COP28: Takeaways for the Amazon

December 18, 2023

This year’s COP28 (United Nations Climate Change Conference), held in Dubai from November 30th to December 12th, brought together more than 190 governments to discuss global climate action. One of our board members, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal who is WWF’s Global Climate and Energy Lead and COP20 President, attended COP28, and noted that this year’s Conference truly showed how nature is the heart of the climate debate. Additionally, numerous conversations at roundtables centered around the planning and development of an integral process to kickstart climate change mitigation efforts.

From what Manuel gathered from the many climate action discussions, a surprising number of countries expressed their concern for conservation and, specifically, highlighted the importance of tackling environmental crimes such as illegal deforestation via nature-based solutions. He explained that nature-based solutions are designed to work with natural processes rather than against them to address threats and challenges to the environment. They aim to utilize and enhance the natural functions of ecosystems, as opposed to previous engineering-based solutions. This problem-solving approach emphasizes the importance of multiple benefits such as mitigating climate change, conserving biodiversity and ecosystems, and overall well-being for nature and humanity.

Additionally, multiple countries pledged $700 million to the Loss and Damage Fund aiming to help develop an action plan by assisting vulnerable countries in coping with and recovering from the impacts of climate change. However, this amount falls far short of the estimated $400 billion in losses faced by developing countries each year.

As we take a look at how these topics affect the Amazon, Manuel further elaborated on the importance of collaboration between Amazonian countries to form an agenda that will detail a long-term strategy concerning economic processes, Indigenous land rights, ecological integrity, and overall practices and standards for taking action on the ground. Furthermore, he noted that when it comes to climate action, it is important to emphasize that this is largely an economic process and to fulfill certain goals and standards, each country must contribute and accomplish its own tasks, such as updating and reviewing their strategy processes by 2025. He continued to explain that many South American countries are still in the process of developing their own long-term strategy and action plans, which are key elements that must be thoroughly progressed before creating a nationwide agenda. 

Moreover, Manuel continued to highlight that many South American countries are seeing significant social progress concerning the importance of Indigenous land rights, food security, wildlife conservation, and nature-positive narratives expressed through public opinion. While it seems many action plans remain in development, countries, and global allies are beginning to implement significant changes to further mitigate and adapt to climate change. 

To further contribute to mitigating climate change and building climate resilience, Amazon Conservation is continuing to form partnerships, such as founding the Nature Crime Alliance (NCA) to fight environmental crimes across the globe, and working with local families and communities who are bearing the brunt of extreme climate events. We are constantly taking proactive actions to minimize the impact of future fires, droughts, and other climate-related issues impacting vulnerable communities, and with your support, can urgently work to address the impacts of climate, deforestation, and social and environmental injustices impacting Indigenous peoples and other communities in the Amazon. 

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