Apr 05, 2022 by members

Statement: Civil society organisations speak out for transparency, participation and inclusion of traditional communities in the Leticia Pact

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In 2019, the governments of seven countries (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Suriname and Peru) signed the Leticia Pact, with the aim of facing the adverse environmental situation caused by the devastating fires registered that same year in the Amazon Basin.¹ There is a need to articulate the efforts of the countries of the region for the protection of our Amazon, but the Pact – as it was conceived, and is now being implemented – lacks participation and representation, because it is not being developed based on an expanded and intercultural dialogue with the different actors in each country of the Amazon Basin.

In this regard, it is important to remember that the Amazon biome is under strong pressure due to the predominance of predatory and unsustainable economic activities;² above all, for livestock and commodities such as soybeans on a large scale, often associated with illegal logging, land speculation and socio-environmental conflicts in the territories of indigenous peoples and other traditional communities. Similarly, deforestation and socio-environmental conflicts in the Amazon have been fueled by large infrastructure projects, such as the construction of highways, waterways and ports, railways and dams. Then, another threat to forests and rivers, including in indigenous territories and other traditional peoples, is the unbridled expansion of mining – practiced both by illegal miners and by large corporations – as well as hydrocarbon³ extractive activities.

The fragile ecological system of the jungle is unbalanced. In 2020 alone, the Amazon lost about 2.3 million hectares of primary forest in the 9 Amazonian countries, which represents an increase of 17% compared to the previous year (2019), and the third highest record since 2000.4 Therefore, based on these experiences, we believe that it is necessary for initiatives such as the Pact to collect all the voices and demands of our region.

The Amazon Basin is home to different indigenous peoples, Afro-descendants, peasants, among other important social groups, who are currently threatened, reduced and violated in their rights, due to the presence of legal and illegal extractive economic activities. In this sense, the depredation of the forest has led to an increase in cases of murders of environmental defenders and indigenous population committed to the conservation of the environment, as well as the proliferation of socio-environmental conflicts due to the dispossession of land, and the contamination of natural resources.

Currently, Brazil, Colombia and Peru are the most dangerous countries for indigenous and nonindigenous leaders whose work in defense of the environment and territory is seriously threatened. In this way, Colombia leads the number of murders registered in 2020 with 65 cases, while Brazil has 20 documented cases; and Peru, 6.5 It is worth mentioning that these figures may be effectively underreported due to threats and attacks6 not reported to local authorities due to limitations on press freedom and the absence of independent records. However, this situation has not been part of the speeches that have been made at the different summits of the Leticia Pact, despite the work of environmental defenders and indigenous defenders to conserve Amazonian ecosystems and, consequently, to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Added to all this, in countries like Brazil and Peru, is the decline in institutions and democratic governance, weakening or eliminating instruments for the protection of the environment and human rights – such as the recognition of the territorial rights of indigenous peoples and other traditional communities. , the right to consultation and free, prior and informed consent; and mechanisms to combat environmental crimes and violence against environmental defenders, as well as spaces for dialogue and participation. Therefore, decisions are being made at the cost of socio-environmental weakening, and without spaces for intercultural and multi-stakeholder planning.

On the other hand, the Leticia Pact is advancing through the financing of institutions such as the InterAmerican Development Bank – IDB and the Green Climate Fund (GCF), promoting the bioeconomy. This initiative, as has been discussed in other spaces, must be consistent with the vision of the life plans of the indigenous peoples, so that it shows an intention to change the current situation, which must be discussed to improve and generate joint multi-stakeholder actions. In this sense, the signatory organizations consider that the Pact does not include the political challenges that have exacerbated the socio-environmental crisis in the region. In this way, the spirit and content of the Pact present fundamental contradictions that must be changed urgently for the benefit of the indigenous population, Afro-descendants, quilombolas, family farmers and other important groups in the countryside and cities of the Amazon Basin.

Based on this context, the organizations, peoples, indigenous peoples, quilombolas, Afro-descendants, and scientific researchers declare ourselves through this document to send our observations and proposals to the Leticia Pact, which today is not being implemented in a dialogic manner. and consensual, so we believe it is necessary to generate changes. In sum, we observe in relation to the elaboration process and content of the Leticia Pact, up to the present moment:

A. Lack of spaces for intercultural dialogue throughout the process. The Leticia Pact is being developed without a multi-stakeholder dialogue in the different countries of the region, proof of this is that in the month of October of this year the Third Summit of the Pact was held, which was only attended by the representatives of the member states. , as well as representatives of the Inter-American Development Bank, and representatives of the United Kingdom
government; but it did not have the participation of indigenous peoples, Afro-descendant communities, local communities that, as previously indicated, are the most affected in the current context of crisis. Nor is the participation of civil society and the scientific community being counted on. For this reason, it is considered a mistake that the Pact is not being developed in a broad and consensual manner based on all the perspectives of the Amazon.

B. Lack of multi-stakeholder dialogue to integrate the initiatives that promote the defense of the Amazon, and its care. It is key to mention that currently, both local communities and the scientific community have developed materials and tools for the care of biodiversity, which also propose alternatives to the activities that are depredating our Amazon. In addition, it is key to remember that, this year at the World Conservation Congress, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) approved the motion to protect, conserve and sustainably manage at least 80% of the Amazon for the 2025, in collaboration with and recognizing the leadership of indigenous peoples in the Amazon, ensuring their free, prior and informed consent. In this sense, it is necessary that these initiatives are part of the dialogue and implementation of the Pact.

C. Lack of emphasis on the urgent need for recognition and regularization of the territorial rights of indigenous peoples and other traditional communities, as an essential instrument for protecting the forests and rivers of the Amazon; as well as the need to eliminate government incentives for land speculation, the example of recognizing deforestation as an improvement for the purpose of granting titles on public lands, and attempts to ‘open’ indigenous territories for mining and hydrocarbon exploitation, hydroelectricity and agribusiness. of ‘commodities’.

D. Lack of reflection and inclusion of the current challenges of environmental and indigenous defenders. As explained above, the countries of the Amazon are among the most dangerous in the world in terms of defending the land and the natural resources it provides, which is why there is a current need to strengthen human rights protection initiatives, where states and investments have responsibility. However, this situation is not included in the
development of the Pact, nor is it the speeches made by the representatives within the framework of the agreement. Therefore, it is necessary to accompany and strengthen the role of environmental defenders.

E. Lack of a clear vision on how the bioeconomy initiatives are going to involve the Amazonian communities and their good living initiatives and life plans in a fair and respectful way; and how they are going to engage Amazonian cities in terms of economically sustainable jobs, consumer markets for biodiversity products, and not just exports.

F. Lack of a clear strategy on ‘sustainable infrastructure’ incorporating lessons and avoiding repeating historical mistakes such as in the construction of highways and hydroelectric plants; that they also overcome the context of regression in socio-environmental policies in several countries, as is the case of Brazil.

Based on the above, we propose the following:
1. Process of multi-stakeholder dialogue to review the Pact and its implementation strategies, overcoming gaps and contradictions in its content and governance model, facing the dynamics (drivers) of deforestation, fires and socio-environmental conflicts and valuing innovative initiatives of the Amazon, with effective participation of indigenous peoples and other communities and movements; as well as with civil society organizations and the scientific
community.
2. In the same way, make the planning of the Pact transparent at the national level: both the Leticia Pact and the summits held have not been presented to civil society for dialogue, which implies ignorance, doubts about it. It is necessary to make the information transparent. As part of its governance model, guarantee participatory and independent monitoring and evaluation mechanisms on the implementation of the Pact.
3. Inclusion of instruments, strategies and goals to guarantee the recognition and regularization of the territorial rights of indigenous peoples and other traditional communities, as well as the elimination of government incentives for conflicts and land speculation, as a fundamental element to achieve the objective of the Leticia Pact for the protection of the forests and rivers of the Amazon.
4. Inclusion of the initiatives of indigenous peoples for the protection of the Amazon, such as the recognition and commitment of the IUCN for the conservation, protection and sustainable management of 80% of the Amazon by 2025, which involves all states of the region; as well as
private actors with a presence in the Amazon basin.
5. Protection of environmental and indigenous defenders: It is necessary that the Pact; as well as each related political milestone, and the planning documents include the risk situation of human rights defenders to articulate protection actions. Being the Escazú Agreement a key element for the development of the Pact.
6. Incorporation of an inclusive vision of the bioeconomy that involves the Amazonian communities in a fair and respectful way, prioritizing their initiatives for good living and life plans; as well as the generation of quality jobs and income in Amazonian cities, as spaces for transformation and consumption of biodiversity products. At the same time, elimination of credit and fiscal incentives for deforestation, with support for the recovery of degraded areas.
7. Build a clear and innovative strategy on sustainable and inclusive infrastructure at the local and regional level, incorporating lessons to avoid the repetition of historical mistakes, with priority given to the needs and initiatives for good living of Amazonian communities in the countryside and cities.

Signatories
1. Amazónicos por la Amazonía – AMPA
2. ANECAP – Asociación Nacional de Ejecutores de Contrato de Administración de Reservas
Comunales del Perú.
3. Asociación Pro derechos Humanos – APRODEH – Perú
4. Asociación Ambiente y Sociedad – Colombia
5. Asociación Arariwa – Perú
6. Asociación Civil Centro de Cultura Popular Labor – Perú
7. AIDESEP – Asociación Interétnica de la Selva Peruana – Perú
8. Asociación Interamericana para la Defensa del Ambiente: Colombia – Brasil – Ecuador
9. Associação Indígena Pariri Munduruku – Brasil
10. Asociación Unión de Talleres 11 de Septiembre – Bolivia
11. Associação de Favelas SJCampos SP
12. Bank Information Center – US
13. Barranquilla+20 – Colombia
14. Coalición para los Derechos Humanos en el Desarrollo – Internacional
15. Centro Amazónico de Antropología y Aplicación Práctica – Perú
16. Centro de Formação do Negro e Negra da Transamazônica e Xingu – Brasil
17. Centro de Documentación en Derechos Humanos “Segundo Montes Mozo SJ” (CSMM) – Ecuador
18. CEDLA – Centro de Estudios para el Desarrollo Laboral y Agrario – Bolivia
19. CEDIA – Centro para el Desarrollo del indígena Amazónico – Perú
20. CIEL – Center for International Environmental Law – Estados Unidos
21. Coletivo de Mulheres do Xingu – Brasil
22. Comitê de Energia Renovável do Semiárido – Brasil
23. CONAQ – Coordenação Nacional de Articulação de Quilombos – Brasil
24. Conectas Direitos Humanos – Brasil
25. CooperAcción – Perú
26. CIDOB – Confederación de Pueblos Indígenas de Bolivia
27. CONFENIAE – Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas de la Amazonía Ecuatoriana
28. CGTP – Confederación General de Trabajadores del Perú
29. Coordenação de Direitos Humanos, Ações Afirmativas e Diversidades – Brasil
30. Derecho, Ambiente y Recursos Naturales – Perú
31. Due Process of Law Foundation – Regional
32. Ecologia e Ação – ECOA – Brasil
33. Elcena Jeffers Foundation
34. Florida International University – Estados Unidos
35. Foro Ecológico del Perú
36. Fundación CONSTRUIR de Bolivia
37. GT-Infraestructura y Justicia Socioambiental – Brasil
38. Instituto Aroeira Brava – Brasil
39. Instituto de Abogados para la Protección del Medio Ambiente, INSAPROMA – República Dominicana
40. Instituto de Defensa Legal del Ambiente y el Desarrollo Sostenible Perú- Idlads – Perú
41. Instituto Federal do Ceará – Brasil
42. Instituto Latinoamericano para una Sociedad y un Derecho Alternativos (ILSA) – Colombia
43. Instituto Madeira Vivo – Brasil
44. International Rivers – Brasil
45. Instituto Maíra – Brasil
46. IAP- International Accountability Project – Global
47. Más Integridad MX – México
48. Movimento Pró Ivaí/Piquiri – Brasil
49. Movimento Tapajós Vivo – Brasil
50. Mouvement Pour la Lutte Contre l’Injustice
51. Movimento Xingu Vivo Para Sempre – Brasil
52. Mutirão pela Cidadania
53. OSLADE – Observatorio Sociolaboral y del Diálogo Social en el Ecuador
54. Observatorio Sociopolítico Latinoamericano – Colombia
55. OPIAC – Organización Nacional de los Pueblos Indígenas de la Amazonia Colombiana – Colombia
56. ORAU – Organización Regional Aidesep Ucayali – Perú
57. ORPIO – Organización Regional de Pueblos Indígenas del Oriente – Perú
58. Oil Workers’ Rights Protection Organization Public Union – Azerbaijan
59. Paz y Esperanza – Perú
60. Plataforma CIPÓ – Brasil
61. PLADES – Programa Laboral de Desarrollo – Perú
62. Protection International – Colombia
63. Reacción Climática – Bolivia
64. Red Muqui – Perú
65. REPAM – Rede Eclesial Pan-amazônica – Brasil
66. Red y Alianza de Líderes por el Progreso de Colombia
67. Salvaginas Colectiva Ecofemista – Bolivia
68. Sustentarse – Chile
69. UFMT-Brasil
70. Unimontes – Universidade Estadual de Montes Claros – Brasil
71. UFRR – Instituto Insikiran de Formação Superior Indígena – Brasil
72. Universidade Federal do Tocantins – Brasil
73. Water Justice and Gender – Global.

Footnotes
1 https://dar.org.pe/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Leticia11.pdf
2 Forest exploitation, mining and extractive industries, water and dams, illegal crops, agribusiness, among other causes of
economic origin (Global Witness September 2021). See web link: https://www.globalwitness.org/es/last-line-defence-es/
3 Currently the Pact has not included this diagnosis within its narrative.
4 https://maaproject.org/2021/amazon-2020/
5 https://www.globalwitness.org/es/last-line-defence-es/
6 The silencing of defenders stems from tactics such as “death threats, surveillance, sexual violence or criminalization” (SeenGlobal Witness September 2021 Report, p.10).