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Wilson Center Brazil Institute Report Urges Major Investments in the Amazon to Spur Conservation

WASHINGTON- The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholar’s Brazil Institute urges dramatic action to slow deforestation in the Amazon, including a substantial increase in funding for conservation and concerted effort to create jobs in sustainable industries in the sub-region –one of the poorest in Brazil. These recommended changes will be detailed in a soon-to-be-released report, authored by the Brazil Institute in consultation with the working group of the Brazil-U.S. Dialogue on Sustainability and Climate Change. 

Rising deforestation in the Amazon is generating intense international scrutiny, particularly as governments, businesses, and civil society groups press to implement the ambitious pledges of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow. Tropical forests will play an essential role in limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and preventing catastrophic climate impacts.

To examine Brazil’s role in addressing the climate crisis and how the international community can be supportive, the Brazil Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars launched the Brazil-U.S. Dialogue on Sustainability and Climate Change in July 2021 in partnership with Uma Concertação Pela Amazônia, a network of 250 organizations committed to sustainable development in the Brazilian Amazon.

The dialogue involved discussions on Brazil-U.S. cooperation to reduce carbon emissions, finance tropical forest conservation, promote sustainable agriculture, and build partnerships with indigenous communities. It produced a range of urgent recommendations:

•    Deforestation will continue if the people of the Amazon are deprived of social services and jobs in sustainable industries. With poverty rates in the Brazilian Amazon nearly double the national average, forest conservation will depend upon providing economic alternatives for local communities.

•    There is a fundamental gap between the scale of deforestation and the financing available to address it. Efforts to attract and coordinate greater private and public capital are essential, including by facilitating access for national and subnational governments to private credit through voluntary carbon markets.

•    Engagement with local Amazonian communities, civil society organizations, and regional and local public officials should be prioritized, especially Indigenous organizations.

Notes to editors:

1.    The Wilson Center provides a strictly nonpartisan space for the worlds of policymaking and scholarship to interact. By conducting relevant and timely research and promoting dialogue from all perspectives, it works to address the critical current and emerging challenges confronting the United States and the world. 

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