Belém Amazon Summit to be held on 8 and 9 August
Lula will inaugurate the Belém Amazon Summit on 8 and 9 August with good news. In July, deforestation in the world’s largest tropical forest fell 66% from the same month last year. Since it confirms the change of direction impressed by the new president compared to the disastrous four years of Jair Bolsonaro. Since taking office in January 2023, deforestation has fallen by 42.5%. But to secure the Amazon from the impact of the climate crisis requires a joint effort, coordinated and continuous over time.
What is the Belém Amazon Summit and why it is important
This is what is at stake in the two days announced by Lula last May. The format of the summit on the Amazon in Belém – in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, and where Brazil will host the COP30 in 2025 – immediately makes clear the number one goal. Brazil will sit at the table together with other Latin American countries with which it shares a portion of the Amazon, namely Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Guyana and Suriname. Together they will take a historic step: the summit should give rise to the first common regional policy for the Amazon.
The preservation of the Amazon is fundamental not only for regional balances but also on a global scale. One of the main effects would be the profound change in precipitation patterns, since the evapotranspiration of the forest plays a fundamental role. Cascading, this would affect other parts of the Earth’s climate system, with visible effects everywhere. According to some studies, the trigger of a tipping point in the Amazon and therefore its inevitable degradation could trigger other points of no return climate, thus accelerating global warming.
What will be discussed in Belém
All these countries are already part of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO). Founded in 1978 in a first version and then strengthened in 1995, this intergovernmental organization would have the task of coordinating the activities of its members in order to conserve the resources and ecosystem of the Amazon. On paper there are mechanisms, what is often lacking is political will. The Belém summit should remedy and produce a regional agenda for the conservation of the Amazon.
There are two key themes at the heart of the summit: on the one hand conservation actions and on the other the management of security along the perimeter of the forest. It seeks to address some of the main factors driving illegal deforestation, including land use change linked to the expansion of livestock and industrial-scale agriculture.
Among the aspects on which the representatives of the 8 Amazonian countries will focus there is also the contrast to the forms of organized crime that exploit in various ways the forest, including drug trafficking. Part of the proceeds of drug trafficking that insist on the region are also reinvested (cleaned) in the Amazon in the form of speculation on land grabbing, mining and logging.
The private sector will also be involved. Which Lula wants to ask for help with the reforestation of 30 million hectares of degraded forest.