The Amazon and the 2022 Elections: Health and Economy

On May 16th, the 3rd 2022 meeting of the Concertation was held, and, for the first time, it was organized in a hybrid way, with direct broadcasting from Manaus. On this occasion, the subject was Health and Economy and is part of the year's program schedule, which aims to build feasible proposals that can be implemented in the first 100 days after the presidential, subnational, and National Congress elections.
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Piracema Amazônica. Terra, água e ar

For this conversation, Larissa Tukano, of the Federation of Indigenous Organizations of Rio Negro (Foirn); Denis Minev, of Bemol; Dr. Érika Pellegrino (UFPA/Altamira); and Eugenio Scannavino Neto, of Saúde e Alegria project were invited.

At the event, the virtual gallery of Amazonian artists whose work help the Concertation build and humanize debates was also launched, expanding people’s imagination about the various Amazons. Themed Ciclos Para o Amanhã(Cycles for Tomorrow), the exhibition portrays the view of 16 artists who advocate and fight for their land.

The meeting was opened by Renata Piazzon, director of Instituto Arapyaú and executive secretary of the Concertation, who reminded those present of the network’s performance pillars, which currently counts on more than 500 leaders from the most varied sectors. Non-partisan in nature, the initiative has been establishing itself as a hub of knowledge and meeting for the Amazon.

HEALTH

“Health is basic for forest preservation”.

Eugenio Scannavino Neto
Saúde e Alegria Project’s health physician brought into question examples of problems and solutions experienced in the Amazon, such as the difficulties posed by the vastness of the territory, the inequality of care structures, the feasibility of primary care – which proved to be very effective for the specific conditions of the region – and the relevance of telemedicine in a territory with such characteristics. For him, the bottleneck is in public administration and in the qualification of the parties involved. “The Amazon has health specificities and indicators that are lower than the national ones”, he explains. He argues that relatively simple and inexpensive measures aimed at primary care would be able to offload the hospitals, such as supplying UBSs (Primary Care Clinics) with basic equipment, implementing telemedicine, and adopting prevention and sanitation policies.
Eugenio Scannavino Neto
Eugenio Scannavino Neto

"There must be a link between economy and health".

Dra. Érika Pellegrino
Professor at the UFPA medical school in Altamira, Erika pointed out as priorities the strengthening of planning and management, investment in connectivity and telemedicine, the formulation of a human resources policy capable of training and retaining professionals, and taking advantage of other funding sources beyond the area’s specificities. Érika explained that health issue is closely related to matters addressed by agencies acting in other areas, such as the Ministry of Citizenship and infrastructure (sanitation, education, etc.) agencies, which can be accessed for the purpose of funding health actions, as long as managers are better prepared.
Érika Pellegrino
Érika Pellegrino

Premises of the Concertation for Health

To conclude this part of the discussion, Lívia Pagotto, knowledge manager at Instituto Arapyaú, presented health indicators for the Legal Amazon and a summary of possible paths on this front, such as:

  • strengthening primary care in remote areas and institutional capacities, with governance adapted to the Amazon territory (adapted SUS);
  • access to data and expansion of analytical capabilities (federal, state and municipal governments);
  • planetary health approach: link between health/pandemics/forest preservation;
  • shared infrastructure and logistics for the development of structuring policies;
  • establishing the Amazon as a practice territory for universities and research centers.
Lívia Pagotto
Lívia Pagotto

ECONOMY

“The Amazon is a huge scientific heritage of humanity”.

Denis Minev

Regarding economy, entrepreneur and CEO of Bemol stressed that the Amazon is not an environmental problem to be solved, but a vast region, with internal diversities of all kinds and that should not be approached without a “vision” of prosperity. He recalled that Brazilian science is not focused on the environmental heritage of the Amazon, which lacks professionals, equipment and research funding. For him, it is possible to reinvent Brazil from the Amazon.

Denis Minev
Denis Minev

“Dialogue is lacking among the government and indigenous peoples”.

Larissa Tukano

The indigenous leader of the Federation of Indigenous Organizations of Rio Negro (Foirn), an entity bringing together 23 indigenous peoples, reported on the work of indigenous artisans, highlighting their sustainable production chain and difficulty in understanding this reality in their relationship with the market. She explained that it is not a business production, but rather a community enterprise, which has its own rhythm and delivers not only the goods and services it sells, but the standing forest, while preserving traditions, resistance and struggle.

For her, dialogue is lacking among the government, companies, and indigenous peoples who are often seen as objects of research and beings of the past.

Premises of the Concertation for Economy

Once again, Lívia Pagotto presented the proposals that are being discussed within the network on this topic:

  • mosaic of economic activities according to landscapes: bioeconomies, conservation economy, rural-city economy, urban economy;
  • inter and intra-regional coordination;
  • inclusion of informal work in the labor market;
  • mobilization of diversified sources of funds, with the greatest possible mobilization of patient capital in the short term;
  • tax and incentives review, considering conservation, climate and biodiversity;
  • access to credit and markets;
  • commodities balance;
  • improvement of governance and incentives.

Place of speech

“If we don’t take care of the people who take care of the Amazon, we won’t move forward”.

Vanda Witoto
Present at the debate, one of the highlights of the meeting was the participation of Vanda Ortega Witoto, indigenous leader, teacher and nursing technician at Parque das Tribos, in Manaus, and also indigenous leader Samela Sateré Mawé. “The world only sees the Amazon through satellite view. Nobody sees what happens down here”, said Vanda during her speech, which was very touching for everyone. Samela stressed that “when we think of the Amazon, we must think of the people in all their plurality”, and added: “we must think of the Amazon as an indigenous woman, and people as seeds and fruits. One must not differentiate the body from the territory, we see ourselves as an extension of the territory”.
Vanda Witoto
Vanda Witoto
In addition to the emphasis given to issues related to the rights of indigenous peoples and health, both converged in their claims: native peoples are not asking for construction works, investments or material things; they want to be heard and to be part in building solutions for the territory. In Samela’s words, “nothing for us, without us”!
Samela Sateré Mawé
Samela Sateré Mawé
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