Seven South American Nations Sign Agreement To Preserve Amazon Rainforest
John Vibes, Truth Theory
In light of the recent international attention on deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, the new presidential administration currently overseeing the Brazilian government has developed a reputation for their hostile attitude towards indigenous people and the ecosystem that they call home.
Luckily, this sentiment is not shared by many other South American nations, who recently met in Columbia to agree on measures to help preserve the Amazon rainforest. The biggest section of the forest may be in Brazil, but neighboring countries are also in control of a significant portion of the forest.
Estimates suggest that about 60% of the existing Amazon rainforest is located within the borders of Brazil, with the rest spread across areas of Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, Venezuela, and French Guyana.
An agreement for greater protections of the rainforest was signed by representatives of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, and Suriname. Officials in Venezuela have also shown support for preserving the rainforest, but they weren’t invited to the summit due to the extreme social unrest and political upheaval currently taking place in the country.
Colombia’s President Ivan Duque said that the meeting was intended “to foster a space for regional dialogue to advance the protection and sustainable use of this region, which is essential for the survival of the planet,” according to AFP.
The meeting was held in southern Colombia’s Amazon city of Leticia, in a “maloka,” which is basically an indigenous hut. Members of the Tikuna tribe were also in attendance.
As expected, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro never made it to the meeting, saying that he was ordered by a doctor to avoid traveling. Still, Bolsonaro did chime in on the meeting via video conference, to oppose protections for the Amazon, under the pretense that it would allow foreign countries to interfere in their affairs.
STATEMENT: Today the leaders of Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, Suriname, & Guyana met about the #AmazonFires and signed the 'Amazon Pact' on joint plans to 'conserve' the Amazon.
— Amazon Watch (@amazonwatch) September 6, 2019
“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,” said Bolsonaro.
However, according to Duque, the terms of the agreement state that the Amazonian countries will be in charge of their own destiny, but they just happen to disagree with Bolsonaro about what that destiny should be.
“This meeting will live on as a coordination mechanism for the presidents that share this treasure – the Amazon,” Duque said, according to BBC.
One of the main points of focus during the meeting was increased cooperation between the countries involved in the pact.
Colombia’s Environment Minister Ricardo Lozano told reporters that the newly formed alliance will also be setting up a database to share information about logging, mining, and deforestation.
“We needed to increase and strengthen the cooperation between us, precisely to meet the great challenges of the Amazon, which are becoming more extreme and more intense every day,” he told reporters in Leticia.
Allowing indigenous communities more control over the protected land, and increased enforcement of current protections were among the top solutions discussed at the summit.
About the Author
John Vibes is an author and journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture, and focuses solutions-oriented approaches to social problems. He is also a host of The Free Your Mind Conference and The Free Thought Project Podcast.