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The Science Panel for the Amazon met in Bogotá!


From April 15 to 17, 2024, the Science Panel for the Amazon (SPA) met at the Universidad de los Andes, in the city of Bogotá, Colombia, gathering more than 40 members, including from the Science Steering Committee, SPA authors and the Secretariat. The central purpose of this meeting was to set the Panel’s strategic priorities for 2024 – 2025 including for  the COP16 on Biodiversity in Cali, Colombia (2024) and the COP30 on Climate Change in Belém, Brazil (2025). A key milestone will be the development of a new Amazon Assessment Report to be launched at COP30 in 2025, which will address crucial issues for the conservation and sustainable development of the region from the perspective of connectivity.

During the first day, the SPA members reflected on the progress and achievements of the Panel since the last meeting in March 2023, held in Brazil. Together, they used the “Living Amazon Vision” as a conceptual starting point for strategic planning, and analyzed the political context and opportunities in the region that the Panel should engage in on the road to COP30. Through participatory dialogues, the impacts of the SPA were reviewed and lessons were drawn to inform upcoming plans. During this fruitful day of work, participants also prioritized topics and outlined a preliminary structure for the next Assessment Report.


On the second day, SPA stakeholder engagement strategies were delved into, to discuss how the Panel will advance work in collaboration with Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs), youth, and the financial sector. In addition, collaborative work continued around the structure and priority themes of the Amazon Assessment Report 2025. 

April 17 began with a high-level event open to the public called “A Dialogue on the Amazon We Want”, bringing together leading scientists and researchers, government representatives, and Indigenous leaders to discuss zero deforestation and the development of a socio-bioeconomy to advance the transformation towards sustainable development in the Amazon. This event included the participation of the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development of Colombia, Susana Muhamad, who highlighted the importance of dialogues of science and Indigenous knowledge to inform public policies. She called for the development of bioeconomic alternatives based on the ecological and cultural cycles of the Amazon. She also advocated for effective regional articulation to address the challenges of the biome, recognizing the need for strong, science-based international cooperation.


Minister Muhamad proposed an agenda that links biodiversity and climate change: addressing biodiversity conservation and restoration as key in climate action, with emphasis on the participation of local and Indigenous communities. She stressed the importance of placing human rights at the center of conservation efforts, positioning “Peace with nature” as the main message of the Colombia Presidency of COP16.

This public event included two important panel discussions. The first focused on issues of deforestation and degradation in the Amazon, to identify priority areas and possible scientific contributions of the SPA to achieve zero deforestation by 2030. This dialogue was moderated by Manuel Rodríguez-Becerra (Universidad de los Andes), and included interventions by leading experts in the field: Maria Soledad Hernández Gomez (SINCHI Institute), Omar Franco Torres (Cómo Vamos National Parks), Dolors Armenteras (Universidad Nacional de Colombia), Carlos Rodríguez (Tropenbos), Carlos Daniel Cadena Ordoñez (Universidad de los Andes) and Alejandra Laina (WRI Colombia).

This panel discussion highlighted the increasing threats to natural areas in the Andean and Amazonian regions,  focusing on deforestation trends in early 2024 in some countries of the region. It emphasized the urgent need for reforestation efforts in affected areas and stressed the importance of strong governance frameworks and community involvement in natural resource management. Integration of diverse knowledge sources was emphasized for more effective environmental solutions, along with scaling up successful initiatives and communicating scientific findings. The discussion also emphasized the potential of socio-economy to drive sustainable development in the Amazon, through ecosystem restoration and valuing ecosystem services.


The second panel was moderated by Emma Torres, SPA Strategic Coordinator, and addressed the socio-bioeconomy of healthy standing forests and flowing rivers in the Amazon. This conversation included the participation of Fany Kuiru Castro (COICA), Hernando García Martínez (Alexander von Humboldt Institute), Sandra Valenzuela de Narvaez (WWF Colombia), Mariana Gómez Soto (Gaia Foundation) and Carolina Gil (Amazon Conservation Team). 

The discussion emphasized the presence of diverse “Amazons” within the territory, underscoring the need to inform socio-bioeconomic development with these diverse realities. It highlighted the crucial role of Indigenous peoples and local communities in conserving and sustaining the Amazon, advocating for dialogue between Indigenous knowledge and science. Recognizing and valuing traditional community management and local knowledge is key to the development of socio-bioeconomy that considers environmental, social, and economic impacts. The discussion proposed comprehensive policies and programs integrating scientific and traditional knowledge with a pan-Amazonian perspective, while also advocating for technological solutions to promote sustainable economies, and the importance of increasing investment in science, technology, and innovation in the Amazon region.


On the afternoon of the third day, the SPA discussed its strategy for COP16 and COP30. Also, a dialogue occurred on the internal functioning of the Panel, including issues of membership, communications, and youth engagement. In this way, three intense days of work were closed, leaving participants inspired to continue building a sustainable future for the Amazon.

The workshop in Bogotá provided an initial scope and structure of the Amazon Assessment Report 2025  and a vision of the path towards COP16 and COP30. In addition, strategies for the involvement of key actors such as youth, IPLCs, and the financial sector were further advanced, as were the communication actions that will be essential to contribute to achieving The Amazon We Want.

Read the full story on the event “A Dialogue on The Amazon We Want” here.