29/03/2021.- On 29 March 2021, a group of nearly 100 Catholic institutions, led by The Special Commission on Integral Ecology and Mining for the Brazilian Bishops’ Conference (CNBB), the international Catholic network Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) and the German Catholic Church Bank Bank für Kirche und Caritas (BKC) sent a letter to high-ranking Brazilian government representatives and officials with clear demands to protect the Amazon and the indigenous people living there.
In the last two years, the number of fires detected in the Amazon has increased exponentially. As a result, deforestation has reached record levels. For this reason, in their letter, the Catholic investors claim to be “extremely concerned about the continuing destruction of the Amazon rainforest”.
“This devastating environmental damage”, says the letter, “is in stark contrast to the Catholic guiding theme of preserving creation and the call of his holiness Pope Francis to protect the climate and the environment in the encyclical Laudato Si’”. They also point out that the duty to protect the Amazon is not only due to the value of this precious and unique ecosystem, which constitutes “the lungs of the world”, but also to the respect we owe its inhabitants.
As they remind us in their letter, the environmental degradation of the Amazonian territory caused by land grabbing for agricultural, cattle, logging or mining projects and the legal or illegal occupation of forests not only contributes to its destruction, but also to the violation of human rights and forced displacement of communities, and even the assassination of indigenous leaders.
The Catholic investment funds and institutions signing the letter warn that if the Brazilian government fails in its duty to protect the Amazon and its people, it may lead to a loss of investor confidence, jeopardising the value of their government bonds, the ability of Brazilian companies to attract funds and the marketing of products produced in Brazil. The growing social and environmental awareness of consumers and investors should be a driver of change in the right direction and the role of the Brazilian government is important in this regard.
For that reason, the letter invites the Brazilian government to draw up a clear plan of action which, in a first step, should implement the following objectives:
- Implementation of strict environmental protection legislation
- Monitoring and compliance with environmental legislation
- Concrete plan on how to combat deforestation, with a budget and intermediate targets to be measured
- Massive upgrading of fire fighting and IBAMA resources in the Amazon
- Lifting restrictive provisions against non-governmental organisations and launching a stakeholder dialogue on environmental measures
- Protection of the land and the human rights of the indigenous population with quantifiable, time bound obligations and measures
- Expropriation of land that has been unlawfully appropriated and public disclosure of this information
- Afforestation activities and annual reporting on progress
You can read the letter to Brazilian Authorities and the full list of signatories, here.