Seven years to end Amazon deforestation - Brazilian NGOs show how
Brasilia, International — Nine non-governmental organisations, including Greenpeace, (1) today launched a proposal for a national agreement to end Amazon deforestation (2) at an event attended by the Brazilian Minister of Environment and State Governors. The proposal aims to achieve a broad commitment from sectors of the Brazilian government and civil society for measures to ensure urgent protection for the Amazon rainforest.
Brasília, Brazil. 3 October 2007. Nine non-governmental organisations, including Greenpeace, (1) today launched a proposal for a national agreement to end Amazon deforestation (2) at an event attended by the Brazilian Minister of Environment and State Governors. The proposal aims to achieve a broad commitment from sectors of the Brazilian government and civil society for measures to ensure urgent protection for the Amazon rainforest.
“As we launch this initiative, the forests in the Amazon are being slashed and burned. This has to end. We show that it can end if political will, financing and conservation efforts work in a co-ordinated manner,” said Greenpeace Amazon Campaign Co-ordinator Paulo Adario.
“Protecting the world’s remaining forests will significantly reduce climate change, maintain the livelihood of millions of people who depend on the forest and protect a huge amount of the world’s biodiversity,” he said.
The proposal, entitled the ’Agreement on Acknowledging the Value of the Forest and Ending Amazon Deforestation’ shows that adopting a system of reduction targets (3) could end deforestation in the Amazon by 2015.
Minister of Environment Marina Silva and State Governors Eduardo Braga (Amazonas), Blairo Maggi (Mato Groso), Waldez Góes (Amapá), as well as other authorities, attended the launch event.
The proposal combines strong public policies with market strategies to promote reductions in Amazon deforestation and to finance the maintenance of existing forests and the ’environmental services’ they provide. Estimates are that this would call for an investment of around R$ 1 billion per year (roughly Euro 390 million) from national and international sources.
NGOs believe that economic incentives should be directed at strengthening forest governance including monitoring, control and inspection, promotion of environmental licensing for rural properties, and the creation and implementation of protected areas and indigenous lands. Incentives are also needed to optimise agricultural use in areas which have already been deforested. Indigenous peoples, local communities, traditional populations and rural producers would be among those benefiting from financial compensation for forest conservation.
According to the NGOs, one of the main challenges is to guarantee public policies which incorporate the elimination of deforestation within a social, environmental and economic framework. It is necessary to go beyond ’command and control’ measures by promoting the revision and re-orientation of financial incentives which historically have been channeled into destructive practices.
By 2006, approximately 17 per cent of the Amazon rainforest had been destroyed, equivalent to an area larger than France. High rates of deforestation are leading to an accelerated loss of biodiversity which is having a direct impact on the way of life of millions of forest-dependent people. Deforestation, which is predominantly occurring in the tropics, accounts for about one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions. Up to 75 per cent of Brazilian greenhouse gas emissions come from land conversion and deforestation mainly in the Amazon, which makes Brazil the fourth largest climate polluter in the world (4).
Destroying the Amazon forest could trigger prolonged droughts in a number of regions of Brazil and reduce the country’s agricultural productivity, leading to serious economic and social impacts.
The NGOs involved in developing the agreement see the launch of their initiative as the beginning of a national debate focusing on consistent, long-term solutions to ending deforestation in the Amazon region.
Success, however, depends on this national initiative being coupled with international action. Greenpeace is calling for deforestation to be included in the post-2012 Kyoto climate regime which will be discussed at a conference in Bali, Indonesia, in December. This would be a critical step in providing the financing and capacity needed for governments of forest countries to participate seriously in global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Stabilising the world’s climate depends on countries making deep cuts in their energy-related emissions and completely halting deforestation.
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