Amazon Summit: Shaping a Common Vision for the Region's Future
"This is a historic meeting. It will mark a turning point in the history of the protection of the Amazon" declared Brazilian President Luis Inacio “Lula” Da Silva before opening the first Amazon Summit in 14 years. The eight nation group was created in 1995 by the South American countries that share the Amazon basin: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela.
On August 8 and 9, the Brazilian government received more than a dozen heads of state or government representatives, mainly from South America, as well as authorities from Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. The summit was considered part of the resumption of public policies for the Amazon region and had the main objective of strengthening the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO) and defining a common position for developing countries with forest reserves. The summit culminated in the Belem Declaration , with 113 objectives and cross-cutting principles. The declaration calls for a dialogue between developing countries and countries with forest reserves and outlines the likely position of these countries at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai (COP 28) and at the Biodiversity Conference (COP 16 in 2024).
In the days leading up to the Summit, a series of preparatory events, called "Amazon Dialogues,” took place with wide civilian participation. The dialogues brought together more than 10,000 people from various entities, social movements, local communities, Indigenous peoples, academia, research centers, and governmental and international agencies. The debates were aimed at formulating suggestions for the construction and reformulation of sustainable public policies for the region. The outcomes of these debates were then shared with authorities involved in the Amazon Summit.
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) participated in the meetings with the objective of supporting the parties as they addressed topics such as: combating illegal deforestation; transparency and forest governance; the role and protagonism of IPLCs in mitigating climate change; REDD+ system; new models of sustainable economies, among others. UNEP was involved in several events, most notably a REDD-focused event organized by the Amazon Environment Research Institute (IPAM). Participants discussed the importance of establishing REDD+ Jurisdictional System as a strategic instrument for ensuring socio-environmental integrity in forest-based mitigation actions.
These meetings marked a milestone in the global agenda, as a coordinated effort to prevent the Amazon from entering the 'point of no return,' to protect biodiversity and to mitigate climate change.
Belém Declaration: Cooperating to protect the Amazon without leaving anyone behind
What is the Belém Declaration?
A document that commits the eight countries that make up the Amazon Forest to keeping the forest standing. It recognizes that this is important for global climate regulation, water flows and ensuring food production. This declaration is a joint conservation and sustainable development effort.
How will the Belém Declaration be implemented?
The declaration recognizes the commitments of each country separately and adds common objectives and principles. While the declaration does not have an implementation agenda, it is expected to serve as a foundation for countries as they work towards a joint action plan.
Amazon rainforest: A vital organ for life on Earth
The Amazon is the world's largest tropical forest, accounting for about 40 percent of the world's rainforests. The water flowing in its rivers is equivalent to about 15 percent of all the water reaching the oceans. This region is home to some of the richest biodiversity in the world and serves as home to almost 50 million people, including more than 400 culturally rich Indigenous peoples. This mega-diverse ecosystem is not only vital for the livelihoods of local populations, but also plays an essential role in the face of the climate crisis and biodiversity loss. Preserving this ecosystem and increasing the ambition of forest conservation is paramount for this and future generations.
- Sofia Arocha, LAC Comms and KM Specialist
- Felipe Guntin, LAC Technical Specialist