Amazon in the 21st Century: Natural Capital, Sustainable Development and Social Justice

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The current global scenario of tropical forest destruction and climate change has led societies to urgently think about new development paths that address the protection of biodiversity and social demands. The Amazon appears prominently in this discussion. The region is home to the greatest biological and cultural diversities in the world, responsible for guaranteeing essential ecosystem services for the well-being of humanity, including the regulation of the climate and the rainfall regime. 

In this context, the construction of new models for local development in the Amazon carries an immense responsibility and challenges. Proposing an economy that promotes the improvement of people's well-being and social equity, while combining technological innovation with nature conservation is part of that. 

The study “Amazon in the 21st Century: natural capital, sustainable development and social justice”, discusses strategies and shares positive local development experiences that integrate biodiversity protection, social rights and the well-being of local populations. The publication is coordinated by SITAWI Finanças do Bem and Instituto Juruá, within the scope of Juruá Middle Territory Program (PTMJ). 

Juruá Middle Territory Program

The program is a territorial development initiative focused on the Middle Juruá. The region has high ecological and social importance in the state of Amazonas. In this sense, the PTMJ aims to conservation of biodiversity and improvement in the quality of life of traditional and indigenous populations in the territory.

With programmatic and financial management carried out by SITAWI, a pioneering organization in the development of innovative financial solutions for social impact, the PTMJ has the support of USAID, Natura and Coca-Cola Brazil. The initiative connects several local implementation partners, such as the Association of Rural Producers of Carauari (ASPROC), Association of Agroextractive Residents of the Uacari Sustainable Development Reserve (AMARU), Association of Extractive Residents of the Community of São Raimundo (AMECSARA), Association of Agroextractive Women of the Middle Juruá (ASMAMJ) and Amazonas Sustainable Foundation (FAS). As strategic partners, it counts on the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio) and the Department of Climate Change and Management of Protected Areas (DEMUC/SEMA).

A social look at the Amazon bioeconomy concept

Bioeconomy, a concept under construction and played by different sectors of society, has become an extremely strong narrative in the Amazon, mainly due to the high availability of natural resources in the region. Although bioeconomy is still understood in different ways in the world, collectives and intersectorial networks have been contributing to a joint design of what is expected of a green economy for the Amazon. 

The understanding must be comprehensive, contemplating not only the need to ensure the ecological sustainability of natural resources, but also the human dimension, represented by cultural diversity, social rights, the immaterial value of biodiversity for local populations and the extensive system of knowledge that indigenous peoples and local communities have been developing throughout their existence.

Thinking about the social dimension within this concept is a fundamental step so that the territory is not the stage for new governance systems eager to reproduce old failed models, where Amazonian natural capital was exploited in a predatory way and the financial benefits of this exploitation never reached hands of the forest peoples.

Download the document for free here.