Although the main responsibility for protecting the Brazilian Amazon rests with national actors, international cooperation represents an important complement in the effort to address and prevent environmental and associated crimes, such as invasion of public lands, illegal deforestation, illegal logging and illegal mining. In fact, although Amazon basin countries — including Brazil — traditionally place a strong emphasis on the concept of national sovereignty, for decades the region has featured a myriad cooperative arrangements among States, government agencies, Armed Forces, municipalities, civil society entities, local communities and private sector companies.
However, international cooperation around the Amazon is going through a period of strong retraction, precisely at a time when environmental degradation and its socioeconomic impacts in the region reach new levels. In this context, it becomes even more urgent to understand not only the obstacles, but also the possibilities of joining forces with external actors in responses to — and prevention of — environmental crimes in the region. More broadly, it is necessary to identify the potential for cooperation with external actors in the search for effective solutions to maintain the standing forest while offering Amazonian communities a fairer, more inclusive and more sustainable approach to development. What types of cooperation against environmental crimes in the Amazon have existed in the past, and what are their impacts? What are the main gaps, and how can they be filled given the current context?
This report, which accompanies a database produced by the Plataforma CIPÓ — the Mapping of International Cooperation in the Amazon — seeks to provide inputs so that advocacy groups, researchers and other stakeholders, both in Brazil and abroad, can identify different models of cooperation against environmental crimes in Brazil (and, more broadly, the Amazon), assess their effectiveness, seek new paths, and strengthen the potential of international cooperation in the region.
The report offers a typology of international cooperation arrangements relevant to combating environmental crimes in the Amazon, organized according to three main categories: normative (including binding and non-binding agreements), financing (bilateral, trilateral and multilateral), and operational initiatives (direct actions of cooperation at national and subnational levels). Based on the typology and its analysis, we offer a series of recommendations so that the resumption of international cooperation against environmental crimes in the Amazon can be strengthened.