Amazonia Beyond the Crisis

Accountability for deforestation: preventing further violations against human rights and protecting against continuous environmental and economic destructions


 
 
Background and introduction
In recent years, the world’s attention has turned to Amazonia due to the crisis of deforestation and fires. The increasing deforestation rate has led to substantial human and environmental consequences. Indigenous Amazonian inhabitants and local communities have been severely affected by the invasion, destruction and deterioration of their territories and by the political persecution of many community leaders and environmental defenders. Deforestation threatens the human rights of Indigenous peoples and local communities by creating a spiral of violence and conflict. Besides the imminent threats to the human rights of local inhabitants, the ecological impacts have been of great magnitude. After declining in the middle of the past decade, the deforestation rate in the Amazon had stalled in recent years. However, even before the recent spike in fires, deforestation remained a critical threat to the rainforest’s overall health. Science has shown how the Amazon forest is moving toward a dieback scenario, in which the entire ecosystem could collapse in a vicious cycle of degradation and fragmentation if deforestation continues to expand. Society at large – in countries that share Amazonia – no longer accepts deforestation. It has been proven to be bad for the local economy, bad for biodiversity, and bad for the climate at both regional and global levels.
On 20 and 21 September 2019, at the initiative of the Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation and No Peace Without Justice, in partnership with the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, the Rainforest Alliance, the National Wildlife Federation, IMAZON and ISA indigenous and community leaders, scientists, business and NGO representatives from Amazonia met in New York prior to the UN Climate Action Summit. This is the context that prompted our project, which began in December 2019 and is due to be completed by December 2022.
 
Objectives
The overall objective of the project is to work with partners from Amazonia, as well as regional and international partners, to seek accountability, raise awareness and effect behavioural change in respect of deforestation, fires and other environmental and human rights violations taking place in Amazonia. The objectives of our project are of vital importance, especially during these harsh times, as Covid-19 has been striking Latin America particularly severely. While there are now new urgent priorities, the effects of the pandemic have not halted, but rather hidden/exacerbated human rights violations in Amazonia, especially in indigenous contexts. The project is being carried out in Amazonia, involving actors mainly in Brazil but also in other countries of the Amazonia region. The damage to the Amazon is not being done by accident: much of the devastation is a result of deliberate choices and policies that can be reversed through shining a light on them. NPWJ seeks to end impunity for deforestation so that practices and policies can benefit, rather than harm, Amazonia and its people.
 
Methodology
The project is built around three components, each speaking to a different element of creating an environment supportive of accountability in its various forms, namely accountability in action, advocacy and local actions.
 
Covid- 19
The objectives of our project are of vital importance, especially during these harsh times, as Covid-19 has been striking Latin America particularly severely. While there are now new urgent priorities, the effects of the pandemic have not halted, but rather hidden/exacerbated human rights violations in Amazonia, especially in indigenous contexts. The project’s implementation has been affected by the global pandemic, and there has therefore been the need, which is ongoing, to ensure the project’s programming is flexible and responsive to both the global situation and the needs on the ground, especially as it concerns local actions and direct support for local actors.
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Activities 
(A) Activity Cluster 1: accountability in action
This cluster consists of identifying and evaluating the possibilities through which accountability may be achieved and of determining and implementing actions to seek accountability. NPWJ takes a broad view of what the term “accountability” means, encompassing both judicial and non-judicial approaches. Together with local, regional and international partners, NPWJ intends to examine and assess the range of potential accountability options at the domestic, regional and international level. Additionally, we want to explore the possibility of those mechanisms to contribute to behavioural change - by increasing their capacity to do so - and to build a supportive legal environment in favour of accountability for violations in Amazonia.
 
(B) Activity Cluster 2: advocacy
NPWJ, together with partners, has been organising and participating in a range of advocacy activities that have used both conventional and innovative advocacy tools. Conventional tools involve activities during bilateral and multilateral meetings, engagement with regional bodies, public information campaigns, policy papers, press releases and social media, and engagement with the diplomatic community and civil society. Additionally, we are using innovative advocacy tools such as the usage of photographic and audio-visual displays and the exploration of the production of an educative and entertaining online and/or app-based game.
 
(C) Activity Cluster 3: Local actions
NPWJ has been providing support to local and regional actors engaged in implementing recommendations from the 21 September 2019 meeting in New York. NPWJ has been implementing this activity primarily through a system of sub-grants to local and regional partners for activities and projects that are responsive to the recommendations from the meeting and that are likely to affect behavioural change and contribute to a legal and political environment that is conducive to achieving accountability for violations in Amazonia.  Currently, we are cooperating with Instituto Raoni, Fundo Brasil de Direitos Humanos, Instituto Maira, Kowit associatio, Instituto Amazonas and other major stakeholders. We are proud to be involved in their important work.
 

 

 
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This webpage refers to activities implemented with the financial assistance of the Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation. The views expressed herein do not, in any way, reflect the official opinion of the Foundation.