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How to avoid the tipping point in the Amazon?

Session "Avoiding the point of no return in the Amazon", led by Carlos Nobre of the Scientific Panel for the Amazon (SPA) on November 8 at COP27, in Egypt began saying, the Amazon is at risk and about to reach non-return. According to WWF, 18% of the Amazon forests were lost, and 17% are degraded. If deforestation is forward the consequences would have a global impact. It is estimated that more than 200 billion tons of carbon would be ejected into the atmosphere over the next 50 years. 

The fight against climate change is not entirely lost. Manuel Pulgar Vidal, WWF Global Leader of the Climate and Energy Practice and Former Minister of the Environment of Peru highlighted the importance of recognizing the fundamental role of protected areas and indigenous territories. However, he acknowledges that despite the positive results of various initiatives, support is still lacking. It is time to direct conservation efforts to the titling and guarantee of indigenous peoples' rights.

“Rebuilding the alliance with indigenous peoples is to contribute to their goal to protect 80% of Amazon by 2025 (80x25). It is essential to avoid the point of no return. To achieve this more alliances must be created. For example, with science to make it accessible to people. With the technology to adapt it and make it accessible for the efficient monitoring of the territories. In addition, a public-private alliance that revalues Amazon and generates governability is important. An alliance with resources and finances that promotes funds for Amazon. Finally, solid policies against deforestation that control destructive actions that give space to roads, farms, and other activities.” mentioned Manual Pulgar Vidal.

In addition, to secure the land is essential to make visible the knowledge and natural leadership that indigenous women possess. They maintain the balance between the use of the land and the conservation of water, forests, biodiversity, and their communities with their ancestral knowledge. Tabea Casique Coronado, AIDESEP representative, and COICA Education, Science, and Technology Coordinator detailed the key role of indigenous women in the Amazon. “Women contribute from our knowledge. We take care of the seeds. We conserve biodiversity because we depend on it to maintain the health of our homes and food security. Women face the pandemic. We serve our communities with our natural pharmacy, the forest. We deserve respect and the enjoyment of our rights.”

“A radical change is needed in the way of directing public policies. For example, Colombia created a global alliance to save the Amazon. Now the indigenous peoples from Colombia have the responsibility of ensuring change in the Colombian Amazon. However, traditional knowledge is still not accepted in universities, which must be part of the change. Ancestral knowledge must be brought to the new generations. Let us remember that indigenous territories are the best preserved in the world. We know to achieve change, ”said José Gregorio Mirabal, General Coordinator of the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin - COICA in his speech.

According to the Living Amazon Report of WWF, the Amazon covers 6.7 million square kilometers and encompasses the largest complex of forests and rivers in the world. It has around 10% of the world's biodiversity. But deforestation and degradation continue to advance. The main drivers of deforestation and degradation are the expansion of agriculture and cattle ranching, land grabbing, speculation, illegal activities such as illegal mining, timber trafficking, wildlife trafficking, and illegal crops. Also, the loss of forests is associated with uncontrolled forest fires and poorly planned infrastructure.

Therefore, it is essential to recognize the leadership of indigenous peoples and local communities in the face of climate change. In addition, we must guarantee their rights by recognizing their territories, cultural diversity, and ancestral wisdom. We need to respect their self-determination, and collective rights to lands, and provide resources access. It is essential to reduce deforestation and to support the mobilization of climate finances. Most importantly, environmental defenders must be protected and access to information, justice, and natural resources supported.

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