Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva participates in activities on the second day (9 August 2023) of a summit of heads of state and government of member countries of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela. The two-day event was held in Belem, Brazil. EFE/Andre Borges

Amazon nations: Developed countries must pay to preserve rainforest

Belem, Brazil, Aug 9 (EFE).- The countries that make up the Amazon River basin called here Wednesday on developed nations to provide the funding needed to keep the rainforest intact while promoting sustainable development.

The official photo on 9 August 2023 at the summit of heads of state and government of member countries of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela. The two-day event was held in Belem, Brazil. EFE/ Antonio Lacerda

That message was expressed at the close of the fourth meeting of heads of state and government of member countries of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela.

From left to right: the president of the Republic of the Congo, Denis Sassou Nguesso; the governor of the Brazilian state of Para, Helder Barbalho; the president of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva; and the president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Felix Tshisekedi, pose for an official photo on the second and final day (9 August 2023) of a summit of heads of state and government of member countries of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization. The event took place in Belem, Brazil. EFE/ Antonio Lacerda

Those eight nations and four guest countries from outside the region with large expanses of tropical rainforest – the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Indonesia – reaffirmed their commitment to battle climate change at the conclusion of the gathering.

But they said their efforts will be insufficient without the cooperation of the planet’s wealthiest nations.

In a joint communique titled “United for Our Forests,” they said environmental preservation must go hand-in-hand with economic growth, a message they plan to take to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) later this year in the United Arab Emirates.

“We can’t talk about tropical forests and climate change without discussing the historic responsibility of the developed countries,” Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the event’s host, said in a speech.

In that regard, the 10-point joint communique expressed concern over some developed countries’ non-compliance with their mitigation targets and called on them to “fulfill their climate financing obligations.”

They were referring to wealthy countries’ commitment to “provide $100 billion in climate financing per year in new and additional resources to developing countries” with the goal of preserving the planet’s most vulnerable ecosystems.

The text also said international cooperation is paramount and slammed some measures adopted by developed countries to battle climate change.

Among those measures, the communique said, were “unilateral ones” that constituted “a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination or a disguised restriction on international trade.”

COMBATING POVERTY

During his speech on Wednesday, Lula said fighting deforestation is not enough and that the most widespread poverty and violence and lowest levels of education, food security and health care are found in the areas of greatest rainforest destruction.

He also reiterated the same message to reporters at the conclusion of the meeting.

“We’ll go to COP28 to say that if they want to preserve the forests they need to put up the money, not just for the forest canopies but also to care for the people in their shadows who want to work and study,” Lula said.

VAGUE COMMITMENTS

On the first day of the summit, the eight countries of the Amazon basin agreed on a 113-point declaration that included the establishment of the Amazon Alliance to Fight Deforestation, creation of financial mechanisms to foster sustainable development and cross-border collaboration against environmental crime.

At a press conference on Tuesday, however, participants faced questions about the absence from the declaration of unambiguous commitments to end deforestation in Amazonia by 2030 and bar exploitation of fossil-fuel reserves in that bioregion. EFE

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