IUCN Statement | 25 Aug, 2019

IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature calls on the Brazilian and other governments and citizens to help halt the fires in Amazonia

The Amazon is one of the most important biomes on the planet. Shared by nine countries, it covers more than 8 million square kilometres and is home to some 30% of the world’s biodiversity. The Amazon is also one of the most important carbon stores in the world and vital for hydrological cycles in Latin America and throughout the planet. About 60% of the Amazon lies within the borders of Brazil, which means that whatever happens to this forest will affect the country in the same way, for better or for worse.

content hero image

Photo: © NOAA

The alarming forest fires are burning in protected areas, indigenous peoples’, communal and private lands. Faced with this emergency, it is imperative to bolster the work of local and national environmental organisations in Brazil. IUCN, together with its Members in Brazil and around the world, and its six Commissions of experts, stands ready to join these efforts.

It is vital to recognise that these protected areas, indigenous territories and local communities are the final bastion of protection for the world’s most important biodiversity, and a base for sustainable and social development. Indigenous people have demonstrated themselves to be successful guardians of the Amazon’s many riches.

Brazil has always been recognised as a megadiverse country, rich in culture, and one that seeks a balance between economic and social development on the one hand, and its rich heritage on the other. We know that, with a clear vision, determination and resources, the fires can be defeated. Hand-in-hand with the communities affected and a united society, the restoration work can begin. IUCN calls on the government of Brazil, together with its citizens and the international community, to urgently amplify the efforts to save the Amazon and to act to prevent similar disasters in the future.

“It is alarming to lose this unique space which provides so much wellbeing to our planet, right before our eyes,” said Grethel Aguilar, Acting Director General of IUCN. “It is urgent and essential that we demonstrate solidarity with Brazil’s efforts to stop these fires and begin restoration efforts. Failing to take action would be devastating for our entire planet and the people who live on it”.

Recognising the recent increase in efforts to attack the fires in the Amazon, IUCN urges the government of Brazil to use its full capacity to halt the disastrous fires, which will have such massive consequences on Brazil, its indigenous peoples and biodiversity. These efforts should count on the solidarity of all those who are willing and able to bring assistance. To save the Amazon from these fires is to give a second chance to all of humanity so that it may continue to enjoy the goods and services that nature provides.