Seven Amazon Countries Sign Pact To Protect The Rainforest

As the Amazonian rainforest continues to burn, seven nations in the region have signed a pact to protect the world’s largest tropical rainforest, according to Reuters:

“The presidents of Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru, the vice-president of Suriname and the natural resource minister of Guyana attended the one-day summit in the jungle city of Leticia in southern Colombia.

“Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro participated by video link, while his foreign minister, Ernesto Araujo, attended in person.”

The agreement says the seven countries will create a network for the purpose of coordinating their response to future disasters such as the horrific fires which have ravaged the fragile rainforest this summer. EcoWatch reports that the leaders also promised they would “increase the satellite monitoring of deforestation, share information on threats to the forest like illegal mining, develop reforestation and education initiatives and increase the participation of Indigenous communities.”

Colombian President Ivan Duque hailed the agreement:

“This meeting will live on as a coordination mechanism for the presidents that share this treasure―the Amazon.”

Brazil, which has 60 percent of the Amazon in its borders, has seen an increase of 83 percent in rainforest fires this year compared to 2018. Fires also continue to consume large sections of the rainforest in Bolivia.

Many have blamed Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for his failure to act decisively to protect the Amazonian rainforest:

“Right-wing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, whose pro-industry policies and rhetoric have been blamed for the increase in fires, did not attend the conference in person because he was preparing for surgery.

“Instead, he attended via video. Bolsonaro, who rejected $22 million in aid from the G7 countries in August, urged the South American countries to manage the region without international interference.

“‘We must take a strong position of defense of sovereignty so that each country can develop the best policy for the Amazon region, and not leave it in the hands of other countries,’ Bolsonaro said, as AFP reported.”

While Indigenous leaders from Amazon communities that have been most affected by the fires and deforestation, some sounded skeptical that the pact would do any good, with National Indigenous Organization of Colombia coordinator Nelly Kuiru warning that the proposal was “very vague,” adding:

“I think it is important the presidents took the time to come to one of the Amazon’s regions, in Colombia, and sign the pact. But I have doubts about it. I doubt the pact will be fulfilled, because to make a pact there first of all has to be an analysis of what is happening.”

Moira Birss of the conservation group Amazon Watch agreed with Kuiru, noting that the pact failed to address the specific causes of deforestation and also didn’t make a clear connection between deforestation and the global climate crisis. In a statement she issued, Birss wrote:

“This is problematic both because ample scientific research has demonstrated the serious climate impacts of tropical forest deforestation, and because the direct causes of Amazon deforestation and degradation are widely known to be industrial activities like agribusiness and mining,”


Featured Image Via Pixabay

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Andrew Bradford

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