Growing threats to Amazonia’s water, energy, food and health security will be multiplied in coming decades by climate change, creating severe risks for people, governments and economies across South America.
The Minister of Environment for Peru and current UNFCCC COP 20 President, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, highlighted the importance of the recent Amazonia Security Agenda report that addresses the security in the Amazon region from the perspective of water, energy, food, health and climate change.
Minister Pulgar – Vidal, Minister of Environment for Peru says “The concept of security is fundamental for improving decision-makers awareness of the implications of the threats to the provision of services, resources and ecosystem services.”
The report, prepared by the Global Canopy Programme (GCP) and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT),involved scientists and political leaders from Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. It lays out initial recommendations as building blocks for dialogue and action in each of these countries, in combination with intergovernmental collaboration to deploy coordinated responses to those shared threats.
According to Minister Pulgar – Vidal, “We are still not completely aware of how the Amazonia ecosystem supports water, energy, food and health security.” This is the reason why Minister Pulgar – Vidal considers the Amazonia Security Agenda report as “fundamental for decision makers in order for them to take action and make policies that aim to preserve the sustainable use of these resources and services.”
The report highlights how water, energy, food and health securities are all interdependent, but that water security fundamentally underpins all other securities. Growing threats to water vulnerability provides a critical nexus for decision-makers - providing new opportunities for impact.
The Amazonian Security Agenda report was funded and supported by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) and the Fundacion Futuro Latinoamericano (FFLA).
1) About the Amazonian Security Agenda report
To see the full report and animation visit segamazonia.org
Key findings from the report
a) Amazonia’s water is vital for the region’s economies:
- Nearly 20% of the rainfall in the La Plata basin (a region that generates 70% of the GDP of the 5 countries that share it) comes from Amazonia.
- Amazonian hydropower is vital for national electricity needs across the region: 39% in Ecuador, 35% in Bolivia, 22% in Peru, and 11% in Brazil. There is huge remaining potential (less than 1% exploited in Peru).
b) Tens of billions of dollars are being generated annually from Amazonia’s vast natural resources, but often with high environmental and social costs.
- Soyabean grain and beef from Brazil’s Legal Amazonia generated $7 billion and $1.6 billion respectively in export revenues in 2012.
- 99% Ecuador’s oil came from Amazonia, enabling crude oil exports of nearly $9 billion in 2010.
c) Economic development has historically resulted in deforestation. But by compromising Amazonia’s natural resources, deforestation now threatens not only the rights and wellbeing of local people, but also the sustainability of industries themselves.
- As many as 60% in the Bolivian Amazon, 37% in Ecuador, 23% in Peru and 17% in Brazil are estimated to be below the extreme poverty line.
- In the region of Madre de Dios, Peru, where large quantities of mercury have been used in gold-mining, 78% of adults in the regional capital tested for levels of mercury above international safety limits.
- Regional deforestation predicted to impact hydropower output, Belo Monte dam power output projected to be up to 36% lower by 2050 than in a fully forested scenario if current deforestation rates continue.
- Large-scale deforestation is predicted to reduce rainfall by up to 21% by 2050
- 21% of Amazonia is under some form of mining concessions and 18% of these overlap with officially recognised Indigenous Territories.
d) Climate change will increasingly multiply the threats to Amazonia’s security.
- Climate change is projected to increase the frequency and intensity of extreme events. One model predicts that Amazonia may suffer drought every other year by 2025.
- All-important rainfall patterns are changing, and while uncertain, we may expect a wetter western and drier eastern Amazon by 2050.
- Rising temperatures, potentially up by a game-changing 3.5 degrees C on average in Amazonia by 2050
- A recent study suggests that continued deforestation and climate change could lead to a 28% reduction in soya bean yields by 2050.