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Amazon leaders call for ‘rich countries’ support to protect rainforest amid divisions over deforestation goals


Leaders of Amazonian nations have appealed to wealthier countries to collaborate on a comprehensive plan to safeguard the world’s largest rainforest, drawing parallels to the post-World War II Marshall Plan. The summit, held in Belém, Brazil, saw the participation of eight South American presidents, including Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, commonly known as Lula. While Amazon leaders refrained from committing to a complete end to deforestation by 2030, they stressed the shared global responsibility for the rainforest’s preservation.

In a joint declaration issued at the conclusion of the two-day conference, leaders representing countries within the Amazon rainforest highlighted the interdependence of global resources and consumption patterns. They acknowledged that the survival of the Amazon biome could not be solely reliant on their individual efforts. The Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization, however, did not reach a unified agreement to halt deforestation by the end of the decade, as some had hoped.

Divisions emerged concerning the role of extractive industries such as beef, oil, and mining, which are among the main drivers of deforestation in the region. Despite the lack of a collective commitment to zero deforestation, the leaders pledged to collaborate on sustainable economic development strategies to ensure the forest’s survival. They further called upon industrialized nations to provide additional resources to aid in this effort before the upcoming Cop28 conference.

The Amazon leaders also urged debt relief in exchange for climate action, enhanced regional cooperation to address human rights violations, illegal mining, and pollution, and emphasized the importance of financial support from industrialized countries to developing nations.

President Lula da Silva emphasized the significance of the Amazon in forging a new relationship with the world, one that is equitable and values the resources for the benefit of all. While the leaders could not agree on an immediate end to oil extraction, the call for unity and concerted action to protect the Amazon was clear.

Critics expressed mixed sentiments about the outcome of the summit. Marcio Astrini, the executive secretary of the Climate Observatory group, noted that while the declaration was a step in the right direction, it lacked concrete measures. He called for more robust action in the face of escalating environmental challenges, emphasizing the urgency of halting deforestation.

The summit underscored the complexities of finding common ground among Amazon nations with diverse economic interests. Despite the absence of a comprehensive commitment to end deforestation, the conference served as a platform for leaders to address the vital importance of the Amazon rainforest in global climate and biodiversity efforts. will continue to monitor developments related to environmental conservation and climate initiatives, providing insights into the evolving challenges and collaborative efforts on a global scale.

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