Illustrated by the art of the young Amazonian artist Antônio II, who currently inspires the visual identity of the Concertation networks, the Meeting was opened by Renata Piazzon, director of Climate Change at Instituto Arapyaú and executive secretary of the Concertation. She stressed that, this year, the initiative is focused on discussing the insertion of Amazonian issues in the October elections, with the challenge of developing an programmatic agenda that brings the Amazon as a solution and promotes its development from a perspective of interdependence between different themes; in addition to a new governance for the region in synergy with democratic systems. The network must submit a set of feasible proposals that can be implemented in the first 100 days of government by the federal, subnational executive and the national congress.

Education and security in figures

Moving forward with the analysis of the central themes, Lívia Pagotto, knowledge and advocacy manager at Instituto Arapyaú, provided some figures on education and security, taken from platform Legal Amazon in Data. The region’s gap in education was exposed by indicators such as appropriate learning and age-grade distortion, as well as the slower evolution of other indicators compared to the rest of the country. In regard to security, Lívia emphasized the worsening of indicators with the increase in rates such as homicide, youth homicide, violence against women and domestic violence against children and youth.

Mediated by actress and cultural producer Karla Martins (Mídia Ninja/Casa Ninja Amazônia), the Meeting moved forward with the panelists’ presentations. On the topic of education, Katia Smole (Instituto Reúna) and Binho Marques (former Governor of Acre) raised new issues to be discussed. 

“There is a gap between what is being discussed here and what education managers are thinking”

Katia Smole exposed the preliminary results of the diagnosis of High School in the Amazon, by Instituto Reúna, and the challenges posed for the ongoing curriculum change, showing updated statistical data on enrollment, school dropout rate, lack of places in school for students from rural areas and lack of employment prospects for young people. She also highlighted the distance between policymakers and public administrators on the one hand, and teachers and advisors on the other, emphasizing the need for dialogue in order for the goals of the new secondary education to be attained. 

“Articulation between education, culture and communication among the highlighted actions in Acre”

Binho Marques, former governor of Acre, focused his speech on the educational reform implemented during his administration (1999-2010), which had 4 strategic goals: modernizing management, valuing teachers, rectifying age-grade distortion and improving the school diagnostic assessment system; reaching excellent results in education indicators in the state. 

“We have to rethink governance in the Amazon”

On the subject of security, Renato Sérgio de Lima, professor at FGV (Getúlio Vargas Foundation) and vice president of the Brazilian Forum on Public Security, presented data from the study “Cartographies of Violence in the Amazon Region”. The work shows that, unlike the rest of Brazil, crime rates in the Amazon are worsening, especially in areas under pressure from deforestation. For Professor Lima, security goes beyond the criminal scope and should be seen as a constitutional right. And, from a political point of view, security is not only about power struggles over a territory, but also about human lives and the environment. Therefore, the subject is part of a wide-ranging process of promoting citizenship.

“In the Amazon, there is a regulatory weakness in place”

Subsequently, Deputy Federal Attorney General, Mr. Alexandre Camanho, addressed gold mining in the Amazon and its relationship with crime. Although it is a business and industrial undertaking, in his perspective, the activity is essentially irregular. He highlighted the weakness of institutional controls and legislation; its impact on the environment and on the health of Amazonians; its transnational reach; the damage caused to indigenous and traditional communities and their territories; and its low contribution to the local economy and quality of life. 

“Since 2018, we are facing an anti-indigenous agenda in the national congress”

Samela Sateré Mawé, indigenous leader, Senior Fellow of Instituto Arapyaú and member of the Concertation’s Youth WG, highlighted the existence of an anti-indigenous agenda in the National Congress, currently focused on Bill 490 (concerns the temporal milestone in the demarcation of indigenous lands) and 191 (mining in indigenous lands and conservation units). Samela spoke of the mining activity’s impact on the health of the population in the communities, referred to this movement as a “genocidal agenda”, and asked: “Is money worth people’s lives?” Her appeal is for traditional peoples to be included in the debate about the Amazon.

“Bill 191 is a step backwards from the commitments made”

Marina Grossi, president of CEBDS (Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development), the last panelist to speak, pointed out that the companies represented by the entity are against Bill 191, and that to them, it does not make sense from an economic or reputational point of view for them. 

“Art, culture, academic studies, good science: all this is critical to the Amazon” Roberto Waack, chair of Instituto Arapyaú Board and co-founder of the Concertation, ended the discussions by addressing the complexity of developing an agenda to be implemented in the first 100 days, main challenge for the Concertation in 2022.