Logo An Amazon Concertation
Loading Events

Pan-Amazon – Between Heaven and Earth

June 14, 2021

The future of the Amazon beyond the borders between the eight countries that make up the biome: Brazil, Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia.

The 5th plenary of the year of A Concert for the Amazon took place on June 14. With the theme “Pan-Amazon – Between Heaven and Earth”, the 5th plenary session of A Concert for the Amazon took place in June. The objective was to promote a dialogue about the challenges, opportunities, and interactions existing in the Pan-Amazon. The session had as guests the Brazilian filmmaker, Eryk Rocha; the actress, researcher and film director, Gabriela Cunha; the researcher from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), Jean-Pierre Ometto; the researcher from the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission, René Beuchle; the representative of Convervation Internatitonal (CI), Cândido Pastor; the secretary-general of the Permanent Secretariat of

Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (SP/OTCA), Alexandra Moreira López; and the coordinator of the Sustainable Development Division of ECLAC in Santiago, José Javier Gomez.

“All you white people, who live everywhere: come…come forward to listen to me. All of you today are afraid! This smoke of the epidemic has appeared. You have died. So now you have understood my thought. And your thinking, has it expanded?”

After the showing of excerpts from the film The Fall of the Sky at the opening of the plenary session, the words of the shaman Davi Kopenawa Yanomami echo, as if awaiting our responses. The filmmaker and co-director of the feature film, Gabriela Cunha says that Kopenawa’s thought is like a contemporary geopolitical force that searches for solutions for the Amazon and for ourselves. She says that the production is a response to a call from Davi Kopenawa himself. The film is based on the book of the same name, co-written by Yanomami leader and French anthropologist Bruce Albert. In the book, he asks that his words be carried as far as possible, so that white people can hear them.

Gabriela says that when she and Erik Rocha – the film’s co-director – read The Fall of Heaven in 2017, they immediately realized it could become film, because David’s thoughts are all in images and sound. For the duo, it was a true encounter of the cinema they were making with Yanomami cinema. The book, in the words of the directors, is a diagnosis and warning about a way of proceeding that needs to come to an end. And also as an invitation to another possible way, which is already there and which these peoples have been clamoring for for many years.

The meeting of the two cinemas is also reflected in the formation of the team, composed of indigenous and non-indigenous professionals. Among the indigenous people are two photographers and several production crew members, as well as Davi Kopenawa himself, who wrote the script. At the moment, the filmmakers are studying the 130 hours of material captured in order to edit it, making translations, and trying to make it financially viable to finish the work and release it.

Jean-Pierre Ometto, INPE researcher at the Large Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Program in the Amazon (LBA), during his speech, made a series of questions, among which, the legacy we will leave to future generations.

“What trajectories will allow us to perpetuate a legacy as rich and well cared for as the one we have received from traditional Amazonian communities?”

The answer lies, according to him, in the composition of all knowledge – that of the original traditional communities and that of contemporary science. The search for new solutions needs to start from this base, in which knowledge only becomes knowledge when it is shared.

The Amazon Forest has already lost 20% of its original area since the 1970s. This was the bad news brought by René Beuchle in his speech. According to the researcher, the data is part of the study published this year by the Joint Research Centre (JRC), a scientific research body that produces information to underpin the policies formulated by the European Commission, presented by him in Ispra, Italy. The research also shows that, after reaching very high annual deforestation rates, the Brazilian Legal Amazon has come to contain devastation from the mid-2000s onwards. However, from 2012 to now, a progressive and systematic increase in the areas of annual deforestation in the region has been reported. The increase was also significant in the Pan-Amazon. The annual area of forest disturbance, which considers deforestation and forest degradation together (when there is deforestation there is degradation of the surrounding forests, which does not always show up in satellite images), increased 18% in the region from 2019 to 2020, from 26,605 km2 to 31,418 km2.

Conservation International’s (CI) technical manager in Bolivia, Cándido Pastor says that indigenous peoples are an important part of the solution to the Pan-Amazon’s conservation challenges. However, we have not created mechanisms to connect the communities of these peoples to the funds, nor have we trained them in the administration and management of resources. In recent years, only 5% of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) has reached indigenous peoples’ communities in Brazil, Colombia, and Peru.

Still on the subject, building bridges between the countries of the region is the way forward for the conservation and sustainable future of the forest, according to Alexandra Moreira López, secretary-general of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (OTCA) and former environment minister of Bolivia. For her, the Amazon Cooperation Treaty, signed in 1978 by the eight countries, is still a current instrument, which should be used to promote the harmonious development of the Pan-Amazon.

The secretary believes that the formulation of natural resource management policies should not be restricted to sectoral approaches. Because isolated policies are not sufficient to respond to the complex interrelationships that naturally exist between natural resources and economic development. She believes that it is OTCA’s role to take on the challenge of creating convergence among the eight countries responsible for the world’s largest and most important river basin, so that they unite around the creation of a common policy for managing the forest’s water resources. José Javier Gomez, coordinator of the Sustainable Development Division of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in Santiago, Chile, also embraces the challenge of bringing all people to the table in order to understand together what future they want for Amazonia.

“In the various forums we held to make this assessment, the first lesson learned was that nobody has the same idea and not even a very clear idea of what exactly they want for Amazon in the long term.”

At the end of the plenary, the call of Davi Kopenawa continues to echo. We need to come closer to listen.

For more details about the event, read the article developed by Page 22.

Share This Event

  • This event has passed.


Event Category: