The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) last week launched a program called Amazonia Forever, described as a “holistic, territorial approach to accelerate the sustainable, inclusive, and resilient development of the Amazonian region.”
The plan was announced after a meeting in São Paulo between the IDB governors of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Suriname — seven of the nine countries that are home to the Amazon rainforest, along with Venezuela and French Guiana.
According to a statement by the IDB, Amazonia Forever is an umbrella program that will aim to scale up financing, share knowledge, and enhance coordination for the sustainable development of the Amazon. Its three-pronged approach will involve a platform to map financial resources for the Amazon rainforest and countries; the creation of a project-preparation facility to develop investment plans for Amazon territories; and the establishment of a network of ministers of financing and planning, as well as a technical group, to oversee the program’s work with the support of the IDB.
The regional development bank has identified a total of USD 1 billion in projects destined for the Amazon region for 2023 through different lines of financing, and hopes this new program will serve to scale up existing resources and find new sources of funding.
The program’s priority areas include the bioeconomy, local people, and sustainable agriculture and forestry, through an approach that promotes the inclusion of women, indigenous peoples, and Afro-descendants.
“We must look carefully at all aspects of the Amazon region, with people and nature at the center of our approach. There are multiple initiatives in support of the Amazon. And the IDB is the ideal conduit for donors and partners to coordinate efforts for the region. Increasing our collaboration and ambition is critical to maximizing impact,” said the IDB president, Ilan Goldfajn.
Brazil’s Planning Minister Simone Tebet signed the declaration on behalf of Brazil, as the country’s governor to the IDB. Her foreign affairs advisor, Diogo Ramos Coelho, put the meeting of the Amazon countries’ IDB governors in the context of the Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva administration’s focus on the climate agenda and efforts to spearhead regional cooperation to that end.
In August, Brazil will host a regional summit on the Amazon with all other countries that are home to the rainforest (bar French Guiana) to discuss a joint approach to fighting deforestation, attracting investment, protecting local and indigenous communities, and encouraging sustainable development.
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