AMERICA - Summit of the Presidents of the Amazon Region: "We have to face great challenges and have little time to act"

Thursday, 2 March 2023


Brasilia (Agenzia Fides) - The Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network (REPAM), the Amazon World Assembly (AMA) and the Panamanian Social Forum (FOSPA) published on March 1st a joint letter addressed to the Presidents of the Amazonian countries (Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Suriname and Guiana), congratulating them on their initiative to hold a joint Amazon Summit in the first half of 2023. At the same time, due to their many years of experience, they recall a number of topics that are particularly important to them.
In the letter, they stress the importance of such a high-level meeting to "resolve the loss of biodiversity, the degradation of strategic ecosystems and the increasing impact on the rights of Amazonian peoples, as evidenced, for example, by the killing of activists and the escalation of violence against women".
The three organizations have all worked for many years to respect and care for this region, vital to the planet and home to a mosaic of cultures: FOSPA for 22 years now, REPAM for 8 years and AMA for 3 years.
"The cry of the forest and its people is getting louder and calls on all social and institutional forces not to remain silent and to act," write the representatives of the three organizations. In order to create lasting spaces for dialogue between the governments and organizations of indigenous peoples and social movements in the Amazon, they therefore propose five points.
1. New approaches to regional cooperation should create spaces for the mandatory participation of organizations of indigenous peoples and civil society in the design and implementation of policies, programs and projects, and in the monitoring and control of such initiatives, as well as guaranteeing specific spaces for women in the Amazon region.
2. Participation of traditional and indigenous peoples and organized civil society, including women's organizations, should also be ensured in advising and managing the financing of environmental projects for the Amazon region at national and regional level.
3. All projects for the Amazon region should comply with protocols for free, prior and informed consultation in line with International Labor Organization Convention 169 and ensure that women are actively involved in the decision-making process.
4. Regional integration policies should respect and promote the self-determination of the peoples of the Amazon region.
5. The proposals and actions of the Belém Charter (elaborated at the Xth Panamanian Social Forum) must be taken into account in the planning of the national and regional governments of the Amazon region.
"We know the challenges are great and time to act is short, that it is an obligation for present and future generations, that protecting life on this planet compels us to act without hesitation and decisively, and to overcome any mercantilist logic that endangers life," write the signatories of the letter, who propose a virtual meeting to open the dialogue and initiate the coordination of these proposals, as well as to organize participation in the summit of the Presidents of the Amazon region. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 2/3/2023)