traffic, drug trafficking and other crimes in the region;
  • The creation of financial mechanisms to promote sustainable development, with emphasis on the Green Coalition, which brings together development banks in the region;
  • The creation of instances, within the scope of ACTO, such as: (a) the Amazonian Mechanism of Indigenous Peoples, which will promote their participation in the ACTO agenda; (b) the Intergovernmental Technical-Scientific Panel for the Amazon – the “IPCC for the Amazon” -, which will include government, researchers and civil society, indigenous peoples and local and traditional communities; (c) the Observatory on the situation of defenders of human rights, the environment and indigenous peoples, to identify funding and best practices for protecting defenders; (d) the Observatory of Rural Women for the Amazon, to strengthen rural women entrepreneurs; (e) the Forum of Amazonian Cities, bringing together local authorities; (f) the Amazon Innovation and Technological Diffusion Network, to stimulate sustainable regional development; and (g) the Water Authorities Network to improve the management of water resources among countries.

ACTO will play a central role in the execution of the new Amazonian cooperation agenda. Thus, the Declaration of Belém provides for important revisions in the institutional structure of the Organization, including the establishment of a financial mechanism to raise and capitalize non-reimbursable resources.

The implementation and incorporation of the Declaration of Belém into the normative framework of ACTO will be the responsibility of the foreign ministers of the member countries, who must meet as soon as possible to detail the presidential mandates received, as well as to consider the conclusions received from the civil society gathered at the Amazonian Dialogues (Belém, August 4th to 6th) and the Amazon Technical-Scientific Meeting (Letícia, July 5th to 8th).

 


Soledad Quartucci |Founder, CEO Latina Republic

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