Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

7 Amazon Rainforest Countries Sign Pact to Come Together in Response to Wildfires

Climate
7 Amazon Rainforest Countries Sign Pact to Come Together in Response to Wildfires
Handout picture released by the Colombian presidency showing Colombian President Ivan Duque (2-L) speaking next to Bolivian President Evo Morales (L) and in front of Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo (2-R) and Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno (R), during a meeting with Indigenous leaders before the Presidential Summit for the Amazon at the National University in Leticia, department of Amazonas, Colombia, on Sept. 6. NICOLAS GALEANO / AFP / Getty Images

Seven Amazon countries signed a pact Friday to protect the world's largest tropical rainforest in response to the record-breaking number of wildfires that have blazed through the Amazon rainforest this summer, Reuters reported.


Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Suriname agreed to create a network to coordinate their responses to disasters like this summer's fires. They also promised to 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.

"This meeting will live on as a coordination mechanism for the presidents that share this treasure―the Amazon," Colombian President Ivan Duque said, as Reuters reported.

Fires in Brazil, which contains 60 percent of the Amazon within its borders, are up 83 percent this year compared to last, according to Reuters. Fires are also raging in Bolivia on its border with Brazil and Paraguay, BBC News reported.

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.

The meeting was held in Leticia in the Colombian Amazon. In addition to Duque, it was attended by Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno, Bolivian President Evo Morales, Suriname Vice President Michael Adhin, Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo and Guyana Natural Resource Minister Raphael Trotman, Al Jazeera reported.

Indigenous leaders from Amazon communities impacted by fires and deforestation also attended the meeting, but some expressed doubts over how effective the pact would be. National Indigenous Organization of Colombia coordinator Nelly Kuiru told Al Jazeera that the pact was "very vague."

"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," she said. "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 conservation and Indigenous rights group Amazon Watch agreed. She said that the pact did not list the specific causes of deforestation and did not make a clear enough connection between deforestation and the climate crisis.

"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," she wrote in a statement.

Birss also pointed out that the language of the text implied that signatories saw the Amazon more as an economic asset than a vital ecosystem:

"Furthermore, the pact's frequent mention of the 'value' of the trees and biodiversity of the Amazon, and of the 'development' of its natural resources, seem to indicate that the signatories view the rainforest as a commodity to be exploited rather than a vital ecosystem and the ancestral home to indigenous peoples that must be protected.

"This reading of the pact is supported by recent events: this week the Bolsonaro administration has pushed for even more rollbacks to environmental protections in the country's Forest Code, and Ecuador's new Environment Minister declared on Wednesday that, "where there are natural resources, there will be extraction.'

"Responses to the Amazon fires will never be effective in protecting the rainforest unless they confront the key driver of Amazon deforestation: profit-seeking at the expense of the rights of forest peoples and environmental protection."

The Amazon is in fact home to around one million people who belong to 500 Indigenous groups, according to Reuters.

In an EcoWatch Live interview last week, founder and president of the Amazon Aid Foundation Sarah duPont stated that "There are more trees in the Amazon than there are stars in the Milky Way."

EcoWatch Live Interview with the Amazon Aid Foundation


China's new five-year plan could allow further expansion of its coal industry. chuyu / iStock / Getty Images Plus

On Friday, China set out an economic blueprint for the next five years, which was expected to substantiate the goal set out last fall by President Xi Jinping for the country to reach net-zero emissions before 2060 and hit peak emissions by 2030.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Trans Canada Trail and AccessNow partnership for AccessOutdoors / Trails for All project. Mapping day on Capital Pathway in Ottawa, Ontario with Camille Bérubé. Daniel Baylis

The Great Trail in Canada is recognized as the world's longest recreational trail for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. Created by the Trans Canada Trail (TCT) and various partners, The Great Trail consists of a series of smaller, interconnected routes that stretch from St. John's to Vancouver and even into the Yukon and Northwest Territories. It took nearly 25 years to connect the 27,000 kilometers of greenway in ways that were safe and accessible to hikers. Now, thanks to a new partnership with the Canadian Paralympic Committee and AccessNow, the TCT is increasing accessibility throughout The Great Trail for people with disabilities.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A lone house is seen inside the exclusion zone near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant on February 26, 2016 in Namie, Fukushima, Japan. Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

By Kiyoshi Kurokawa and Najmedin Meshkati

Ten years ago, on March 11, 2011, the biggest recorded earthquake in Japanese history hit the country's northeast coast. It was followed by a tsunami that traveled up to 6 miles inland, reaching heights of over 140 feet in some areas and sweeping entire towns away in seconds.

Read More Show Less
Rescript the Future is WaterBear's global script writing competition focused on building a better future. WaterBear

"Watch. Connect. Take Action."

These words are the invitation and mandate of the WaterBear Network, a free film-streaming platform that launched in November of 2020. Its goal is to turn inspirational images of the natural world into actions to save it.

Read More Show Less
The Sunrise Movement launched its "Good Jobs for All" campaign that guarantees a good job to anyone who wants one and puts the country on a path toward a Green New Deal. Image Source / Getty Images

By Kenny Stancil

Amid the ongoing climate emergency and the devastating coronavirus pandemic that has resulted in more than 500,000 deaths in the U.S. alone as well as an economic meltdown that has left millions of people unemployed, the Sunrise Movement on Thursday launched its "Good Jobs for All" campaign to demand that lawmakers pursue a robust recovery that guarantees a good job to anyone who wants one and puts the country on a path toward a Green New Deal.

Read More Show Less