Eight Amazon countries sign Belem Declaration

Eight Amazon countries sign Belem Declaration

Wednesday, August 9th 2023 – 10:31 UTC

The document expressed the urgent need to avoid the so-called “point of no return” in the Amazon

Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela Tuesday signed the Belém Declaration on the opening day of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO) Summit in the Brazilian State of Pará, Agencia Brasil reported.

The document containing 113 cross-cutting objectives and principles consolidates the common agenda among the eight ACTO signatory countries and outlines consensus based on “contributions from civil society” as highlighted during the Seminar on Sustainable Development of the Amazon, held in May in Brasilia, and from federal government agencies. As per the new agreement, ACTO will play a central role in implementing the new Amazon cooperation agenda.

It was up to the Brazilian government, as host of the Summit, to present a basic text, later analyzed and adjusted by the other countries. Among the commitments presented is the adoption of cross-cutting principles for the implementation of the Declaration, “which include protection and promotion of human rights; active participation and promotion of the rights of indigenous peoples and local and traditional communities; gender equality; combating all forms of discrimination; based on an intercultural and intergenerational approach.”

The document also expressed the urgent need for regional awareness and cooperation to avoid the so-called “point of no return” in the Amazon – a term used by experts to refer to the point at which the forest loses its ability to self-regenerate, due to deforestation, degradation, and global warming.

The eight presidents committed to launch the Amazon Alliance to Combat Deforestation, based on national goals, such as zero deforestation by 2030.

The Belém Declaration also provides for the creation of “financial mechanisms to promote sustainable development, with emphasis on the Green Coalition, which brings together development banks in the region.”

The Brazilian government has pledged to set up the Center for International Police Cooperation in Manaus to integrate the police of the eight countries. It is also planned to establish an Integrated Air Traffic Control System to combat illicit air traffic, drug trafficking, and other crimes in the region.

Within ACTO, several bodies are to be created. Among them, are the Amazonian Mechanism of Indigenous Peoples; and the Intergovernmental Technical-Scientific Panel of the Amazon, which will have the participation of government, researchers, civil society, as well as indigenous peoples and local and traditional communities.

Also among the institutions created is an observatory on the situation of human rights defenders, the environment, and indigenous peoples, to identify funding and best practices for the protection of defenders; the Observatory of Rural Women for the Amazon, to strengthen rural women entrepreneurs; the Forum of Amazonian Cities; the Amazonian Innovation and Technological Diffusion Network, focusing on sustainable regional development; and the Network of Water Authorities, to improve the management of water resources between countries.

In a statement, Itamaraty said that the foreign ministers of the member countries will meet soon to express their conclusions on the reports with suggestions produced during the Amazon Dialogues, an event before the Belém Summit.

(Source: Agencia Brasil)

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