I would like to remark the importance of the Parliamentarians for Peace program. As a new Brazilian Member of Parliament, it is very rewarding to participate in such a diverse group, with parliamentarians from different parts of the world.
Bringing together Europeans, Africans, Middle Easterns, Latin Americans and Asians gives us new hope in strengthening values such as Democracy, Humanity, Fight for peace and seeing the World as one.
The P4P Program is very useful to rethink our position (as an MP, as a Brazilian, as a human in this so damaged environment) and exchange experiences with other realities.
The world and a significant part of the Brazilian population are shocked by the unbridled increase in the rate of deforestation in the Amazon, causing enormous damage to Brazil's image and reputation. And this happens due to the absence of command and control actions, poor environmental management, disregard for the human rights of indigenous peoples and failures in the fight against COVID-19. International investors, buyers and parliamentarians (notably Europeans) expressed their concern on several occasions and demanded solutions, pressing Brazil to present a plan, a vision or even a set of credible actions that could change this sad and unacceptable reality.
As Members of Parliament, it is possible to harmonize the protection of our biodiversity, culture and indigenous peoples with prosperity based on an inclusive and sustainable economy. The problem of deforestation and poor management of our environmental assets is nothing new. We have the largest tropical forest in the world and we are the country that most destroys its forests. We are record holders in biodiversity at the same time we have the largest number of threatened species (1,173).
However, the current government, led by the Ministry of the Environment, applies interest and competence to lead to raising this problem, to the point that this debate becomes necessary. Important structures to combat deforestation have been strategically dismantled. Regulatory frameworks were changed and an environment was created that stimulated the action of illegal and deforestation workers in the region. The biggest victim was as an area of public forest, consequently destruction of society's patrimony. Protected areas are being invaded, including indigenous lands.
A large number of studies generated by university, civil society and government agencies indicate that during the pandemic, deforesters did not have a home office and deforestation rates increased significantly. This year they may reach 15 thousand km2.
With the arrival of the drought period in the Amazon, an increase in the outbreaks of the forest can already be observed. Without taking immediate action, the situation could be worse than in 2020.
We need investments in public policies to combat deforestation, in command and control actions that value the standing forest, reforestation, and in the inclusion of small family farmers and local communities. We need investments in companies and sectors that are committed to the complete tracking of their value chain, as well as valuation of biodiversity products and payment for environmental services.
The reality will only be changed with the implementation of concrete actions that can be monitored by society with total transparency. But from now on, a concrete commitment is needed to resolve it. We have no room for denial or greenwash. The fight against climate change involves the end of illegal deforestation of tropical forests wherever they are happening. And we don't have much time. The time has come to act.
In parliament, we have every interest in working on the construction of a set of emergency actions with the private sector and the government to combat deforestation and illegality in the Amazon. We know it won't be easy. The fight against illegalities must be permanent.
We will continue with this urgent dialogue, invest in our renewable energy matrix and our biomes, fight the climate crisis and guarantee the prosperity of this and future generations. The world thanks you.
Rodrigo Agostinho is a Member of the Brazilian Parliament and the President of the Parliamentary Environmentalist Front.