Should 80 percent of the Amazon be proclaimed a safeguarded region in the year 2025?
On Sunday, the top conservation body in the world is poised to make a decision on whether its 1,400 members can make a formal indication of their choice on this contentious proposal which indigenous groups put forward.
Presented under an emergency provision to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the measure demands a "global action plan" so as to put a stop to uncontrolled deforestation and the extraction of valuable minerals and oil which could be destructive.
As per assessments on the basis of satellite data, the Amazon has lost approximately 10,000 square kilometers annually over the last two decades.
A leader of the Curripaco people in Venezuela whose name is Jose Gregorio Diaz Mirabal, told AFP at the Congress venue in Marseille: "That's the emergency, not just for us but for humanity."
Native groups are now choosing members together with government agencies and international or national NGOs for the first time in the 70-year history of IUCN.
Destruction of Tropical Forests
Jose Gregorio presented the Amazon proposal for the organization COICA, representing over two million native people in about nine Amazon nations.
He said: "We have been neglected, and now we have a voice and will exercise that voting right."
Massive destruction of tropical forests coupled with climate change are forcing the Amazon to a catastrophic "tipping point" and this would see tropical forests lose to savannah-like landscapes, recent research warned.
Scientists say this would not just change the climate of the region to a great extent, but also have an impact on global climate systems.
Other research has revealed that in the forests, rates of tree loss decrease rapidly where indeginous peoples inhabit, mostly if they have some degree of title over land - either legal or customary.
What will Happen if the Amazon Rainforest Disappears?
Together with 20 other proposals presented after the deadline in 2020 IUCN officials are assessing the COICA measure, "to make sure they are both 'new' and 'urgent'," said a senior administrator whose name is Enrique Lahmann. He said both criteria are needed.
His office said late Sunday or Monday the conclusion made will be announced. While the vote to be conducted in the week to come, would not possess legal weight, it shows the strength of feeling among native groups.
Diaz Mirabalm, in an emotional press conference - surrounded by indigenous rulers from Ecuador and French Guiana - pleaded with world leaders to take heed of his message.
He said: "We are asking governments to help us protect our territory, which is also the territory of humanity. Because if the Amazon rainforest disappears, people will die everywhere, it's that simple. "
It is important to discontinue the extraction of the oil, the uranium, and the gold. "This is wealth for the United States, Russia, Europe, and China, but is poverty for us," he added.
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