Innovative Report Calls for a New Security Agenda for Amazonia
Growing threats to Amazonia’s water, energy, food and health security will be multiplied in coming decades by climate change, creating severe risks for people, governments and economies across South America
Animation Amazon Security Agenda Project, led by GCP and CIAT, funded by CDKN
In a report released today, the Global Canopy Programme (GCP) and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) call for a new security agenda for Amazonia and its countries. One that focuses not only on national security in a traditional sense, but acts to strengthen the fundamental underpinnings of a flourishing society: sustained access to water, energy, food and good health for all.
Manuel Pulgar, Minister of Environment for Peru (and hosts of the UNFCCC Climate Change Summit COP 20 – December 2014) said “Climate change is a global problem, but one that will multiply local and regional problems in unforeseeable ways. In Latin America, we have taken Amazonia and its seemingly limitless water and forests as a given. But recent unprecedented droughts have shown us just what happens when that water security falters: it impacts food and energy production, it affects the wellbeing of entire populations, and it leaves governments and businesses with a big bill to pay. The science is clear, so we cannot afford to miss the opportunity for positive action now.”
The report, developed with input from science experts and political leaders from Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, lays out initial recommendations as building blocks for dialogue and action in each of these countries. Since Amazonia’s ecosystems are shared between countries, there is also a need for governments to collaborate on coordinated responses to these shared risks.
Carlos Klink, Brazil’s National Secretary for Climate Change and Environmental Quality, said: “We are understanding more and more how interdependent water, food, energy and health security are across our continent. There is also interdependence between the countries that share the Amazon, which recycles trillions of tons of water that all our people and economies rely on. The challenge that we are just beginning to recognise and act upon is one of transitioning to a more sustainable economy – one that values the role of a healthy Amazonia in underpinning long-term security and prosperity.”
Key findings from the Amazonian Security Agenda report
a) Amazonia’s water is vital for the region’s economies:
- Nearly 20% of the rainfall in the La Plata basin (a region that generates 70% of the GDP of the 5 countries that share it) comes from Amazonia.
- Amazonian hydropower is vital for national electricity needs across the region: 39% in Ecuador, 35% in Bolivia, 22% in Peru, and 11% in Brazil. There is huge remaining potential (less than 1% exploited in Peru).
b) Tens of billions of dollars are being generated annually from Amazonia’s vast natural resources, but often with high environmental and social costs.
- Soyabean grain and beef from Brazil’s Legal Amazonia generated $7 billion and $1.6 billion respectively in export revenues in 2012.
- 99% Ecuador’s oil came from Amazonia, enabling crude oil exports of nearly $9 billion in 2010.
c) Economic development has historically resulted in deforestation. But by compromising Amazonia’s natural resources, deforestation now threatens not only the rights and wellbeing of local people, but also the sustainability of industries themselves.
- As many as 60% in the Bolivian Amazon, 37% in Ecuador, 23% in Peru and 17% in Brazil are estimated to be below the extreme poverty line.
- In the region of Madre de Dios, Peru, where large quantities of mercury have been used in gold-mining, 78% of adults in the regional capital tested for levels of mercury above international safety limits.
- Regional deforestation predicted to impact hydropower output, Belo Monte dam power output projected to be up to 36% lower by 2050 than in a fully forested scenario if current deforestation rates continue.
- Large-scale deforestation is predicted to reduce rainfall by up to 21% by 2050
- 21% of Amazonia is under some form of mining concessions and 18% of these overlap with officially recognised Indigenous Territories.
d) Climate change will increasingly multiply the threats to Amazonia’s security.
- Climate change is projected to increase the frequency and intensity of extreme events. One model predicts that Amazonia may suffer drought every other year by 2025.
- All-important rainfall patterns are changing, and while uncertain, we may expect a wetter western and drier eastern Amazon by 2050.
- Rising temperatures, potentially up by a game-changing 3.5 degrees C on average in Amazonia by 2050
- A recent study suggests that continued deforestation and climate change could lead to a 28% reduction in soya bean yields by 2050
CIAT has co-lead this project together with the Global Canopy Program, and with the kind support of the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN). This work is aligned to CIAT’s efforts in the context of the CGIAR Research Programs on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) and Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).
To see the full report and animation visit www.amazoniasecurity.org
For more information, please contact:
Andy Jarvis, Leader of the Decision and Policy Analysis Program in the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). Email: a.jarvis@CGIAR.ORG
Rachel Mountain, Head of Communications Global Canopy Programme. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +44 (0)1865 724333
Jorge Villanueva, Communications Officer Latin America and Caribbean Climate & Development Knowledge Network Latin America & Caribbean (CDKN LAC). Email: email@example.com Tel: +51 1 991677868