IDB, other int’l stakeholders pledge to strengthen cooperation to protect Amazon region
Under the Amazon Forever initiative, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) along with its European members, Amazon countries and international organisations have committed to strengthen cooperation to protect the forested region.
Amazon Forever is an IDB umbrella programme for the sustainable development of the region, which aims to work together on forest and climate conservation and to improve people’s quality of life, offering economic alternatives.
Guyana is one of seven beneficiary countries under this initiative, which focuses on fighting deforestation; the bioeconomy; people; sustainable cities, infrastructure and connectivity; and sustainable low-carbon agriculture, livestock and forestry.
On Friday, IDB President Ilan Goldfajn, and the First Vice President and Minister of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation of Spain, Nadia Calviño, co-chaired a meeting of Ministers and representatives of Amazon countries, European member countries of the IDB, donors and international organisations that presented the framework for the Amazonia Forever programme. The meeting took place during the Informal Meeting of the Ministers of Economic and Financial Affairs of the European Union (ECOFIN), under the Spanish presidency of the EU Council.
In addition to agreeing to strengthen cooperation for the conservation of the Amazon, the participants also pledged to improve the quality of life of its inhabitants, working under the holistic Amazonia Forever framework.
In this context, the IDB President announced the creation of a digital platform of partners for the Amazon that will promote transparency, knowledge-sharing and coordination of financing efforts by public, private and international donors.
Participants underscored the importance of collaboration and financial innovation to increase financing and enhance the impact of efforts to preserve the Amazon.
The meeting highlighted the Amazonia Forever programme’s milestones to date, including the creation of various meeting points between key actors in the region. These include the Network of Amazonian Ministers of Finance and Planning; the Amazon Cities Forum; the Green Coalition, which brings together 20 national development banks; and a partnership with the governors of the Brazilian Amazon, which will enable mobilisation of resources at the subnational level.
Call to action
President Goldfajn issued a call to action: “In the face of growing scientific consensus on the scope of an ecological tipping point in the Amazon, we need to be mindful of the timing and intensify the impact of our actions. For this, strategic alliances are key, not only at the Amazon level, but also with global partners, such as those of us here today, and in other initiatives, such as our recent announcement with the World Bank to develop joint projects in the Amazon.”
Vice President Calviño stressed that “Caring for the Amazon is a global responsibility because of its fundamental impact on the fight against climate change, on water and air quality, and on the prosperity of the entire planet. Spain has shown its firm commitment to Latin America and the Caribbean and to the sustainable development of the Amazon region. As one of the main donors to the IDB’s Amazonia Forever umbrella programme, we want to contribute to its development by supporting the fight against deforestation, the promotion of sustainable economic growth, and the reduction of the education and gender gap in the region.”
The meeting was attended by Ministers, Amazon donors and other representatives, including from the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organisation (ACTO), the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the World Bank, the European Commission, the European Investment Bank, and CAF – Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean. During the dialogue, the leaders shared their visions and perspectives.
European Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, said: “A key takeaway of the EU-CELAC summit this July is that protecting the flora, fauna and the Indigenous people across the Amazon Basin is a top priority. The European Union welcomes the launch of Amazonia Forever which is strongly aligned with our Team Europe Initiatives in the region. We are working together to safeguard the region’s unique ecosystem and traditions and allow for whole communities to flourish. Through Global Gateway, the EU will support our Amazon partner countries in tackling climate change and deforestation.”
“As the current president of the Amazon Network of Ministries of Finance and Planning, Brazil applauds the remarkable progress made by the Amazonia Forever programme and is ready to foster a strong, collaborative effort in the preservation of the Amazon and the implementation of the Belém Declaration,” said Brazil’s Minister of Planning and Budget, Simone Nassar Tebet.
Sigrid Kaag, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, also representing Switzerland and the United Kingdom, welcomed Amazonia Forever and said her country “is proud to be one of its anchor donors. Action is necessary. This programme will help expand funding and enhance regional cooperation and support Amazon countries in fulfilling their ambition to avoid the point of no return for the Amazon.”
Niels Annen, Parliamentary State Secretary of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, said in a message before the meeting: “We support and celebrate the launching and implementation plans of the Amazonia Forever programme of the IDB as an umbrella for coordination and collaboration. We are committed to contribute to it and to join efforts to increase ambition by partnering with IDB as catalysers of financing at scale.”
Verónica Galméz, GCF’s Deputy Director of Mitigation and Adaptation said, “The window of opportunity to prevent the Amazon from becoming a giant savannah is closing fast. We need all hands on deck. Amazonia Forever offers just that: a partnership at the regional level that offers customised solutions for everyone, from supporting Indigenous peoples’ rights, knowledge and businesses, to aligning blended finance with sustainability. The countries of the Amazon can count on the Green Climate Fund to accompany them at every step of the way, just as we have done since our first project in 2015.”
Meanwhile, during the meeting, the President of the IDB and the Secretary General of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organisation (ACTO), Alexandra Moreira, signed a collaboration agreement to jointly advocate for more equitable and inclusive development of the Amazon, including environmental protection, institutional strengthening of ACTO, promotion of sustainable cities, protection of water resources, and support for the development of science, technology and innovation, having the IDB as a crucial economic and financial implementation arm for the objectives of ACTO and its members.
“Today, we mark a crucial milestone in our collective mission to foster strong and meaningful cooperation among Amazonian countries to promote the implementation – crucially, with the help of the IDB – of the commitments set out by the Presidents in the Belém Declaration. We are excited about the possibility of closer cooperation with a key partner like the IDB, within the framework of the Amazonia Forever programme,” said Moreira.