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Amazon Summit

A Foreign Policy email rproted on the Amazon summit in Brazil. According to the article:

On Tuesday, members of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO), Latin America’s largest environmental bloc, met in Belém, Brazil, for a two-day summit to further regional cooperation, battle climate change and deforestation, and strengthen Indigenous protections. This is the first time the body, composed of eight Amazon rainforest nations—Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela—has convened in 14 years, and only the fourth time in its 45-year history. The last time the organization met, the only ACTO member with a president in attendance other than the summit’s host, Brazil, was Guyana.

“It has never been so urgent to resume and expand that cooperation,” said Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. “The challenge of our era and the opportunities that arise will demand joint action.”

Around 130 issues are on the bloc’s agenda, from economics to sustainability. But deforestation and oil drilling are at the top of the list. At last month’s pre-summit meeting in Colombia, Colombian President Gustavo Petro urged Lula to halt a new offshore drilling site near the mouth of the Amazon River. Brazil was the ninth-largest oil producer in the world in 2022, ahead of Kuwait and just behind Iran. “Are we going to let hydrocarbons be explored in the Amazon rainforest?” Petro asked. “Is there wealth there, or is there the death of humanity?”

Petro and other Latin American leaders hope to decrease oil drilling as a means of reducing deforestation. Last year alone, almost 10.2 million acres of primary rainforest was lost worldwide, according to the World Resources Institute—the equivalent of losing 11 soccer fields’ worth of trees every minute. Both Brazil and Colombia have pledged to stop deforestation by 2030, but other ACTO members have been slow to take up the pledge. And Lula is battling years of catastrophic environmental policies established under former President Jair Bolsonaro.

In a further blow to the summit’s effectiveness, not all eight members are in attendance. Both Ecuador and Suriname sent senior representatives instead of their nations’ leaders, and Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro canceled at the last minute due to an ear infection. Still, Brazil is hoping to encourage the other ACTO nations in attendance to sign the Belém Declaration, a list of collaborative strategies for combatting carbon emissions. The document would also create an international police center in Manaus, the largest city in the Amazon, to promote interstate cooperation to combat organized crime in the region.

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