In order to help address escalating violence, UN Environment has launched the UN Initiative for Environmental Defenders. This brief analyses the initiative and looks into how member states can support peace by engaging in environmental diplomacy, with a focus on Brazil.
Environmental defenders in Brazil are at risk — last year, 57 were assassinated and the numbers are increasing. The UN has launched a new initiative to address the escalating violence. This article shows the challenges faced by an activist from the Amazon region who fights for justice, and it notes how the Brazilian government can save lives while preventing unregulated exploitation in the region.
Fourteen Latin American and Caribbean countries made history at the UN General Assembly on September 27 by signing the Escazú Agreement, a regional accord on public participation and access to information and justice in environmental affairs. It is the first region-wide agreement of its kind and has been touted a big step forward in recognising the rights of environmental defenders. Signatories now need to ratify the Agreement internally before it can enter into force.
Jair Bolsonaro, Brasil’s current de facto presidential frontrunner, says he would withdraw Brazil from the Paris Agreement if he wins the October election. The withdrawal of such an important developing country, home to the world’s largest rainforest, would deal a blow to international climate cooperation. Bolsorano’s opposition to the international pact has drawn criticism from the UN’s environment chief.
In May 2018, the Brazilian Institute for Climate and Society and the German Embassy in Brazil hosted an event on international climate and security in Rio de Janeiro. The meeting, joined by experts from the public sector, civil society and international think tanks, reflects Latin America’s increased interest in the international dimension of climate fragility risks.
The peace process in Colombia highlights the need to deepen the dialogue on national and local level. But how dialogue can work in fragmented societies? What are the regional experiences in countries like Guatemala or Mexico which could help to position dialogue as tool for conflict transformation and peace building? International and national experts will analyze dialogue about environmental and social issues and invite the audience to discuss the challenges and opportunities of constructive dialogue in Latin America.
Colombia is now closer than ever to finding a peaceful resolution to generations of violence. With so much to gain in a post-conflict world - as much for the Colombian people as for their environment - the sudden prospect of losing it all will make for tense months ahead writes Forest Ray.
The Spanish version of the Exhibition Environment, Conflict and Cooperation (ECC) that includes a specific module on South America is currently shown in Chile in cooperation with the NGO Fundación Terram. During 9-20 May, the Exhibition was hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of Chile. The launch event on 10 May was attended by over a hundred participants: foreign policy, defence and environmental decision makers from Chile, representatives of several Latin American countries, Germany and USA, as well as members of Chilean and international civil society.
As a result of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's ongoing visit to Brazil, China and Brazil Tuesday signed a joint statement on addressing the climate change issue together for a common vision of sustainable development.
The struggle to save the Amazon rainforest received some major setbacks in recent months. A series of murders of rainforest activists have shaken Brazil. Moreover, lawmakers are contemplating relaxing laws protecting the rainforest.