FIVE EMERGENCY MEASURES TO FIGHT THE DEFORESTATION CRISIS IN THE AMAZON
Amazon Forest destruction reached 10,129 km² between August 2018 and July 2019, an increase of 34% over the previous period. In 2020, official data point to a new high, at a similar level. This scenario is accompanied by an increase in violence, forest fires, the expansion of irregular mining, the growth of public land grabbing and other illegal activities, especially invasions of indigenous lands and protected areas.
Among the reasons for this situation is the irresponsible stance adopted by the President of Brazil, who has embraced a perverse and overtly anti-environmental and anti-indigenous agenda, attacking the Constitution itself. As a consequence, investors and international companies threaten to withdraw their business from Brazil, which would intensify the current economic crisis and threaten jobs, aggravating the country's inequality and poverty.
In the past, Brazil was able to reduce the rate of deforestation in the Amazon and, at the same time, promote an increase in agricultural production and exports, generating jobs and economic growth. The current government, however, does not appear to have any interest or capability to follow this path. Its actions are based on fallacious measures and advertising campaigns that try to mask the reality of the facts. Not even sending military forces to the Amazon has generated effective results.
The solution to the current crisis will not come from the adoption of theatrical measures. The organizations that subscribe this letter understand that rigorous actions are needed to face such acute crisis. Below are five emergency lines of action that we believe should be implemented as soon as possible*:
1. Moratorium on deforestation in the Amazon.
- Prohibition of any deforestation in the Amazon for at least five (5) years, with exceptions made for subsistence agriculture and practices of traditional populations, smallholder agriculture, sustainable forestry, works of public utility and national security issues.
2. Increased penalties for environmental crimes and deforestation.
- Increase in penalties for illegal deforestation and for the actions of those who order and finance environmental and land crimes, as well as illegal invasion and commercialization of public lands.
- Creation of a task force to suppress land crimes, especially land grabbing and invasion of public lands.
- Creation of a task force to ensure the eviction of invaders and the cessation of all illegal activities in territories occupied by traditional peoples and communities, mainly indigenous lands and the surrounding areas, such as land grabbing, deforestation, theft of wood, mining, livestock and illegal mining.
- Immediate freezing of assets of the country's 100 biggest forest offenders.
- Extreme rigor in the application of the provisions of t he Environmental Crimes Law (Law No. 9,605/1998 and Decree No. 6,514/2008), including the banning of violators and the destruction of equipment used in the practice of environmental crimes.
3. Immediate resumption of PPCDAm - Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Deforestation in the Legal Amazon
- Immediate resumption of the government measures and actions provided for in the four axes of the PPCDAm (Land and Territorial Planning; Monitoring and Control; Promotion of Sustainable Productive Activities; Economic and Regulatory Instruments). This resumption would need to include guaranteed resources, targets, timetables and detailed implementation plans, with transparent accountability and social participation.
4. Demarcation of indigenous and quilombola lands and creation, regularization and protection of Conservation Units.
- Immediate Presidential recognition decrees for indigenous lands that have already been demarcated.
- Immediate demarcation of indigenous areas whose processes are pending actions to be taken by the Federal Government.
- Protection of all indigenous lands, regardless of their regularization stage, with special attention to lands occupied by peoples in voluntary isolation or those subject to recent contact.
- Implementation and effective consolidation of the conservation units (such as parks, national forests, and extractive reserves) that have already been created.
- Creation of conservation units covering 10 million hectares, according to the map of priority conservation areas, integrated management sites and new strategic areas for the conservation of biodiversity and combating deforestation.
- Issuing of property titles to those who live in quilombola (maroon) territories. Recognition and regularization of quilombola territories that have been subject to claims.
5. Restructuring of Ibama, ICMBio and Funai.
- Restoring the institutional powers and authority of Ibama and ICMBio, so that they can resume their role in the fight against deforestation and environmental crimes.
- Urgently holding competitive examinations to hire environmental agents for Ibama and ICMBio, primarily in environmental inspection activities.
- Replacement of the managers of the three agencies, who are not technically qualified to occupy such positions, by specialized personnel.
- Restitution of Funai's institutional responsibilities, aimed at protecting and promoting indigenous rights, mainly related to the demarcation and protection of indigenous lands.
* These emergency measures must be implemented without prejudice to structural policies, such as programs and projects aimed at the achievement of sustainable development, the resumption of the activities of the Amazon Fund and of the Climate Fund, pacts with the productive sector and the reinforcement of green investments, most of which are already included in the PPCDAm itself.
- Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Brasil - APIB
- Observatório do Clima
- Coordenação Nacional de Articulação das Comunidades Negras Rurais Quilombolas – CONAQ
- Articulação Nacional de Agroecologia - ANA
- Conselho Nacional de Seringueiros - CNS
- Central Única dos Trabalhadores - CUT
- Associação Brasileira de Organizações não Governamentais - ABONG
- Fórum Brasileiro de ONGs e Movimentos Sociais para o Meio Ambiente e o Desenvolvimento - FBOMS
- Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra - MST
- Grupo Carta de Belém
- Rede Brasileira de Educação Ambiental - REBEA
- Rede GTA - Grupo de Trabalho Amazônico
- GT Infraestrutura
- Instituto Socioambiental - ISA
- WWF Brasil
- Instituto de Estudos Socioeconômicos - INESC
- Instituto do Homem e Meio Ambiente da Amazônia - Imazon
- Instituto de Manejo e Certificação Florestal e Agrícola - Imaflora
- FASE - Solidariedade e Educação
- Projeto Hospitais Saudáveis
- Uma gota no oceano
- SOS Amazonas
- Instituto de Desenvolvimento Sustentável da Amazônia - Idesam
- Mater Natura
- APREC - Ecossistemas Costeiros
- Instituto Democracia e Sociedade - IDS
- Instituto Centro de Vida - ICV
- Instituto Internacional de Educação do Brasil - IIEB
- Amigos da Terra - Amazônia Brasileira
- Projeto Saúde e Alegria
- Grupo de Estudos em Educação e Meio Ambiente - GEEMA
- Rede de Educadores Ambientais da Baixada de Jacarepaguá
- Elo RJ - Rede de Mulheres Ambientalistas da América Latina
- Comitê Chico Mendes
- Terra de Direitos
- Memorial Chico Mendes
- Associação Etnoambiental Kanindé
- Defensores do Planeta
- Associação Agroecologia Tijupá
- Argonautas Ambientalistas da Amazônia (Belém-PA)
- Rede de Educação Ambiental e Políticas Públicas - REAPOP (Nacional)
- Teko Porã Amazônia (Belém-PA)
- Amazon Watch
- Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas
- Greenpeace Brasil
- Rede de Educação Ambiental da Bahia - REABA
- Associação Cultural APA Itacaré Serra Grande
- Associação Alternativa Terrazul
- Toxisphera - Associação de Saúde Ambiental
- Associação de Defesa do Meio Ambiente de Araucária - AMAR
- Movimento SOS Cerrado
- Rede de Educação Ambiental do Paraná
- International Rivers
- Rede de Educação Ambiental da Costa Verde
- Rede de Educação Ambiental do RJ - REARJ
- Operação Amazônia Nativa - OPAN
- Fundação Amazônia Sustentável - FAS