8th August, London - On 8th and 9th August, leaders of eight rainforest nations are convening in the city of Belém in Pará, Brazil, to discuss the future of the Amazon Rainforest.
Hosted by Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the summit brings together leaders from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela to develop a roadmap to fight deforestation of the world’s largest rainforest, crucial in tackling climate change.
Ahead of the summit, thousands of Indigenous activists and environmentalists descended upon Belém – where Brazil will host the UN climate summit COP30 in 2025 - to discuss protection of Indigenous territories, saving the rainforest from reaching its tipping point, and combatting organised crime.
Global Witness’s US Policy Advisor Javier Garate said: “The crucial role played by Indigenous and traditional communities cannot be dismissed, as guardians of the Amazon - a precious carbon sink – and of ancestral knowledge vital for effective forest conservation. But these groups are under attack in every corner of the rainforest for simply trying to protect their land.
“Hundreds of people have been murdered defending the Amazon since 2014. If this summit is serious about protecting the world's most crucial rainforest and everyone who depends on it, it will put those defenders first by addressing the risks they face – and holding multinational corporations accountable for their role in tearing up this climate-critical ecosystem.
“Leaders must acknowledge that more needs to be done and should come up with concrete actions to support Indigenous peoples protecting the rainforest. No joint commitment can be truly effective unless the protection of these groups is at its heart. Ratifying and implementing the regional Escazú Agreement will also play a pivotal role; we cannot protect the Amazon rainforest until we fully protect its people.”
Cassie Dummett, Head of the Forests campaign at Global Witness, said: “Amazon leaders face an uphill battle against a global economic system designed to generate profit regardless of the impact on forests or the livelihoods of communities. But the lungs of the earth are at risk of collapsing under the weight of deforesting companies and those lining their pockets from these activities. This must urgently change.
“While we urge rainforest nation leaders to embrace a mindset that both restores degraded lands and keeps all our vital carbon sinks intact, this responsibility does not lie with Amazon countries alone. We must look to key markets for Amazon-grown products such as the UK, EU, US and China - where goods grown on deforested and stolen land are funded and consumed - to play their part in keeping the rainforest standing.”