Eight South American countries are currently meeting in Brazil to discuss coordinated policies for the Amazon basin. The Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organisation (ACTO) summit is the first of its kind since 2009 and aims to address the pressing issues surrounding deforestation and sustainable development in the region.
Hosted by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the summit also serves as a dress rehearsal for the upcoming COP30 UN climate talks, which will be held in Belem in 2025. The Amazon, known for its carbon-absorbing trees, plays a crucial role in the fight against global warming. However, deforestation is pushing the Amazon perilously close to a “tipping point” with potentially catastrophic consequences for the climate.
Shocking statistics reveal that carbon emissions from the Amazon increased by a staggering 117% in 2020 compared to the average for the years between 2010 and 2018. This alarming trend highlights the urgent need for collaborative efforts to combat deforestation and organized crime in the region, while also striving for sustainable development.
Brazil, which holds 60% of the Amazon, has pledged to eradicate illegal deforestation by 2030. The primary drivers behind deforestation are cattle ranching, corruption, land-grabbing, and organized crime. However, there is a glimmer of hope as deforestation decreased by 42.5% between January and July of this year compared to the same period last year.
Recognizing the gravity of the situation, over 50 environmental groups have urged the governments of these South American countries to adopt a comprehensive plan to halt the Amazon’s descent towards a point of no return. The importance of international cooperation and shared responsibility is echoed by President Lula, who insists that the responsibility for saving the Amazon extends worldwide. He emphasizes the need for global support to preserve and develop the rainforest.
The ACTO summit is attended by six South American presidents and representatives from Norway, Germany, and France, lending international support to the cause. Additionally, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo have also been invited to participate, showcasing the global concern for the fate of the Amazon. By collaborating and strategizing, these countries hope to find effective solutions to combat deforestation and ensure a sustainable future for the region.