The group talks cooperation and sustainable development in the Amazon
By Karine Melo
With representatives from Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Suriname, Guiana, Ecuador, and French Guiana, the Amazon Parliament (Parlamaz) was reinstated on Monday (Dec. 21). Created 32 years ago, the group aims to establish integrated policies and deepen relations between member countries in the discussion on Amazon-related issues, promoting cooperation and sustainable development in the Amazon region.
“Our main agenda right now is the protection of our huge heritage built by the Amazon Forest, adding up to 7 million square kilometers of sheer richness, the most biodiverse region on the planet,” Brazilian Senator Nelsinho Trad pointed out, unanimously elected to preside over Parlamaz.
During an online meeting with collegiate members held today (21), Trad said members have up to January 21 name candidates for the vice-presidency as well as appointments for the group’s work plan. The date for the next Amazon Parliament gathering has not been fixed yet.
Created on April 17, 1989, Parlamaz was operational for a few years, but was subsequently disassembled. The idea to bring it back together after an eight-year hiatus, came in 2019, after a meeting with country members of at the Ecuador assembly. According to Nelsinho Trad, after the assembly decisive debates were held on resuming the initiative.
“Our intention is to give native peoples a voice, and offer not just a temporary project, but a definitive contribution to linger forever. The restoration of Parlamaz represents an important stride, and result may make a decisive and firm impact on our future,” he stated.
In the view of Colombian Representative Juan David Velez, another major challenge facing country members is suggesting efforts to protect the environment as a whole. “For us, Parlamaz will bring synergy to the [Amazon] region, with a focus on measures that boost sustainable productivity and wealth. We don’t want to continue with poverty, and we need to tackle the topic in a responsible manner,” he said.
One of the Bolivian officials, Representative Marta Ruiz Flores, said the Bolivian Parliament is committed to the cause. Together, she said, the countries making up Parlamaz may bring about key changes for the sustainability of the Amazon biome.
In the opinion of Mazoor Nadir, president of the Guiana’s National Assembly, global warming has wrought changes and consequences that cannot be measured, but must be tackled. He made special mention of Parlamaz’s responsibility regarding environmental legislation. “We’re talking about a law with the unified power of presenting figures and finding solutions. Our time to act is now,” he said.
Brazilian Representative Léo Moraes said that, in addition to standing up for Amazon residents—including indigenous people and riverside communities—the group must engage all of the population living in the area. “We have to protect and forge an alliance for the interest in development and progress, thinking, above all, of our sovereignty. No one is better than the residents and explorers of this region themselves to convey the experiences inherent to these far-away parts, and we’re ready to promote this good debate,” he declared.
For Carlos Alberto Lázare Teixeira, of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (OTCA), Parlamaz is a channel for dialog and cooperation among legislative branches in those countries, key to consolidating the state policies required by the Amazon.