The first day of the Amazon Summit, held yesterday and today in Brazil, has concluded. There was great anticipation for an ambitious agreement, a document that the 8 participating countries committed to bring to the COP28 summit in November. However, the civil and indigenous organizations that participated in the Belém meeting have expressed their disappointment, stating that the agreement is not ambitious enough.
Beyond the rhetoric
The first day of the summit held in Belem has concluded. In the known “gateway to the Brazilian Amazon,” the first meeting of the 8 countries of the Amazon basin in 14 years began. Expectations were high after political changes favored the convening of the meeting. However, civil society entities and indigenous communities participating in the summit have expressed their disappointment with the lack of depth in the outcomes.
For these entities, the international gathering has resulted in grand speeches and demonstrations of goodwill, but without any concrete action plan. In this regard, activists have praised the fact that the summit addressed necessary issues, which they see as a first step. However, the agreement leaves the fight against deforestation, ending oil extraction, and countering illicit activities in the territory in the hands of each country.
Call on powers to fulfill commitments
The Amazon lost around 20,000 square kilometers in 2022. The summit is an attempt to agree on joint actions in the region. It has led to the reactivation of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty, but it has also demonstrated the difficulty of implementing actions that come with a high economic cost, in a model resistant to drastic changes.
In the Belem Declaration, 113 points outline the agreements of the 8 countries. The document calls on the world powers to fulfill their commitments to climate action.
Two proposals from President Gustavo Petro
President Gustavo Petro of Colombia participated in the summit with two proposals. Petro was among the Latin American leaders who showed the greatest commitment to combating climate change and Amazon degradation.
Firstly, Petro proposed the creation of a tribunal to judge environmental crimes and a “NATO” to militarily defend the territory. For the Colombian president, cattle farming and drug cartels are the main threats to the Colombian Amazon. Cattle farming destroys vegetation to favor an extensive ranching model. Drug cartels have set up corridors to transport drugs between countries.
Gustavo Petro once again advocated for the need to change the energy model. Blaming the use of fossil fuels, he reiterated his message to intensify climate actions in favor of clean energies.
However, the planet is still awaiting significant international commitments to prevent reaching a point of no return in the considered “green lung” of the Earth.