Amazon Presidents Summit & Finance

The Declaration of the Amazon Presidents, who met in Belém between August 8th and 9th, lacked much needed ambition on phasing out fossil fuels exploitation in the Amazon, as well as on achieving Zero Deforestation.

On finance, the Declaration also lacked clear targets, roadmaps and timelines. It calls on developed countries to meet their commitments of mobilizing $100 billion per year in climate finance and it encourages more coordination on the implementation of public policies, and on channeling funding, towards the implementation of actions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (points 35 and 37).

Furthermore, it invites the development banks that operate in the region to coordinate more and to create a Green Coalition, which should promote financial solutions to promote sustainable enterprises (point 82). But the document falls short on calling for a restriction on (subsidized) finance for destructive activities.

In contrast, the Declaration of the Peoples of the Land, which was issued at the start of the summit, has a very clear call for “Governments of the Global North as well as public and private financial institutions to stop subsidizing, providing credit and investing in projects that destroy the Amazon, and instead direct these resources to the well being of indigenous peoples and of nature.” It highlights that “the financing for companies that deforest the Amazon is dozens of times greater than the funds that are intended to be used to stop deforestation.”

The chapter on Direct, transparent, participatory financing and not to commercialize the Amazon, provides additional details on the civil society proposals around financing for the Amazon. Among others, it stresses that:

(…) the main appeal of the Summit of Presidents of the Amazon should be to the governments and banks of the European Union, the United Kingdom, the United States, China and their own countries to stop financing agricultural companies, mining, oil, energy, transportation and mega-infrastructure builders that are destroying the Amazon. Financing for the Amazon must begin by  reducing financing or disinvesting in activities and companies that cause the devastation of the Amazon. No financing for the devastation of the Amazon should be tolerated. Banks must have robust control systems that guarantee that they will not finance illegal activities.