Today, Tuesday, the first of the two sessions of the Amazon Summit begins in Brazil, with the participation of the 8 countries that share the territory. The aim is to save the Amazon, recognised as the world’s lung, from deforestation, and achieve a joint declaration, signed by all participating countries, to be taken to the United Nations conference in November.
The Amazon Rainforest in Danger
The Amazon is the largest tropical rainforest in the world. It covers an area of nearly 7 million square kilometers, with large reserves of freshwater. It houses 20% of the world’s plants, 20% of birds, and 10% of mammals. Within its territory, 50 million people reside. Cattle farming is the main driver of deforestation, along with illicit activities.
The President of Brazil, the host country, has described the summit as a “historic milestone.” Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela are the 8 countries that will participate in the summit starting today in the city of Belem.
This is the first meeting the eight countries have held since 2009. The summit will include the participation of various indigenous communities and civil society organizations. These organizations have been pressuring their governments for decades to establish a protocol of action before the rainforest reaches a point of no return. Clear proposals against deforestation and organized crime operating in the region will be sought.
The participants will review the Amazon Cooperation Treaty, signed in Brasilia in 1978. This agreement led to the formation of the socio-environmental platform by these countries in 1995, recognizing the transboundary nature of the Amazon. The treaty aims to rationalize the use of water resources and improve the living conditions of Amazonian inhabitants. Currently, it operates with the goal of the 2030 Agenda.
The document resulting from the Amazon Summit will be presented at COP28, the United Nations conference to be held in Dubai (United Arab Emirates), from November 30th to December 12th.
Political Changes in Brazil Facilitate the Summit
The fight against deforestation is the focus of the summit. Overall, the Amazon has lost 13% of its original area. In the host country, the loss of vegetative mass advanced by 75% during the presidency of Jair Bolsonaro, a climate change denier.
With the change of government in Brazil, and the arrival of Lula Da Silva at the Palacio da Alvorada, from January to July of this year, deforestation fell by 42.5% compared to the same period in 2022. The Brazilian government’s goal is to end deforestation by 2030.
In fact, just a month ago, the Brazilian president and the Colombian president, Gustavo Petro, held a preparatory meeting for today’s summit in Leticia, Colombia.