Amazon countries ask IADB to structure financing for sustainability initiative

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Leaders from Amazon countries on Tuesday said they will ask the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) to structure a financing initiative meant to channel funds for sustainable development in the forest.

FILE PHOTO: Colombia's President Ivan Duque speaks during an interview with Reuters, amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Bogota, Colombia June 26, 2020. REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez

The presidents of Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia and Ecuador and representatives from Guyana and Suriname held a virtual summit to discuss continued protection efforts for the Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest and a critical bulwark against climate change.

“In protection of our sovereignty, of our environmental sovereignty, we are more united than ever so the results we have incorporated into our action plan can have financing, have viability and have the desired impact,” Colombian President Ivan Duque said in his opening remarks.

Widespread fires last year sparked increased concern for the Amazon, where blazes are again surging.

The seven countries last year signed a pact to protect the Amazon via disaster response coordination and satellite monitoring.

The countries will ask the IADB to “formulate, structure, implement and administer the Financing Initiative for Sustainable Development and Bio-Economy for the Amazon,” they said in a joint statement. Funds would come from public, private and multilateral banks but no dollar amount was specified.

The initiative looks to “guarantee the better channeling and execution of funds from all the available financing mechanisms,” the statement added.

The fund will provide resources to help change production patterns, back no-waste economic activity, support sustainable cities, infrastructure and tourism and fight illegal activities.

It will also support disaster prevention and attention and forest monitoring, the statement said.

The countries will also seek to hold a summit with the private sector and other actors to work on potential investment in conservation-oriented production chains, they said.

Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Cynthia Osterman