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Press release

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Indigenous communities must be a priority in protecting the Amazon rainforest

Commenting on UK prime minister Boris Johnson's announcement of new funding to tackle deforestation in the Amazon, Christian Aid’s Bolivia country manager Emma Donlan said:

“While we welcome the announcement of a £10 million increase in funding to step up efforts to protect and restore the Amazon rainforest region, we would urge the UK government to ensure it is spent in a way that both fully supports the people of the Amazon and fully involves them in the process. This process must be led by the very people who are most affected.

“As the G7 concludes its meeting, the time is now to stop talking and start taking the urgent action needed to save our planet. We cannot sit by and watch while the lungs of the planet burn. The unprecedented wildfires currently raging through the Amazon rainforest are devastating for all of us, but particularly the one million indigenous people that live there.
 
“We would urge world leaders, including UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, to lead the way in calling for urgent action to protect vulnerable communities, who are in most immediate danger as a result of these fires, and have for years been on the frontline of protecting and defending this fragile ecosystem against destructive policies and practices in the forests. Christian Aid stands in solidarity with our local partners and environmental rights defenders across the Amazon, who often face intimidation and threats for speaking out protect the Amazon and fight for the rights of those who live there.
 
“Christian Aid also welcomes news that the UK will be doubling its Green Climate Fund contribution from £720 million over the past four years to £1.44 billion over next four years, including ambitious targets to protect diversity. The people who live in the Amazon forest and other vital natural environments must be at the heart of protecting these vulnerable and diverse ecosystems.
 
“We must focus on aid and initiatives that support both and stand in solidarity with communities fighting exploitative companies and leaders.
 
“As the Synod of Bishops on the Amazon is scheduled to meet in Rome in October, Christian Aid is among 79 faith-based organisations who have signed “Somos las Amazonia” – a declaration of support calling on protection of the rainforest and the human right defenders in the region.”