A summit of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO) held in Brazil on August 8 ended without a consensus among eight South American countries on a common goal to combat deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. This outcome is a significant concern as the Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest, plays a crucial role in mitigating the climate crisis. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva proposed a regional policy to end deforestation by 2030, emphasizing the urgency of cooperation due to the worsening climate crisis.
The ACTO member states, including Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Guyana, and Suriname, did sign the Declaration of Belém, outlining environmental efforts to address deforestation. The declaration established the Amazon Alliance to Fight Deforestation among States Parties, with the goal of preventing the Amazon region from reaching an irreversible tipping point. The alliance aims to achieve national goals, including zero deforestation and the elimination of illegal logging.
However, the failure to agree on a unified approach to halting deforestation in the Amazon is alarming, given the forest’s significance in biodiversity preservation and maintaining global climate balance. The Amazon stores substantial carbon and influences weather patterns worldwide. Data revealed a more than 70% increase in deforestation during President Jair Bolsonaro’s tenure. Approximately 75% of the rainforest is displaying signs of “resilience loss,” hindering its ability to recover from disturbances.
Although Brazil recently reported a 66% decline in deforestation compared to last year, the rainforest remains highly vulnerable. The lack of consensus among ACTO member states raises concerns about the future of the Amazon and its critical role in tackling the climate crisis.