Presidents of eight Amazon countries sign Belém Declaration
The document is one of the results of the Amazon Summit
Published on 09/08/2023 - 10:10 By Pedro Peduzzi - Agência Brasil - Brasília
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On Tuesday, August 8, the presidents of the Amazon countries released the Belém Declaration, a document that unifies the shared objectives of the eight signatory nations under the Amazon Cooperation Treaty (ACTO), focusing on the region's collective agenda.
The declaration, signed during the first day of the Amazon Summit, outlines the consensus points of Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela, drawing upon contributions from civil society highlighted during the Seminar on Sustainable Development of the Amazon, which took place in May in Brasília, and from federal government agencies.
The Belém document contains 113 cross-cutting objectives and principles, committed to by the signatory countries. ACTO will play a central role in implementing the new Amazon cooperation agenda.
The responsibility fell upon the Brazilian government, acting as the host of the Summit, to put forth an initial draft, subsequently subjected to analysis and refinement by the other participating nations.
This declaration embeds a series of commitments that encompass overarching principles spanning diverse domains. These principles include "safeguarding and advocating for human rights, actively supporting the rights of indigenous populations and local and traditional communities, promoting gender parity, and engaging in the battle against all forms of discrimination through an intercultural and intergenerational approach."
The document also underscores 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 have committed to launching 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 aimed at promoting sustainable development." There is a particular emphasis on the Green Coalition, which brings together development banks in the region.
The Brazilian government will spearhead the creation of the Center for International Police Cooperation in Manaus. This initiative aims to foster integration among the police forces of all eight nations. Additionally, an Integrated Air Traffic Control System is set to be established, with the intent of combating illicit air traffic, drug trafficking, and other criminal activities prevalent in the region.
Within the framework of ACTO, numerous entities are poised for creation. Notably, these include the Amazonian Mechanism of Indigenous Peoples and the Intergovernmental Technical-Scientific Panel of the Amazon, which will feature participation from government representatives, researchers, civil society members, as well as indigenous peoples and local and traditional communities.
Furthermore, within the realm of established institutions, the list includes the Observatory for the status of human rights defenders, the environment, and indigenous peoples. This entity is designed to pinpoint funding sources and optimal protective practices for defenders. Another component is the Observatory for Rural Women in the Amazon, aimed at bolstering entrepreneurship among rural women. Additional entities consist of the Forum of Amazonian Cities, the Amazonian Innovation and Technological Diffusion Network with its focal point on sustainable regional development, and the Network of Water Authorities, designed to enhance the management of transnational water resources.
The Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has released a statement, announcing that the foreign ministers from member countries will soon convene to deliberate on the suggestions brought forth during the Amazon Dialogues—a precursor event to the Belém Summit.
Translation: Mário Nunes - Edition: Carolina Pimentel