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All Eyes on the Amazon

Covering an area of 5.5 million km², the Amazon rainforest is the largest rainforest in the world. At least 12% of the forest has been lost in the last decades, and deforestation is still continuing at a rapid pace. Illegal logging, land grabbing and intimidation for agriculture, animal husbandry and mining are daily business, and impunity rules. Recent developments, such as the election of the new Bolsonaro government in Brazil, make the future of the Amazon region and the people living there even more uncertain than it already was.

The Amazon rainforest is not only of crucial importance for indigenous communities living in it. The rainforest houses a wealth of biodiversity and has a crucial function for the global climate because it stores large amounts of CO2. The IPCC makes it clear that we need these huge forests to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees and to prevent the worst effects of climate change. Conversely, it is disastrous for the climate if the forest disappears, because then the CO2 that is stored in it is released.

Brave resistance

Indigenous communities are generally the only ones who resist the unbridled logging and protect the forest, despite the enormous risks that this entails. It is of the utmost importance for these people themselves and for the survival of the Amazon rainforest to be able to bring out abuses and illegal practices so that they can be tackled at international level if necessary.

All eyes on the Amazon

This is exactly what the 'All eyes on the Amazon' project, which runs from the beginning of 2017 to the end of 2020, aims to achieve. In the project, led by HIVOS and Greenpeace Netherlands, eleven organisations, including Both ENDS, are working together to strengthen the position of indigenous groups so that these can protect the area they live in, the Amazon forest. All project partners have their own task within the project, but the aim of all activities is to stop the (causes of) the destruction of the rainforest.

Protect the forest protector

Indigenous groups are provided with drones with which they can visualise the deforestation that takes place everywhere around them, but which is largely hidden from the outside world. With this footage and new radar satellite technology, we can quickly and precisely determine where deforestation is taking place. In addition, land rights of indigenous peoples in the Amazon must be recognised, not only because they have been living in the forest for centuries, but also because they are the best forest protectors. In the areas that are still unaffected, we therefore map the territory of indigenous residents.

Another aim of the project is to persuade governments to recognise the crucial role of local forestry teams and fund these. Nationally and internationally, we are increasing public support for the preservation of rainforests and the people living there, also to ensure that activists who protect their own livelihood can safely do so. Wherever companies enabling or maintaining deforestation are active, local partners involved in this project will take action. In this way, the network of protected, intact forest areas is growing.

Follow the Money

The next step is to investigate exactly which companies or investors are behind the deforestation. This project revolves around disclosing what is still hidden, to encourage companies to do it differently. If necessary, we will continue to increase public pressure, we will start an (international) lawsuit or we will mobilise a wide audience. But we also focus on the parties that play an important role in the background: the financiers of destructive practices and indifferent and careless politicians and authorities. By increasing pressure from all sides, we force them to make firm agreements and strong laws that put an end to deforestation.

What does Both ENDS do in this project?

We investigate which public authorities, financiers and other stakeholders in the Netherlands and in other Western countries may be behind deforestation, and bring the issues that are imposed on the local population, to the attention of policymakers in the Netherlands and the EU. If necessary, we use the OECD's complaints mechanisms or other relevant bodies to change the attitude, policies and actions of companies and financiers from the Netherlands and/or the EU so that the situation in the Amazon region actually improve.

 

Programme partners:

Interpol (France)
Greenpeace Netherlands (the Netherlands)
Hivos (the Netherlands)
International Institute of Social Studies (ISS, the Netherlands)
COICA (Peru)
Article 19 (UK)
Digital Democracy (USA)
Global Forest Watch (USA)
University of Maryland (USA)
Witness (USA)

For more information, also see these publications which have been supported by Both ENDS: 

Complicity in Destruction II: How northern consumers and financiers enable Bolsonaro's assault on the Brazilian Amazon (Amazon Watch, April 2019)

Complicity in Destruction: How northern consumers and financiers sustain the assault on the Brazilian Amazon and its peoples (Amazon Watch, November 2018)

 

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