Amazon Protected Areas, Indigenous Lands and Biodiversity



Posted on 01 September 2012  | 
A picture of achievements and new challenges
International events bring opportunities for the Amazon

Tropical forests play a major role in storage of carbon regulating the world´s climate system, maintaining water fluxes and conserving biodiversity, providing important services to the world, besides the importance of the local societies.

This is superlative in the Amazon region –that encompasses 6.7 million Km2 in nine countries and contains the largest continuous rainforest on Earth–, to which conservation and sustainable development the protected areas play an important role to guarantee the maintenance of ecosystems and their services, including in climate change mitigation and adaptation, besides protecting biodiversity and being important to the local societies.

In the coming months, important international events will give the opportunity to highlight the importance of the Amazon biome to the world and WWF efforts for its conservation.

In the IUCN World Conservation Congress (WCC) –from 6 to 15 September 2012, in Jeju (Korea)– and the 11th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD CoP-11) –from 8 to 19 October 2012, in Hyderabad (India)– important discussions will happen regarding future of the Amazon, related to its potential to sustainable development, biodiversity, and the role of the protected areas, and Indigenous Peoples lands.

Moreover, some of them represent a (pan)-Amazon Vision or strategy building with key social actors. WWF –through Living Amazon Initiative (LAI), in partnership with other organizations– has its own vision and strategy towards an integrated conservation approach that considers the whole biogeographical domain as a single ecological functioning entity, to support the sustainable development of the Amazon Countries and Amazon societies. But, mostly, WWF LAI is interested in working with others, and has been contributing consistently to support the development and implementation of the pan-Amazon Ecosystem-based Conservation Vision and support the building of a Conservation Strategy for the Amazon Indigenous Peoples Territories.

World Conservation Congress

During the World Conservation Congress, discussions will happen around the major contributions of Amazon Indigenous Peoples Territories to nature conservation and the need to guarantee their permanence in their territories and their culture.

The workshop promoted by Coordination of Indigenous Organizations in the Amazon (COICA), WWF and IUCN, on September 11th, in Jeju, Korea aims to strengthen alliances, advance in developing a strategy, demonstrate their contribution to conservation, increase support to them and create the conditions to consolidate Amazon Indigenous Peoples Territories, as well as recognise indigenous management models as examples of effective conservation for the Amazon.

“The WWF Living Amazon Initiative is committed to the Amazon and its people, supporting the allies of conservation and sustainable development, and respecting the rights of local communities and Indigenous Peoples”, said Claudio Maretti, WWF Living Amazon Initiative leader. Also in the World Conservation Congress, WWF and partners will be promoting further the relation with other organisations in defence of human rights and conservation.

Convention on Biological Diversity

The Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, with its Aichi Targets, the strategy to mobilise resources for its implementation, and the Nagoya Protocol represent an effective global roadmap to halt biodiversity loss by 2020. Those were decided in the CBD CoP-10, Nagoya. Now, in the 11th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), it is time to show how countries are preparing to implement them, particularly how to bring the resources needed to achieve the Aichi Targets.

“The CBD CoP-11 is an excellent opportunity to show how concrete actions and decisions are mobilising regions, as the Amazon, governments, as Brazil and Colombia, and societies, as the Amazon Indigenous Peoples, in strategies for Aichi Targets implementation and to check how them will be funded”, stated Maretti.

In his opinion, Aichi Targets are considered global targets on biodiversity, not only of this Convention, should be also considered at the regional level (such as in the Pan-Amazon region) and started to be linked more strongly to the development of the Sustainable Development Goals.

One of good examples of how regional efforts can contribute significantly in this road is the Amazon Ecosystem-based Conservation Vision, an innovative and effective way to implement the CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas and contribute to the Aichi Targets. The progress in the implementation of its Action Plan, enabling Amazon to continue its ecosystem services to the world. Those advances will be presented in the WCC, to promote further engagement of IUCN Members, Commissions and Secretariat, and during the CBD CoP-11, as a way to keep the international community well informed.

The new initiative “Commitment to the Amazon; ARPA for Life”, willing to capture sufficient funds to ensure permanent financing for the protection of 40 million hectares representing 10% of the area of the Brazilian Amazon will also be presented during the CBD CoP-11.

This initiative was officially launched at the Rio+ 20 and the target set is to raise an amount somewhere between US$ 100 million and US$ 200 million from bilateral, multilateral and private donors inside and outside of Brazil, in addition to resources from the Amazon Fund. To strengthen and complement ARPA, the amount raised will form a transition fund to be managed under public-private governance and to be used up over a period of 25 to 30 years. With this effort, the goal is to guarantee the conservation of Amazon’s ecosystem representation, and support its sustainable development.

Social engagement

Brazilian Government, WWF and partners will also present during the CBD CoP-11 the process to develop the “Brazilian Aichi Targets”.

"One of the most interesting processes for the involvement of society in the definition of the biodiversity targets for the period 2011-2020 is “Dialogues on Biodiversity; building Brazilian strategy to 2020” , involving different sectors of society ", evaluates Maretti.

Dialogues on Biodiversity promoted the engagement of different sectors of Brazilian society and allow now the Government’s definition on a legal instrument and action plan. “What was developed should also be well used in the negotiations about the funding for the implementation of global biodiversity strategy, during the CBD CoP-11, in Hyderabad, India”, conclude Maretti.

Before the end of the year, a new CoP of UNFCCC will happen. “So far, the Amazon and its countries, particularly Brazil, have presented to the world with the most important reduction of greenhouse gases emission, due to reduction of deforestation, and holds huge stock of carbon. How much should we wait yet until the ecosystems and their services are properly considered and financially supported”, asked Maretti, from WWF Living Amazon Initiative.

About 100.000 km of streams in the Amazon create conditions, carry and constantly transform life in the region.
© Aciya – Camilo Guido Enlarge

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