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Amazon Summit Final Declaration: United For Our Forests

Alvaro Enrique Saldivia Lopez

Aug 13, 2023

The Fourth Amazon Summit was historic. For the first time the popular movements participated in this forum. With the Amazon Dialogues 27,000 people, including 800 Indigenous Leaders, were brought together in a process of formulating proposals that served as the basis for the debates of the Representatives of each Country at the Summit. Countries around the world are preparing for the COP28 that will be held between November 30 and December 12.

During the meeting held in Belém do Pará, Brazil, the presidents and representatives of the Amazon countries made a declaration to protect tropical forests worldwide, which is reproduced in the following lines:

"We, the Presidents and Heads of Delegation of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Indonesia, Peru, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Venezuela, gathered in Belém do Pará , on August 9, 2023,

1. We recognize the invaluable contribution of indigenous peoples and local communities as well as women and youth for the conservation of tropical forests.

2. We note that, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC AR6), “Climate change is already affecting tropical forests around the world, including through changes in the distribution of forest biomes, changes in species composition, biomass, pests and diseases, and the increase in forest fires.

3. We reaffirm our commitment to preserving forests, reducing the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, conserving and valuing biodiversity, and seeking a just ecological transition, convinced that our forests can be centers of sustainable development and sources of solutions for national and global sustainability challenges, reconciling economic prosperity with environmental protection and social well-being, especially of indigenous peoples and local communities, including through the development of innovative mechanisms that they will recognize and promote the functions/services of ecosystems and the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

4. We express our concern over the failure by developed countries to meet their commitments to provide official development assistance equivalent to 0.7% of their gross national income, and to provide $100 billion in climate finance per year in resources new and additional contributions to developing countries, and we call on developed countries to meet their climate finance obligations and contribute to the mobilization of $200 billion a year by 2030, as set out in the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, to support the implementation of national biodiversity strategies and action plans through the provision of new, additional, predictable and adequate financial resources.

5. We also express our concern over the failure by some developed countries to meet their mitigation targets, and we reiterate the need for developed nations to take the initiative and accelerate the decarbonization of their economies, achieving greenhouse gas emissions neutrality. greenhouse effect without delay and preferably before 2050.

6. Noting that international cooperation is the most effective way to support our sovereign commitment to reduce the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, we condemn the adoption of measures taken to combat climate change and protect the environment, including unilateral ones , which constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination or a disguised restriction on international trade.

7. We reiterate our understanding that preferential access for forest products to the markets of developed countries will be an important tool for the economic development of developing countries.

8. We invite other developing countries with tropical forests to engage, in preparation for UNFCCC COP-28 and CBD COP-16 and other relevant international conferences, in a dialogue, based on solidarity and cooperation, on the issues outlined in this Communication.

9. We also call on other developing countries that hold a significant part of the world's biodiversity to advocate for our countries to exercise greater influence in the management of resources for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

10. We take note of different initiatives promoted by developing countries relevant to the conservation and sustainable use of forest ecosystems, such as the Trilateral Cooperation on Tropical Forests and Climate Action of Brazil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Indonesia, and the initiative, by the Republic of the Congo, to host a Summit of the Three Basins of Biodiversity Ecosystems and Tropical Forests.”

Press release No. 333 was published through the website of the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, August 9, 2023. Belém do Pará, Brazil.

Statements to the Press by Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on the Resolution of a Document with a Common Agenda for the OTCA members after the Amazon Presidents' Summit 2023

"Let me address this press that I love so much, but very quickly, because I still have three bilateral meetings.

What I want to tell you is that everything that has happened here in the last four days has been very important. This summit actually began on Saturday with the participation of civil society and we have had a wonderful dialogue with an incredible ability to discuss these issues. This society, which is often anonymous because it is not always seen, has shown an extraordinary capacity for discussing Amazonian issues.

I also want to refer to the extraordinary fact of having brought together for the first time the presidents of South America from the Amazonian countries to find a joint solution. To discuss the same topic in international forums, as in the UN, in the discussion regarding funds, and to tell them that it is not Brazil that needs money, nor Colombia, nor Venezuela, but Nature.

To tell them that now they have to pay for the industrial development that they carried out for 200 years and which has polluted the world. They have to pay their share, so that we can fix what they have ruined. Nature is the one that needs money, nature is the one that needs financing. For this reason I said yesterday that wherever we go, everyone everywhere talks about the Amazon, and in this meeting it is the Amazon that is speaking to the world to give it an answer to what we need.

If you allow me, I will make the statement and then I will return to my activities, the last of which is eating. Just like you, because you need to eat. Journalists are usually always on their feet but they have to eat, so don't forget to eat.

Yesterday we met with the presidents of the Amazon countries to build a new edition of sustainable development for the region. It had been 14 years since the presidents of our countries last met. The Belém Summit takes place at a very different time from the three summits that preceded them in 1989, 1992 and 2009.

Today, denying the climate crisis is foolish, and highlighting and valuing the forest means not only maintaining and recovering its dignity, but also that of the almost 50 million inhabitants who live in the Amazon. And we are going to do that by offering sustainable opportunities, employment and income generation, through the promotion of science, technology, innovation, socio-bio-economy and the appreciation of indigenous peoples and traditional communities and their ancestral knowledge.

The Belém Declaration, which we adopted yesterday, brings together very concrete initiatives to face challenges shared by our eight countries. We are going to work together fighting against deforestation and illegal activities through the creation of mechanisms that finance regional and national actions for sustainable development, in the creation of a scientific technical panel, and in the creation of new instances of coordination and participation. It will therefore be essential to have the ACTO strengthened by regular meetings of presidents and authorities, and with a greater participation of citizens and indigenous peoples and the structuring of the Amazon Parliament.

Today we have expanded the dialogue, by involving leaders of developing countries that also have tropical forests, such as: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo, Indonesia, Saint Vincent, and the Grenadines representing CELAC. We have included France due to French Guyana, and Norway, a country that supported the Amazon Fund from the very beginning. The president of the COP 28 in Dubai has also participated, as well as representatives of multilateral organizations and multilateral entities.

We have identified enormous convergences with other developing countries that have tropical forests and we are convinced that our joint action is urgent in international forums. We demand more representativeness in the entities related to us as well as that the climate commitments of developed countries are met.

We have two important action fronts. One is to work for the definition of an international concept of socio-bio-economy that allows us to certify forest products and generate employment and income. Another is to create mechanisms that fairly and equitably pay for the environmental services that our forests provide to the world. Protectionist measures disguised as environmental concern by rich countries is not the way to go.

The Belém declaration and the joint communiqué, which we adopted during these two days of the Summit, are a step towards the construction of a common agenda with developing countries that have natural forests. And they are going to pave our way towards COP 30, when we will be again in the city of Belém in 2025. Lastly, I want to record that Brazil, as the venue for this meeting, will continue to value the intense dialogue with civil society that we have had the last few days.

Almost 30,000 people participated in the Amazon dialogues, in which we heard the voice of indigenous peoples, river communites, quilombolas, women and youth, and all others who risk their lives to preserve the Amazon. You can be sure that this Summit will produce many fruits and will be remembered in the future as a milestone for sustainable development.

What we have done at this summit is tell the world that we will not accept any more ideas that are not put into practice. We are heading to COP28 with the aim of telling the rich world that, if they really want to preserve what is left of the jungle forests, they have to invest resources not only to care for the forests, but also for the people who live there and who want to study and eat and live decently. Only by taking care of these people are we going to take care of the forest, because the example we have in Brazil is that some of the most preserved lands in this country are indigenous lands. This demonstrates that we already have natural inspectors who take care of the forest; we just have to respect them and ensure that they have decent living conditions.

We are going to deploy even more federal police to take care of the borders. We will sign agreements with all the bordering countries. You know that Brazil has more than 16 thousand kilometers of dry borders; it is not a small border, and to protect it, we have to deploy the armed forces, the police, and everyone. So just as we are fighting to preserve the forest, we are going to fight to remove and expel drug traffickers, arms dealers and organized crime from the jungle. It is a task that we are going to assume, and in the next meeting, you will be able to ask us for an update. Thank you very much and I send you all a kiss."



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