The 8 countries of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (OTCA) decided on Saturday in Leticia, Colombia, to promote urgent measures to preserve the largest tropical forest in the world. “What is done in one corner of South America has repercussions in another. That is why our cooperation is so important,” said the President of Brazil, LuizInácio Lula da Silva, who together with his Colombian counterpart, Gustavo Petro, closed a two-day technical-scientific meeting promoted by Bogotá, with a view to the fourth ACTO summit in August in the Brazilian city of Belém.
ACTO delegates, made up of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela, agreed on the need to avoid exceeding the point of no return in terms of the degradation of the Amazon, affected by deforestation, exploitation of minerals and oil and the extension of agricultural and livestock frontiers. “To sustain the Amazon, according to science, we need to keep 80% of its forests standing and not manage to go beyond 20% deforestation, and unfortunately we are already at 17%”, the Colombian minister said during the meeting. of Environment, Susana Muhamad. She added that “losing the Amazon, reaching the point of no return, has irreversible consequences for global climate change“.
“Let the rich countries comply”
But political decisions are insufficient if there is no financial support to conserve the Amazon rainforest, which is home to 10% of all species of flora and fauna, and has the largest freshwater reserve on Earth, including a “real” ocean. underground, Lula pointed out. “Saving life on the planet and overcoming the climate crisis requires an investment of US$3.3 trillion (…) a year and 30 times less, which is US$100,000 (millions), they have not even been fulfilled”, Petro said in turn.
The first president of the Colombian left alluded to the commitment of the rich countries to contribute 100,000 million dollars to face the climate crisis that arose from the Copenhagen Summit of 2009. “Europe, the United States, China, and they have not reached that far They are the ones who pollute the world”, he added.
Lula cited that the principle of common “but differentiated” responsibilities remains central and argued that “we will have to demand, together, that the rich countries fulfill their commitments” in the face of the climate crisis. “After all, historically they have emitted the majority of greenhouse gases,” said the Brazilian president, pointing out that “whoever has the largest forest reserves and the greatest biodiversity deserves greater representation” as is the case of the Amazonian nations in organizations such as the Global Environment Facility.
Zero deforestationuntil 2030
Lula emphasized that it is the first time in history that Brazil and Colombia have progressive governments that share the commitment to place the Amazon at the center of their policies. He warned that deforestation in the Amazon -which occupies 40% of South America- reduces rainfall in the region, threatening the water supply, and announced that his country will institutionalize an Amazon Regional Observatory that will guide public conservation policies and generate alerts on droughts , floods, fires and contaminations. The technical-scientific meeting addressed “fundamental” issues such as the protection of indigenous peoples, the bioeconomy and the fight against transnational crimes, he reported.
The Amazon jungle has 50 million inhabitants. In its vast thickness inhabit 400 indigenous peoples who speak 300 different languages, according to the Brazilian president. Brazil, which occupies most of the Amazon, faces accelerating deforestation. Lula indicated that his government (2023-2027) will reduce illegal felling of trees to zero until 2030. “This is a commitment that the Amazonian countries can assume together at the Belém summit”, he said.