Brazil’s Leader Aims for Amazon Summit to Restore Essential Global Protections

by Ryan Lee
Amazon rainforest conservation

Certainly! Here’s a paraphrased version of the text:

For the first time since 14 years, leaders of the Amazon rainforest nations are gathering to defend the ecosystem and tackle the criminal activities jeopardizing it.

The meeting will occur on Tuesday and Wednesday in Belem, Brazil, involving members of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization. This 45-year alliance has convened only thrice previously. Brazil’s President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, has expressed his aspiration for the summit to instigate significant and impactful measures.

“We are at a point in time where restarting and widening our collaboration is crucial. The challenges and prospects we face will necessitate collective action,” Lula stated during the event’s commencement on Tuesday.

Covering an area twice that of India, the Amazon extends across eight countries and one territory. Brazil accounts for two-thirds of this, with the remaining portion shared by others, including the Presidents of Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Guyana’s Prime Minister, Venezuela’s Vice President, and the foreign ministers of Suriname and Ecuador.

Though all attending nations have ratified the Paris climate accord, their common policies stop at that point.

The summit, to be held near the mouth of the Amazon River in Belem, will focus on the critical problems affecting the Amazon rainforest and explore common solutions.

Organized crime has wreaked havoc on untouched ancient hardwood areas and forest clearings for ranching, leading to competition over drug-trafficking routes. In recent years, drug seizures have escalated in Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, and Peru, as reported by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in June.

The Amazon region also experiences exceptionally high homicide rates, often two or three times higher than national averages, according to Rob Muggah, founder of the security-centered think tank, Igarape Institute. Criminal activities extend to “narco-deforestation” and illicit gold mining, destroying forests and contaminating rivers, as mentioned in the UNODC report.

This meeting marks Lula’s second endeavor to form an Amazon coalition, with his first attempt in 2009 being only partially successful.

The summit will also discuss preventing the Amazon from reaching an irreversible threshold where uncontrolled carbon dioxide emission occurs. This could lead to more than half of the Amazon transforming into tropical savannah, causing massive loss of biodiversity.

So far, commitments to forest protection have been inconsistent. Some countries, including Brazil and Colombia, have vowed to halt deforestation by 2030, while others have been hesitant.

Prominent objectives include Brazil’s plan to establish 14 new Indigenous territories, Colombia’s strategy for carbon neutrality by 2050, Ecuador’s commitment to ecological transition, and Peru’s intention to address the Amazon’s decline, drug trafficking, and other illegal actions.

Lula has also announced Brazil’s plans to initiate an international police cooperation center in Manaus to combat shared threats from organized crime.

The call for a paradigm shift is fueled by growing environmental awareness and a shared understanding of the Amazon’s vital role in halting climate change.

In 2018, Latin American nations signed the Escazu Agreement, though some, including Brazil, have not ratified it. In 2019, they signed the Leticia Pact to enhance environmental protection coordination.

Lula anticipates that the already-drafted “Belem Declaration” will serve as a unifying call to action in preparation for the global climate conference in November in Dubai.

The summit also underscores Lula’s approach to capitalize on global concerns for the Amazon’s conservation, aided by a significant reduction in deforestation during his tenure. International supporters have been invited, including leaders from Norway, Germany, Indonesia, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, and France’s ambassador to Brazil, representing French Guyana.

Parallel to the official summit, around 20,000 Indigenous people and others from various Amazon countries have participated in 400 related events, presenting their demands, including a proposal to preserve at least 80% of the Amazon.

A renowned Indigenous leader, Raoni Metuktire, expressed his intention to hold the presidents accountable, stating that they must halt deforestation or face grave environmental repercussions.

The sunrise over the Guama River’s bay in Belem, Brazil, on Aug. 7, 2023, symbolizes a new beginning, perhaps mirroring the hopes for significant action from this critical summit.

Contributions were made by AP writers Carla Bridi from Brasilia, Paola Flores from La Paz, Gonzalo Solano from Quito, Franklin Briceño from Lima, Manuel Rueda from Bogota, and Jorge Rueda and Regina Garcia Cano from Caracas.

Big Big News acknowledges support from various private foundations for climate and environmental coverage. More information about AP’s climate initiative is available here. The AP maintains complete responsibility for all content.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about fokus keyword Amazon Summit

What is the main purpose of the Amazon Summit being held in Brazil?

The main purpose of the Amazon Summit is to gather leaders of Amazon rainforest nations to protect the ecosystem and address the organized crime that is threatening it. The summit aims to discuss solutions for massive destruction of the Amazon forest, halt deforestation, combat drug trafficking, and foster international cooperation.

Who are the participants in the Amazon Summit?

Participants include members of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil, Presidents from Colombia, Peru and Bolivia, Guyana’s Prime Minister, Venezuela’s Vice President, and foreign ministers of Suriname and Ecuador, as well as other international supporters and thousands of Indigenous people.

What are some notable goals and commitments discussed at the summit?

Notable goals include Brazil’s plan to create new Indigenous territories and restore climate commitments, Colombia’s strategy for reaching carbon neutrality by 2050, Ecuador’s commitment to an ecological transition, and Peru’s focus on agreements to fight drug trafficking and other illegal activities. There is also a shared commitment to prevent the Amazon from reaching a tipping point that could cause environmental disaster.

How are organized crime and illegal activities affecting the Amazon region?

Organized crime is damaging pristine areas of ancient hardwood timber and clearing forest for ranching. Activities include drug trafficking, “narco-deforestation,” and illegal gold mining that destroys the forest and contaminates waterways. These criminal elements also contribute to high homicide rates in Amazon municipalities.

Is there a specific agreement or declaration expected from the summit?

Yes, President Lula hopes that the “Belem Declaration,” which has already been drafted, will become the nations’ shared call to arms as they move toward the global climate conference in November. It’s part of a broader drive for a paradigm shift in the Amazon’s protection.

What is being done to include Indigenous voices in the summit?

Around 20,000 Indigenous people and others from various Amazon countries have held 400 parallel events alongside the official summit. They have presented their demands to ministers, including a proposal to preserve at least 80% of the Amazon, and have delivered a summary of these discussions to assembled presidents and officials.

More about fokus keyword Amazon Summit

  • Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization
  • The Paris Climate Accord
  • UNODC report on drug trafficking in the Amazon
  • The Escazu Agreement
  • Leticia Pact for environmental coordination
  • Brazil’s Amazon Fund for sustainable development
  • AP’s climate initiative

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TommyBoy August 8, 2023 - 7:40 pm

indigenous people’s involvement is huge, bout time they have a say in what happens to their land. Let’s stop deforestation now!

Mike_42 August 9, 2023 - 6:48 am

Wow, this Amazon summit sounds big. But actions speak louder than words, hope they actually do somethin.

RachelInGreen August 9, 2023 - 6:51 am

This is inspiring, But can’t help but feel skeptical. They’ve made promises before and look where we are now! Hoping for the best though

JamesT August 9, 2023 - 1:35 pm

Really hope they can come together to save the Amazon. It’s such a precious resource. Why only 3 meetings in 45 years? seems strange

Sara K August 9, 2023 - 4:37 pm

This is what we need, world leaders fighting for the environment, not against each other! go Lula and others, make us proud.


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