The Amazon Summit, one of the greatest international events of the year, will take place in Belém, capital of the state of Pará, on August 8th and 9th.

Heads of state from all the eight countries that compose the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (Organização do Tratado de Cooperação Amazônica or OTCA) will attend the meeting: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela. Leaders from other countries interested in environmental issues involving the Amazon rainforest, such as France and Norway, are also expected to attend the event.

OTCA is the only socio-environmental group in Latin America. The organization was founded in 1995 by the signatory countries of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty (Tratado de Cooperação Amazônica or TCA), signed in 1978 by the eight Amazonian countries mentioned above.

TCA was incorporated into the Brazilian legal system through Federal Decree 85,050/80. The treaty emphasizes the importance of collaboration between Amazonian and outlines a set of actions aimed at achieving "equitable and mutually profitable results, as well as for environmental preservation, besides conservation and rational use of these territories’ natural resources" (Article I).

Among these actions, it is worth mentioning:

  • ensuring broad freedom of commercial navigation along the Amazon River and other international Amazonian rivers (Article III);
  • promoting scientific research and the exchange of information and technical personnel between the countries’ authorities (Article VII);
  • coordinating health services, with the purpose of improving the region’s sanitary conditions and improving methods of preventing and combating epidemics (Article VIII);
  • promoting studies in order to establish or improve road, river, air and telecommunications interconnections (Article X);
  • promoting measures aiming at conserving ethnological and archaeological resources located at the Amazon area (Article XIV).

The Amazon Summit reinforces TCA provisions, and its main objective is to settle a common policy intending on the region’s sustainable development, through declarations from the treaty’s member states.

For the first time, countries are seeking cooperation to enable the establishment of a unique position in global discussions concerning the Amazon region. The topics to be discussed are the main challenges in the region, including climate change, organized crime, energy transition and social development of communities.

The final statements arising from the discussions held at the Amazon Summit will be presented during the general debate of the United Nations General Assembly in September.

Shortly before the start of the summit, from August 4th to 6th, the so-called Amazon Dialogues will take place. In this period, civil society and other interested parties will have the opportunity to actively discuss new strategies for the Amazon region through seminars, debates, exhibitions, and cultural performances.

The General Secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic (SGPR) released, on June 14th, a conceptual note about the Amazon Dialogues. According to the document, the activities will be split into meetings organized by the federal government, with broad social participation, and self-organized meetings by civil society, academia, research centers and government agencies.

There will be five sessions, and reports of each of them will be produced and presented by five representatives of civil society to the leaders of the Amazonian countries during the summit.

According to the conceptual note, after several consultations with the main stakeholders (Amazonian peoples and communities), dozens of topics were identified to be discussed, such as:

  • combating and preventing deforestation, and the sustainable management and conservation of the forest;
  • climate change;
  • cooperation to prevent and combat environmental crimes in the Amazon;
  • management and restoration of the Amazon river basin;
  • cooperation between Amazonian countries;
  • the role of civil society in the sustainable development of the Amazon;
  • health and food safety;
  • combating Amazonian poverty;
  • reduction of regional inequalities;
  • challenges of gas, mining and oil projects; and
  • climate-environmental financing and favorable environment for bio-business in the Amazon.

To better organize  the Amazon Dialogues, Ordinance SG/PR 155/23 established a technical working group to “define the structure and organization of the Amazon Dialogues, mobilize civil society for the event, organizing the initiatives in seminars for debates and exhibitions.”

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change also published Ordinance MMA GM/MMA 553/23, establishing the working group to organize the Amazon Summit. It is worth mentioning the diversity of the group, composed by a representative of each of the following bodies, as determined by article 2 of the Ordinance:

  • Executive Secretariat;
  • Extraordinary National Secretariat for Deforestation Control and Territorial Environmental Planning;
  • National Secretariat for Climate Change;
  • National Secretariat for Biodiversity, Forests and Animal Rights;
  • National Secretariat of Urban Environment and Environmental Quality;
  • National Secretariat of Bioeconomy;
  • National Secretariat of Traditional Peoples and Communities and Rural Sustainable Development;
  • Brazilian Forest Service (Serviço Florestal Brasileiro or SFB);
  • Special Advisory on International Affairs;
  • Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis or Ibama);
  • Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation – Chico Mendes Institute; and
  • National Agency for Water and Basic Sanitation (Agência Nacional de Águas e Saneamento Básico or ANA).

The meeting of several participants also occurs in the preparatory phase of the event. About 140 organizations of indigenous peoples, quilombolas, traditional communities and civil society (at regional, national and international levels) sent a letter to the Amazonian countries’ presidents, to Brazilian President’s International Office, to Itamaraty, to OTCA and to the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Amazonian countries requesting, in general, “spaces for the active and effective participation of indigenous peoples, quilombolas, traditional communities and civil society in the planning and development of the Amazon Summit.”

This effective and active participation could be materialized, for instance, through:

  • autonomously appointed representatives;
  • organizations of diversified working groups, so that their proposals and opinions influence the governments determinations;
  • transparency mechanisms that allow the documents and issued reports to be public; and
  • channels to receive contributions and suggestions.

Pará gains prominence as a venue for environmental discussions

Pará is becoming increasingly important in the environmental agenda especially due to the several international events taking place in its area.

In 2021, for example, Belém hosted the World Bioeconomy Forum, becoming the first venue to host such an event outside of Finland. This year, in addition to the Amazon Summit, the 1st Amazon Environmental Judicial Summit – Judges and Forests at Pará State Court of Justice is scheduled for August. In 2025, the capital of Pará will host the 30th UN Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP 30).

The Amazon Summit is fundamental to the implementation of measures towards the region’s sustainable development. In an unprecedented move, the expectation is that the eight countries that have sovereignty over the Amazon Rainforest develop with the interested groups an agenda focused on the protection and ecological conservation of the Amazon.

As an immediate political consequence of the event, the Amazon Summit is expected to strengthen OTCA by boosting cooperation among its member states and intensifying joint actions to address the region's environmental and socio-economic challenges.