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SPA at the “Road to the Amazon Summit” in Leticia

On July 6th, ahead of the “Road to the Amazon Summit” held in Leticia (Colombia), the Science Panel for the Amazon (SPA) held a workshop with the support from Sinchi Amazonic Institute of Scientific Research. The topics of discussion were: Preparing for the Summit of Amazonian Presidents; Lessons Learned from SPA’s First 2 Years; Presentation of the SPA’s 3-year strategic plan; 3-year Strategic Plan Discussion; and ended with a discussion of Colombia-specific Priorities and Deliverables.

On July 7, 2023, Presidents Gustavo Petro of Colombia and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil participated in the closing plenary of the Leticia Summit to build momentum for the Amazon Summit that the Brazilian government is holding in Belem next month, which will be attended by leaders of the parties to the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO). The Presidents heard from environment Ministers, local governments, Indigenous peoples, the private sector, the scientific community, civil society, and international cooperation agencies that presented key conclusions of their respective working group discussions. SPA Co-Chair Marielos Peña-Claros, who had been elected spokesperson of the Science, Technology, and Innovation group, delivered their key messages directly to President Lula (Brazil) and President Petro (Colombia).

Marielos presented the 4 priorities of the Science, Technology, and Innovation group, directly to the Presidents and Ministers. They are:(i) Increasing and promoting investments in science, technology and innovation for public policies. (ii) enhancing our understanding of the Amazon’s point of no return, the factors are causing it, andhow to prevent it (e.g., through restoration,bioeconomy, by integrating Indigenous knowledge with science, and strengthening governance at local, national, and regional levels. (iii) Investing in and promoting networks to share knowledge exchange to integrate all forms of knowledge to look for solutions. (iv)Promoting the democratization of knowledge. Access to data is crucial and knowledge can be available to decision-makers at all levels. She ended by emphasizing that scientists are here and willing to help in these important decisions. 

After hearing from all groups, Lula and Petro agreed that one of the greatest challenges facing the countries of the Amazon is the strengthening of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization, and highlighted the need to construct a joint sustainable development policy for the region to serve as a common discourse for multilateral fora, including COP28. The Presidents emphasized the need to exert pressure on developed countries to fulfill their commitments. Petro also proposed transforming the global debt system to obtain the trillions of dollars needed to tackle the climate crisis by trading debt for climate action.