Amazon Conservation Signs Open Letter to UNCAC States Parties


photo by David Johnston

In our continuing effort to fight nature crimes across the Amazon, Amazon Conservation has endorsed an open letter to the UNCAC States Parties urging governments to adopt a resolution to prevent and combat environmental crime and corruption. This letter will be published and disseminated prior to the 10th Session of the UN Convention against Corruption’s Conference of States Parties (CoSP) that will be held from the 11th to 15th of December in Atlanta, Georgia. 

The CoSP offers a key opportunity to bolster commitments by governments to tackle corruption and the environmental crimes it facilitates that harm the environment. We hope that endorsing this letter with other participating parties will raise efforts and encourage governments to strengthen accountability, governance, and protection measures to mitigate organized crime and direct nature crimes to protect the biodiversity and people who are heavily affected by this type of corruption.

This letter reads as follows:

Dear Delegates to the States Parties to the UN Convention Against Corruption,

We, [number of signatories] civil society organizations and experts across the globe, urge States Parties to adopt a resolution at the 10th UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) Conference of States Parties (CoSP) to prevent and combat corruption and the environmental crimes it facilitates as a crucial way to protect the environment, tackle the climate crisis and uphold human rights.

Corruption has a seismic impact on the environment and the climate. It enables crimes across complex supply chains that exploit wildlife, forests, fisheries and other natural resources and species. It is often linked to serious criminal networks that rely on corruption at every step of their global supply chain. It creates incentives to degrade nature, leading to the conversion and degradation of land and the building of infrastructure in biodiversity rich zones. Corruption is undermining efforts to address climate change at a time when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that human-induced climate change has “resulted in more frequent and more intense extreme weather events that have caused increasingly dangerous impacts on nature and people in every region of the world.”

Environmental crime and corruption negatively impacts human rights and impedes efforts to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. It robs some of the world’s poorest countries of revenues and resources and promotes a culture of violence towards communities, threatening the rule of law, public health and security. Land, environmental and indigenous defenders, whistleblowers, journalists, and other members of civil society face significant threats, attacks and killings in carrying out their work to expose environmental crime and corruption, often in a culture of impunity.

As the only legally binding anti-corruption instrument, the UNCAC is among the best tools available to prevent and fight the corruption that enables environmental crime and other environmental harms and its significant negative impacts on both people and nature. Building on UNCAC CoSP Resolution 8/12 (adopted in 2019), we call on UNCAC State Parties to adopt a strong resolution to bolster the implementation of the UNCAC to tackle environmental crime and corruption and its impacts. Such a resolution should call for the following actions:

  • 1. Strengthen and more effectively implement anti-corruption, anti-money laundering and environmental protection laws across the value chain in the environmental sector and hold those accountable that are responsible for perpetuating environmental crimes and corruption, including companies and their representatives.
  • 2. Strengthen transparency, integrity and accountability for awarding, granting, and managing contracts, concessions, permits and licenses in the natural resource sector. Create public, central beneficial ownership registers which include adequate, accurate and up-to-date data that is freely accessible and can be used by relevant stakeholders, as well as accountability frameworks, including conflicts of interest policies, political financing rules, and lobbying transparency.
  • 3. Ensure a safe and enabling environment for civil society organizations and other actors working to expose environmental crime and corruption consistent with Article 13 of the UNCAC, including protection for whistleblowers, proactively engaging Indigenous Peoples and local communities and putting measures in place to routinely monitor threats facing civil society.
  • 4. Promote good governance and anti-corruption measures to achieve climate mitigation and biodiversity conservation goals and in the proper management and use of climate finance funds and other finance mechanisms to protect the environment and biological diversity.
  • 5. Promote greater coordination and cooperation with other relevant international fora and implementing agencies, in order to maximize impact in tackling environmental crime and corruption and to enhance understanding of how to address it, including the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Human Rights Council, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, and the Financial Action Task Force.

As we commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the UNCAC’s creation, we urge you to take strong actions at CoSP10 to ensure that the UNCAC is utilized to its full extent to tackle one of the most pressing global challenges facing our planet and its people.



Amazon Conservation, Washington DC


The Latest from MAAP: Illegal Gold Mining Across the Amazon

Our newly published MAAP #197 report presents our most comprehensive analysis of mining across the Amazon to date. As illegal gold mining continues to be one of the major issues facing nearly all Amazonian countries, the information in these reports incorporates major gold mining operations in rivers with its deforestation effects, estimating that there are at least 58 active forest and river-based mining sites across the Amazon (49 likely illegal), and at least 36 conflictive overlaps with protected areas (16) and indigenous territories (20).

Illegal gold mining impacts both primary forests and rivers, often in remote and critical areas such as protected areas & indigenous territories. Thus, illegal gold mining is both a major deforestation driver and a source of water contamination (especially mercury) across the Amazon. While gold mining is actively causing deforestation in nearly all nine countries of the Amazon, these nations’ leaders attended a recent high-level summit in which they signed the Belém Declaration, containing a commitment to prevent and combat illegal mining, including strengthened regional and international cooperation in mitigating these harmful, illegal activities.

Click here to read the full report.

Partnering with the Nature Crime Alliance to Fight Environmental Crimes in the Amazon

We are proud to be a founding member of the recently-established Nature Crime Alliance (NCA), a global multi-sector initiative to fight environmental crimes across the globe, led by the World Resources Institute (WRI). Through this joint initiative, we will be working with NGOs and local governments to raise political awareness, implement financial commitment, and strengthen operational capacity to initiate solutions to nature crimes by bringing change and positive impacts to life. Other founding partners in this alliance include the government of Norway’s development agency (Norad), the Wildlife Justice Commission, the conservation news platform Mongabay, and more. 

Environmental and nature crimes can come in the form of logging, mining, wildlife trade, land conversion, crimes associated with fishing, and various illegal activities that pose a threat to the environment. These harmful activities pose a major threat to the world’s vital ecosystems, incredible biodiversity, diverse economies, Indigenous Peoples and local communities, and the global climate. Without a concerted international effort to tackle nature crimes, these crimes have now become the largest financial driver of terrorism and other forms of conflict across the globe. The Nature Crime Alliance has emerged to fill this gap and amplify global efforts to fight back against nature crimes.

This alliance aligns well with Amazon Conservation’s long history of fighting environmental crimes in the Peruvian Amazon. From 2016-2020, we built a real-time satellite-based monitoring system that directly supported the Peruvian government in creating the National System of Control and Monitoring (Sistema Nacional) and improved the capacity of local forest users to monitor and protect their lands. This project was made possible thanks to the support from Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) through the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), which is currently funding the project “Technology Meets Policy: Real-time Monitoring and Action in the Amazon,” a five-year initiative aimed at reducing deforestation from illegal activities within the territories of the indigenous target groups in Ecuador and Peru while addressing gaps in deforestation prevention by linking technology and real-time monitoring with improved governance. 

To continue our efforts in combating illegal deforestation and improving governance, Amazon Conservation’s President John Beavers explains that “for us, the Nature Crime Alliance is such an important group to be part of, because to bring together the critical mass of organizations, resources, and the focus needed to be able to fight illegal deforestation at scale, whether it’s the Amazon or across the world, is a key piece to make conservation, sustainable development, and social justice work.”

To read the full statement on the Nature Crime Alliance’s objectives and approach, click here.

2022 Impact Report

We are excited to announce that our 2022 Impact Report is now available to read!

In this report, we discuss in detail our extensive work in conservation working with local communities, and bringing science and innovation to life. Thanks to the help of our supporters, we’ve been able to establish a new conservation area, help stimulate a sustainable forest-based economy, take action against deforestation, provide scholarships to young scientists, and much more!

Thank you to all those who have helped us make change possible, we are grateful to have the ability to carry out our conservation initiatives and sustainable practices throughout the Amazon.

Click here to read the full report.

Strengthening our Monitoring and Action Work across Colombia With New Partnership

Deforestation in Chiribiquete National Park (MAAP #101). Credit: FCDS/RFN/AAF.

From day one, Amazon Conservation has combined the power of technology and locally-driven action to combat deforestation across the Amazon. In 2015, we launched our Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Program (MAAP) to provide real-time actionable data using the latest in satellite technology to help stop deforestation threats that harm forests and the people that reside within them. 

In recent efforts to expand our monitoring and action work across the Amazon through MAAP, we are partnering with local civil society organizations and private foundations to elevate our presence in Colombia. We recently received generous support from The Overbrook Foundation to detect and act upon these deforestation threats, in partnership with the Fundación para la Conservación y el Desarrollo Sostenible (FCDS), a prestigious NGO that will be key in sharing our actionable data with local authorities. Our goal is to lead to real, swift action against illegal deforestation. 

Lead Environmental Advisor to The Overbrook Foundation Daniel Katz shared that “the Overbrook Foundation is proud to support Amazon Conservation and its MAAP initiative to prevent illegal deforestation in Colombia. MAAP’s capabilities for tracking deforestation in real-time, along with the knowledge on who to share this information with, provides palpable tools for saving biodiversity and forests.”

This work and partnerships in Colombia are vital as deforestation remains elevated and threatens protected areas. As our MAAP #187 reported in 2022, the Colombian Amazon lost 97,417 hectares of primary forest to deforestation, and fires directly impacted an additional 12,880 hectares. Combined, the forest loss was equivalent to losing the entirety of the Rocky Mountains National Park in Colorado. Deforestation decreased 2% from 2021 but remained relatively high (5th highest on record), continuing the trend of elevated forest loss since the FARC peace agreement in 2016.

By working with government entities and local NGOs, Amazon Conservation aims to combine MAAP information with government capacity to understand satellite evidence of environmental crimes to apply the law, helping build a strong foundation to strengthen the efforts and institutions Colombia needs to stop illegal deforestation more effectively. 

We are grateful for The Overbrook Foundation’s generosity and support for our initiatives in the Colombian Amazon, and we look forward to what we can accomplish together through MAAP. 

Want to support MAAP or our work in the Colombian Amazon too?

Click here to learn more >

Embracing the Future of Giving with Cryptocurrency and Stock Donations 


As we enter a fast-growing digital landscape, many organizations and non-profits have begun exploring new ways to secure funding to broaden their impact. Earlier this year, we implemented a new donation tool called The Giving Block that streamlines cryptocurrency and stock donations to Amazon Conservation. Cryptocurrency and stock donations have now become powerful tools that reshape the way charitable contributions are made, providing tax benefits that non-cash donations offer. 

Why did we decide to start accepting these donation methods? Accepting cryptocurrency and stock donations can be highly beneficial for both us and donors.

  • Diversifying Donation Methods: Accepting cryptocurrencies and stock donations can help us become less reliant on traditional forms of fundraising, creating a more stable and secure financial base
  • Lower Fees and Transaction Costs: There are often lower fees in cryptocurrency transactions and stock donations compared to traditional banking and credit card transactions, meaning more of the donation can go directly to our conservation work rather than a third-party holder
  • Potential for High Donations: Some stocks and cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum have had significant increases in their value over time. Especially with crypto, those who contribute could donate more than what they traditionally would in regular currency donations, especially if these assets have been held for a while
  • Donor Tax Benefits: In some countries, donating cryptocurrency or stock can have tax advantages for the donor. By accepting these kinds of donations, we now have the potential to attract donors who are looking for ways to maximize their charitable contributions while optimizing their tax liabilities
  • Transparency and Accountability: Blockchain technology  can help secure and publicly verify digital transactions, allowing donors to see how exactly their contributions are being used by us, and thus creating trust with the donor
  • Appeal to Younger Demographics: Accepting cryptocurrency and stock donations can be seen as a modernized approach to tech-savvy and younger donors familiar with digital currencies and assets, helping us reach out to a demographic that may not be used to traditional fundraising and donation methods

While there are many beneficial reasons for us to accept crypto and stock donations, we acknowledge that we must consider the volatility of the value of these assets. For more information on our cryptocurrency and stock donations, please visit our page here to learn more. 


Celebrating 12 years of Conservación Amazónica – ACEAA

Our Bolivian sister organization Conservación Amazónica – ACEAA is celebrating its 12-year anniversary this October. Celebrations began at the end of last month with a cocktail party for the organization’s team, diplomatic corps, and allied organizations at their headquarters in La Paz, Bolivia. ACEAA has been a part of our alliance (including our other sister organization Conservación Amazónica – ACCA in Peru) from its beginning and has enacted a joint mission of sustainably managing territorial spaces in the Amazon, generating knowledge and capacities with local communities and workers to help conserve biodiverse ecosystems.

Since its foundation in 2011, ACEAA has carried out its conservation efforts throughout more than 30 million hectares in the Bolivian Amazon, covering three departments: Beni, La Paz, and Pando. This diverse landscape is home to a variety of ecosystems included within the Amazon basin, from the headwaters and heights of the Andes mountain range, passing through different types of forests to the grasslands and wetlands of the Beni. These landscapes provide essential tools to governments and local stakeholders to empower communities to develop sustainable livelihoods in harmony with forests.

In addition to the many programs that have helped conserve the greater Amazon, ACEAA plays an active role in supporting local initiatives to strategize sustainable forest use through its support for the creation of the Inter-Institutional Platform for Articulation of Amazonian Fruit Productive Complexes PICFA, a platform for public-private coordination to strengthen the production of Amazonian fruits in Pando, and The Federation of Asaí and Amazonian Fruits of the department of Pando (FEDAFAP), an organization of Acai fruit workers and institutes to maintain and promote sustainable production practices.

Amazon forest in the Madidi National Park, Bolivia

Against all odds, this team continues to envision a thriving Amazon that supports the full diversity of life. Today, more than ever, it is critical that we, as global citizens, unite to protect this natural treasure. Our goal as an alliance is to create a more sustainable way forward. Together, we can ensure a prosperous future for the Amazon, a region vital to life on our planet. Let us continue to work towards preserving this priceless heritage and ensure that future generations can enjoy the beauty and richness of the Amazon.

Thank you to all our supporters who have helped support our alliance throughout the years. Your efforts will not go unnoticed, and we greatly appreciate all those who help us conserve some of the greatest forests on earth.