2023 has once again witnessed the devastating effects of climate change on the planet, with global temperatures hitting record highs and extreme weather events affecting people around the globe. At this COP 28, what agreements and results does the Amazonia expect?
The Amazonia, a region that hosts the world’s largest contiguous area of tropical forest and thus vital to global climate, hydrological stability and economy, is entering its fifth month of severe drought. The Río Negro, a northern Amazon tributary, fell to the lowest levels in recorded history last month. The effects of the drought are rippling through the forest. Brazil shut down its fourth-biggest hydroelectric plant. Riverside cities and towns are rationing drinking water. Key fish species have struggled to spawn, threatening local food supplies, and endangered pink dolphins have washed up dead on the riverbanks.
This drought follows damaging droughts in 2005, 2010, 2015, 2016 and 2020. Each drought, combined with ongoing deforestation, wildfires and rising temperatures, impacts the Amazon’s ability to recover and puts it closer to reach its tipping point. Should this happen, the rainforest will lose its ability to sustain itself, and we will lose a crucial life-sustaining climate regulator and experience the most severe impacts of a global climate crisis.
The time to act is now
This year’s COP (Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), held in Dubai, represents a key opportunity for world leaders to gather and take measures to increase and accelerate global climate action.
The COP 28 also marks a halfway point between two important global deadlines: 1) achieving the targets of the Paris Agreement by 2030, and 2) achieving the 17 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) by 2030. The first-ever Global Stocktake, a comprehensive assessment, was launched at COP 28 to show progress towards reaching the set climate goals, indicating the world is off-course. Therefore, the COP 28 is seen by many as an opportunity for course correction and is expected to deliver results to support both global agendas.
Finance and collective action are key to both agendas. The approaches, scope, timing, mechanisms, instruments, impact, stakeholders, and partnerships needed to mobilize climate finance will again take center stage at the COP 28. It is expected that participants in the event will respond to the Global Stocktake with a clear action plan and measures to be implemented to get it back on track.
From the Amazon Summit to the COP 28
Only a few months after its launch, the Amazonia Forever program comprises several initiatives, funds, and projects for the protection of forests and to accelerate sustainable development in the region. It has also made significant progress by bringing key local, regional and international partners to the table and commit to increasing their ambition to mobilize funding, share knowledge and achieve greater collaboration through the establishment of alliances and networks to and for the Amazon region.
During the Amazon Summit, this August, Amazon leaders gathered and signed the Belem Declaration. This landmark document contains 113 cross-cutting objectives and principles with the overall aim to relaunch and update the common agenda of cooperation between Amazon countries. To ensure the conservation, protection and ecological and sociocultural connectivity of the Amazonia, it was agreed to foster collective action to increase climate finance, improve regional coordination, reduce deforestation and shed light to key sectors that must be addressed to build a new joint vision of sustainable development for the Amazon region.
Effective solutions require enhanced collaboration and coordination to address the challenges of the Amazon region. Since the Amazon Summit, various Amazonia Forever forums, networks and related coalitions have been working to translate visions and aspirations into concrete action plans and commitments. With these in mind, the IDB is joining various government officials, experts, indigenous leaders, and newly established alliances at the COP 28 to present what has been achieved to date, discuss innovative financing mechanisms, and debate ways to increase impact for the Amazonia.
What should we expect from the COP 28: collaboration, collaboration, collaboration
At the COP 28, Amazonia Forever will showcase progress made on the different workstreams and flagship products of the program and strategically position IDB Group on issues related to Nature Finance and its Amazon agenda, while using this space to make new announcements with strategic partners to further scale up finance and impact, such as the project preparation facility in cooperation with COICA to support project proposals from indigenous peoples’ organizations or new ambitious commitments from the international cooperation sector.
The Amazonia event series will start with the Green Coalition of Development Banks’s event on ‘Green growth for the Amazonia.’ In its first appearance on the international stage, the Green Coalition will present advances in the action for the next two years, discussing opportunities and challenges to deploy resources in the Amazon region. Moving to the multilateral level, the IDB will host an event on ‘Building the Future for the Amazonia and its People,’ where joint visions will be shared, and innovative mechanisms to scale up finance for nature in the Amazon region will be discussed. This is a direct result of the recent Memorandum of Understanding signed by the presidents of both banks. In an additional event on ‘Financing a net zero, nature positive future’ with the World Bank, discussions will focus on the scale, the speed, and the impact of climate finance for nature.
This series of events will also offer insights into collaboration with key public sector representatives from the Amazon countries to strengthen regional coordination. For example, during the ‘Amazon Cities Forum,’ Amazonian Mayors will highlight the strategic role of Amazonia cities for sustainable development and raise awareness on prioritizing the urban agenda in the region. Fostering collaboration and ambition, the IDB and the Brazilian Interstate Consortium for the Sustainable Development of the Legal Amazon will be launching the Amazon Governors Consortium Action Plan.
Another vital event at the COP 28, under the Amazonia Forever Program, is being organized by COICA (Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin). The ability of indigenous peoples to live sustainably makes them critical allies in efforts to protect the Amazonia. The largest annual climate-related meeting on the planet is a timely opportunity to launch a Project Preparation Facility for Indigenous Peoples, Afro Descendants, and Traditional Communities and spotlight the urgent need to work with indigenous and afro-descendants’ organizations and upscale the financing benefiting these communities directly. Finally, following the steps of the Green Coalition, we will be launching a similar network for the Amazonian private banking sector, to mobilize additional sustainable finance for the Amazonia and the road towards the Amazonian COP 30 to the table.
It is expected that, during this COP 28, beyond the widely celebrated announcements and key discussions with key stakeholders, the IDB’s effort for greater collaboration will demonstrate the consensus that exists among key stakeholders on the need to increase impact and work together for the protection, conservation, and sustainable development of the Amazon region. Close collaboration, alliances, and partnerships, accompanied by concrete action plans, are essential to achieving common climate and sustainability goals.