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The Amazon and the 2022 Elections
Themed “The Amazon and the 2022 Elections”, the first Amazon Concertation network meeting of the year was held on February 14, gathering nearly 180 attendees. The art that inspired the meeting and is now displayed on our website - and will also be present in the initiative's communication material in this next period - was created by Raiz Campos, a graffiti artist born in Bahia, but “raised in the Amazon”, as he puts it. matters discussed at the event to the communities. He reinforced the importance of different sectors of society joining forces to build solutions for the area.

To open the dialogue, a video message by photographer Sebastião Salgado, produced while he was launching his exhibition “Amazônia” in São Paulo, set the tone for the conversation: “Today we are on the threshold of new elections. We have the great hope that the new candidates will have a concern for the Amazon biome, with a sustainable economic development project for the Amazon”. He highlighted the opportunity represented by the Concertação to bring the voices of the Amazon and about the Amazon to a large number of Brazilians, asking everyone to vote for the Amazon.

Moderated by journalist Fernando Gabeira, the debate began with Arthur Aguillar, director of the Institute of Studies for Health Policies (IEPS), who cited data on health in the Amazon and highlighted that the region is losing positions compared to the rest of Brazil in terms of life expectancy, an indicator compromised by three main factors: the growth of cases of endemic diseases, affecting childhood; the increase in the number of homicides and violent deaths among young people; and the increase in cases of chronic diseases among the 50+ population. For the IEPS, there is great relevance in highlighting the issue of health in the Amazon in electoral debates, since, in addition to being a human right guaranteed in our Constitution, the topic is the main concern of the region’s population and tends to bring good results for candidates.

Next, Priscila Cruz, president of Todos Pela Educação, underlined the connections and interdependence between all relevant themes for the electoral debate on the Amazon, defending the elaboration of an integrated and articulated agenda to be taken to voters and candidates.

Denis Minev, CEO of Bemol, stressed that from an economic point of view, the year 2022 will bring large volumes of financial resources in federal transfers of various types, which may represent a risk of improving the current government’s evaluation before voters. . For him, the decline in health, education and other indicators originates from poverty and feeds back on crime.

Karina Penha, mobilizer of NOSSAS (Organization of Human and Socio-environmental Rights) and participant of the GT Juventudes da Concertação, pondered that there are different young people, different Amazons and different “Brazils”; and that, for many of these youths, the most basic rights still have to be achieved. Her optimism lies in the perception that in democratic environments such as the Concertação, young people are seen as part of the solution. The challenge is: how to mobilize it? Her proposal is to seek a broad agenda that can represent the different expectations of different youths.

Laura Waisbich, from the Igarapé Institute, drew attention to the need to understand the issue of security from a multidimensional perspective. According to studies by this organization, uncontrolled deforestation also amplifies public insecurity. Illicit activities feed an ecosystem of criminality, financed by economies that are not always in the Amazon. She expressed concern about the eloquent increase in the number of registrations of weapons, police operations and violent crime flagrants, emphasizing that these circumstances make it pertinent to propose to candidates, at all levels of the federation, agendas and goal plans that include the issue of environmental and socio-environmental crimes.

To close this stage of the meeting, the graffiti artist Raiz Campos spoke of his bonds and experiences in the Amazon, expressing the conviction that culture and art raise awareness and bring the themes discussed at the event into the communities. He reinforced the importance of joining forces from different sectors of society in building solutions for the region.

Then, the debate with the other participants was carried out. Among the highlights of speech, some messages stood out such as corruption linked to deforestation in the territory; vulnerability and violence rates in the region higher than the rest of the country; the importance of the business sector in generating income and new businesses for the local population; and the need for a concrete development plan for the Amazon for the first hundred days of the transitional government. Still: the relevance of having the Amazon at the center of the electoral debate and also of mobilizing voters to vote for the Amazon.

From the point of view of political articulation, it was considered that, in addition to paying attention to the executive branch, the network should also pay attention to the composition of the legislature, since there is a lack of representatives in parliament looking at this agenda. The group stressed that the Amazon is the most important topic for the international community and needs to be at the center of the new government’s foreign policy.

Adding to all this, payment for environmental services and the creation of a national carbon market to finance changes was also considered essential in the territory’s sustainable development process.

Finally, it was pointed out that 2022 could be a high-risk year for environmental activists and that it is important to prioritize urgent issues such as the fight against deforestation and land grabbing. To do so, it will often be necessary to “literate” leaders and their teams about the Amazon, creating alliances with those who operate legally in the region.

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