Companies, collectives, the civil society, and indigenous peoples' organizations signed on Tuesday an open letter in support of the Amazon21 Act, a USD 9 billion fund being discussed by the US Congress to tackle deforestation in developing countries. The resources were announced by US President Joe Biden in November 2021, during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26), in Glasgow, and will be discussed this week at a hearing of the House of Representatives' Foreign Affairs Committee.

Signatories of the text also recommend that the Amazon21 Act should result in a transparent governance framework, with strong involvement of civil society and amenable to projects submitted by governments, the academia, the third and the private sectors. The priority group for receiving the resources, however, must be the forest peoples, whose livelihoods are directly affected by the escalating deforestation in the Amazon.

The letter was sent to:

  • US President Joe Biden;
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken;
  • Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (Democrat);
  • Majority Leader of the House of Representatives and author of the bill Steny Hoyer (Democrat);
  • House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks (Democrat);
  • House Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Michael McCaul (Republican);
  • Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (Democrat); and
  • Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member James Risch (Republican).

Read the full letter below:

We, the undersigned organizations from Brazilian society, hereby represented by civil entities, the private sector, indigenous organizations, and traditional communities, supports the approval of the America Mitigating and Achieving Zero-Emissions Originating from Nature for the 21st Century Act (AMAZON21 Act), which authorizes the creation of a USD 9 billion trust fund for the US State Department to engage in long-term bilateral agreements to tackle deforestation in developing countries. We consider that such measure would represent an important expression of commitment by President Biden and the U.S. Congress regarding the fight against climate change by targeting one of the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions.

Brazil accounts for nearly two thirds of the Amazon rainforest, the largest tropical forest in the world. Over 75% of the forest has lost its resilience since the beginning of the 21st century, according to a study published in March in the Nature Climate Change journal, which brings the biome closer to its tipping point. Nevertheless, according to the Global Forest Watch platform, Brazil accounted for 40% of all primary tropical forest loss in the world in 2021. Between August 2020 and July 2021, the biome lost more than 13.2 thousand km², according to the National Institute for Space Research (PRODES/INPE in Portuguese acronym), an increase of 22% compared to the previous 12 months, and the highest rate recorded since 2006.

In a document developed by more than 200 scientists, the Scientific Panel for Amazonia warned that nearly 17% of the Amazon forests have been converted to other uses and at least another 17% have been degraded. This loss could compromise the biome's role in global water cycles and the regulation of climate variability, in addition to hastening its savannization process. The allocation of international resources, therefore, is crucial to avoid the collapse of our forest ecosystems.

We understand that it is essential to develop a global instrument that supports the efforts for forest conservation. For such a mechanism to be efficient and of great impact, we take the liberty of indicating some principles for its efficient and effective operationalization. Here are the following: 

  • To establish a simple and transparent financing system, with broad governance and the involvement of civil society;
  • To establish clear rules that are amenable to projects conceived by all spheres of government, communities, third sector organizations, the academia, and the private sector;
  • Allocate resources based on results, especially regarding the standing forest maintenance;
  • Prioritize direct access to funds for forest peoples, who are historically contributing to its conservation and whose livelihoods are directly affected by the escalating deforestation. 

We remain at your disposal to contribute in any way needed for the AMAZON21 Act to achieve efficient results, leading to the standing forest maintenance, and ensuring the quality of life of the Amazonians, thereby benefiting the global community.

 

Sincerely,

Agropalma

Amata

Arapyaú Institute

Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture

Brazilian Institute of Corporate Governance

BVRio

CBKK S/A

Climate Observatory

Climate Policy Initiative

Conselho Nacional das Populações Extrativistas (CNS) [National Council of Extractivist Populations]

Coordenação das Organizações Indígenas da Amazônia Brasileira (Coiab) [Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon]

Fama Investimentos [Fama Investments]

Fundação Brasileira para o Desenvolvimento Sustentável (FBDS) [Brazilian Foundation for Sustainable Development]

Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazônia (IPAM) [Amazon Environmental Research Institute]

Instituto Democracia e Sustentabilidade (IDS) [Democracy and Sustainability Institute]

Instituto Ethos de Empresas e Responsabilidade Social [Ethos Institute of Business and Social Responsibility]

Institute for Climate and Society (iCS)

Instituto Socioambiental (ISA) [Socio-Environmental Institute]

Kanindé Ethnoenvironmental Defense Association

Observatório do Código Florestal [Forest Code Observatory]

Rede Mulher Florestal [Forest Women Network]

Solidaridad Brasil Foundation

Talanoa Institute