Amazon Nations Gather in Brazil to Save Rainforest

Leaders of eight South American nations that share the Amazon rainforest convene a two-day summit in Brazil Tuesday to reach a broad agreement on preserving the critical region.

The meeting of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization in Belem, capital of the Amazon state of Para, takes place as more than ten percent of the rainforest has been lost in recent decades due to unregulated cattle ranching and farming, illegal mining and logging and oil drilling.  Much of the loss is in Brazil, which is home to two-thirds of the rainforest.  

The Amazon region has been described as a “carbon sink” that can easily absorb pollution from emissions, making it a vital resource in reducing the effects of climate change. Scientists say the loss of between 20% and 25% of the Amazon region would be a “tipping point” that would transform it into a source of carbon emissions.  

The ACTO member nations, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, Venezuela and host, Brazil, are expected to announce a pledge Tuesday  

to end deforestation by 2030 and a joint effort to crack down on illegal mining and logging.

The summit – the first since 2009 for the 28-year-old organization – was part of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s campaign platform last year in which he pledged that “Brazil is back” in the fight against climate change after a period of surging destruction in the Amazon under his far-right predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro. 

The meeting will also serve as something of a dress rehearsal for the COP30 U.N. climate talks, which will be held in Belem in 2025. 

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse.

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