Amazon Summit must result in a coordinated and effective commitment for the conservation of the biome and sustainable development

agosto, 02 2023

For WWF, it is urgent that governments stop deforestation and illegal gold mining and conserve at least 80% of the Amazon

The presidents of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela, as well as other countries, considered cooperation partners in the Amazon, will meet in the Amazon Summit to be held from August 4 to 9 in Belém do Pará, Brazil. Together they will seek to renew the Amazon Cooperation Treaty (TCA) and its related Organization (ACTO) in order to articulate efforts, establish priorities, allocate financing, and provide strategic guidelines for immediate and future action in the Amazon.

The Amazon is in danger and with it, the regulation and climate stabilization of the region and the world. More than 300 million people in South America, 47 million in the Amazon of which 2 million are indigenous and 10% of the known species on the earth's surface depend on the survival of this biome and basin. The alarming rates of deforestation and forest conversion, climate change, and soil degradation, are hampering its ability to recover, leading it towards an ecological tipping point (point of no return), with serious consequences for South American food security and health and the world's climate.

In preparation for the Amazon Summit, the Colombian government led the Leticia Amazon Summit last month, a high-level scientific-technical space to discuss key issues for this biome, such as deforestation, transnational environmental crimes, bioeconomy, financial mechanisms, and rights of indigenous peoples. The meeting took place in Leticia, Colombia.

During the meeting, the presidents of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, and of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, analyzed possible lines of action for the conservation and sustainable development of the Amazon, such as; monitoring of deforestation, regional cooperation in terms of data and treatment of common challenges, bioeconomy, fight against illegalities and environmental crimes and public-private-community agreements. Likewise, the need for developed countries to comply with their climate finance commitments was highlighted. Petro also asked the leaders of the Amazon countries and those of the northern hemisphere to commit to progressively eliminating the use of oil and coal, causes of deforestation in the Amazon basin.

After Leticia, the WWF network, with offices in the Amazon countries, considers this Amazon Summit to be of the highest importance since the window of opportunity to stop the point of no return is closing, and coordinated and effective actions among the countries that host this important ecosystem are urgent. For this reason, a call is made for the results of the Amazon Summit to show:
  1. A strengthened ACTO, with a firm and ambitious declaration with agreed dates for the construction of an Action Plan towards 2030 and an implementation strategy, built inclusively and based on rights, through which governments commit, by that date, to stop deforestation and illegal gold mining and to conserve 80% of the Amazon (through protected areas, indigenous territories, other effective area-based conservation measures - OMEC, corridors, etc.) and thus avoid reaching to the tipping point. The plan must lead to cross-border actions to address the challenges in collaboration with indigenous peoples and local communities, civil society, the private sector, the academic sector, and financial institutions. Likewise, it must establish key milestones that allow highlighting and leveraging concrete action for the Amazon/ forests in the next big moments of the multilateral agenda, especially COP28 and those related to the implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework - Kunming Montreal. 
  2. The recognition that stopping the Amazon tipping point is critical regionally and globally, as it endangers the livelihoods of millions of people and the ecosystem services that sustain the environmental health of the entire South American continent. In addition to affecting the rainfall regime on which much of the continent's agriculture and energy generation depends, the transformation of the world's most biodiverse forest into a degraded area will import significant carbon emissions or equivalents, which can increase temperatures global even more, above 1.5°C.
  3. A renewed political message to coordinate efforts to strengthen the ACTO regional cooperation structure with a view to formulating and implementing the action plan for the Amazon region.
In addition, WWF urges the participating presidents of the Amazon Summit to commit to the following measures to contribute to the reduction of global warming and achieve the goals of the Kunming Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework by 2030:
  • Require actors in high-risk commodity value chains to comply with government efforts of joint work and adopt voluntary policies to eliminate deforestation and conversion by 2025, in accordance with the Accountability Framework, in order to achieve the goal of production free of deforestation and conversion by 2030.
  • Implement incentives and policies to promote agricultural development free of deforestation or conversion, which should help scale up regenerative and sustainable farming techniques that protect and restore natural habitats and ecosystem services.
  • Support with funds, policies, and tax incentives the development of an Amazonian bioeconomy, based on its biological and cultural wealth, which generates well-being for local populations.
  • Implement and maintain accessible public systems for monitoring deforestation and degradation of natural ecosystems, which include regular updates and alerts.
  • Adopt transnational policies and mechanisms for prevention, regulation, control, alerts, response, and remediation of environmental crimes and other illegal activities, ensuring cooperation and integrated management of information, traceability, and joint operations.
  • Include in all actions and policies full respect for the human and cultural rights of indigenous peoples, local communities, women, youth, and other sectors.
More than 300 million people in South America, 47 million in the Amazon of which 2 million are indigenous and 10% of the known species on the earth's surface depend on the survival of this biome and basin
© André Dib / WWF-Brasil