A Commitment to conserve the Amazon is sealed
During the recent Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 10) in Nagoya, the ministers of Amazonian countries took a historical step by committing their support to foster a new comprehensive vision for conservation in the region based on articulating the progress of the national systems of protected areas.
Because the forces behind the transformation of the Amazon extend beyond a national context and know no political frontiers, it is necessary and urgent to approach the region as a whole in order to ensure the viability of the system as a whole.
Scaling up: from National Parks to a Regional Vision for Protected Areas
In an event organized by REDPARQUES (Latin American Network for Technical Cooperation on National Parks, Other Protected Areas, and Wild Flora and Fauna) and the ACTO (Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization), ministers and authorities from Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela launched the first report of the Programme of Work in Protected Areas (PoWPA) on the Amazon biome, and committed to support the regional action plan for the 2011-2020 period.
This way, the governments of the region expect to build a regional conservation strategy upon the basis of the national systems of protected areas, for which they will have the support of REDPARQUES, the CBD Secretariat, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the ACTO and WWF’s Living Amazon initiative.
“It is a good thing to be able to count on the willingness of all the ministers. The possibility to work together is essential for the conservation of one of the most important regions in the planet. WWF has committed to support the implementation of the action plan and the joint regional efforts”, said Yolanda Kakabadse, WWF President.
During the last decades, the Directions of protected areas in Amazonian countries have not only focused on increasing the protected surface within their national territories, but also on articulating cross-border and regional cooperation efforts. In this context, the commitment and political support of national authorities is critical, as it will allow the strengthening of technical cooperation for conservation work.
“We hope to work together on this regional initiative for the Amazon’s conservation”, said Izabella Teixeira, Brazilian Minister of Environment. “We must acknowledge the progress made so far, which has yielded impressive results. The international community has to recognize the importance of this work and provide the necessary financial support for it to continue”, she concluded.
Natural protected areas are a key tool in any sustainable development and conservation strategy. In this regard, the national systems of protected areas in the nine countries that share the Amazon symbolize a great progress on a global level, since they cover more than 20% of the region’s total area, without accounting for the 26% made up of indigenous territories and others, which also contribute to the conservation of local biodiversity.
The commitment shown by the Amazonian countries has a global significance, given that almost 80% of all protected areas created in the world between 2003 and 2009 are located within the Amazon biome; this has been recognized as one of the most important results of biodiversity conservation in the last decade, according to the third edition of the “Global Perspective on Biological Diversity” report.