Strengthening the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO)

Project description

Title: Strengthening the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ); Directorate-General for International Cooperation of the Government of the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DGIS)
Country: Member States of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, Venezuela
Lead executing agency: Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (Organização do Tratado de Cooperação Amazônica); headquarters in Brasilia
Overall term: 2013 to 2017

Brazil. Logo Organización de Tratado de Cooperación Amazónica

Context
The Amazon region is home to the world’s largest area of contiguous tropical rain forest. This unique ecosystem shelters a large proportion of global diversity, and holds 20 per cent of all the fresh water on earth. As such it has a considerable influence on the South American climate. The region is also the living and working environment for a culturally diverse local population. As the Amazon region is opened up for commercial activity, it is increasingly affected by logging activities and the extraction of mineral resources, as well as the conversion of forest into agricultural and grazing land.

It will only be possible to achieve an economically, socially and ecologically sustainable policy on natural resources management in the Amazon region if the relevant actors agree on common goals and new rules. Since 2002, the eight Member Countries of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO) – Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela – have had access to a Permanent Technical Secretariat that organises regional development measures and cooperation between countries on behalf of the different foreign ministries.

Objective
ACTO is capable of developing and implementing regionally coordinated cross-border policies for sustainable development in the Amazon region that meet the demands of its member countries.

Brazil. Workshop to evaluate satellite images. © GIZ

Approach
GIZ is working with the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization, its regional and national organisational units and the relevant ministries in the eight member countries. It is supporting partners in their efforts to carry out ACTO’s duties effectively and to put in place a strategic agenda for cooperation in the Amazon region between 2010 and 2018.

The project is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Directorate-General for International Cooperation of the Government of the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DGIS).

It works in the following areas:

  • supporting regional and thematic forums
  • implementing regional projects for sustainable development
  • establishing a system for environmental information and human capacity development
  • strengthening ACTO institutionally and building up its networking capacity at international level.

Results

  • All the countries bordering the Amazon have control stations from which they can monitor deforestation. Using satellite imagery, these stations can deliver prompt and reliable information about existing forests and enable targeted inspections to counter illegal logging.
  • The first official deforestation map of the entire Amazon region, based on surveys conducted between 2010 and 2013, is now available and is being constantly updated. The map has been presented to expert audiences at international conferences, including Rio+20 and the UN World Forestry Congress.
  • The Amazon countries have agreed to introduce an electronic authorisation procedure (e-permits) for trade in endangered species of wild flora and fauna as part of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Implementation of this procedure will begin in 2016.
  • DNA structures have been identified for the 17 most traded tree species in the region. These will enable forest and customs authorities to quickly and easily carry out checks to prevent the illegal timber trade.
  • ACTO’s regional project portfolio has grown from USD 2 million in 2010 to USD 36 million in 2015.

Brazil – boat on the Amazon © GIZ