Aug 10, 2023 - World

113 promises for the Amazon, but no "deforestation zero" roadmap

Presidents and high-level representatives of the eight nations in the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization. Photo: Filipe Bispo Vale/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Leaders from the eight nations that share the Amazon rainforest promised in a joint statement this week to work towards "deforestation zero," but they did not commit to a roadmap for achieving it.

Driving the news: The leaders of Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela met this week to discuss Amazonian conservation — the first such meeting since 2009.

  • They announced a joint agreement with 113 provisions, starting with a promise to "combine efforts at the highest level" to set a common agenda for sustainability and conservation.
  • They also announced they'll create a police cooperation framework to fight deforesters and poachers, work together to promote connectivity in the Amazon, and create panels for scientific cooperation and for Indigenous peoples to have a direct line with the eight governments for conservation matters.

Yes, but: Climate action organizations like the World Wildlife Fund said the joint declaration does not go far enough.

  • Observatório do Clima, a coalition of 78 environmental nonprofits, criticized the governments for not coming to agreements on key matters such as mining and common objectives for reducing deforestation.
  • The summit's pact says it's "urgent to set shared goals to fight deforestation" but right now each country can still set up its own target.
  • The countries promised to "set up a dialogue about the sustainability of sectors like mining and hydrocarbons" but did not agree, like Colombia had asked, on a road to "decarbonization."

The big picture: The Amazon is the world's largest rainforest, with trees that help absorb the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It has a fifth of all the world's fresh water reserves, and unique flora and fauna.

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