BRAZZAVILLE, REPUBLIC OF CONGO (October 31, 2023) — At the second Summit of the Three Basins, leaders, experts and scientists from the Amazon, Congo, and Southeast Asian forest basin countries emphasized the need for cooperation and knowledge sharing across these regions to protect these tropical forests. 

The second Three Basins Summit revives an ambition conceived at the first Summit in 2011 to develop a roadmap for collaboration among the Amazon, Congo and Southeast Asian countries. The Summit also supported the objectives of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and recognized the recent IPCC reports that stressed stopping deforestation by 2030 is fundamental to meeting the Paris Agreement goal to limit warming to 1.5 C.

Analysis from WRI’s Global Forest Watch shows that primary forest loss continued to rise in 2022 in many countries home to these forest basins, including Brazil, Bolivia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo; meanwhile Indonesia has reduced its primary forest loss more than any other country in recent years. New data from Brazil’s government has shown steep drops in deforestation this year after the Lula administration entered office.

WRI Brasil led a study that showed that a new economy is possible in the Amazon, where with the right policies Brazil could both end deforestation and create 833,000 new jobs, equitably growing the country’s economy. In Indonesia, WRI supported the government in mainstreaming the low-carbon narrative into 5-year development plan for 2020-2024, whereby using the Low Carbon Development scenario, the country could achieve 43% of emissions reduction by 2030. Recently, WRI and partners have been exploring opportunities for promoting similar green development narratives in the Congo Basin, starting with the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Following is a statement by Wanjira Mathai, managing director for Africa and global partnerships, World Resources Institute:

“There is no 1.5C without these tropical forests, which should signal to every government on earth the urgency of safeguarding them. There is also no protecting these forests without a laser-focus on building resilience and improving the livelihoods of the people who live within them.

“Despite its limitations, the Declaration offers a starting point for these countries to renew global collaboration to protect these vital forests. Now we need far more progress. The countries of the three basins should deepen their collaboration to attract more international finance and build a truly inclusive coalition where local voices are valued. There is so much they can learn from each other. 

“This Declaration underscores the importance of scientific cooperation that mainstreams knowledge from local institutions, Indigenous Peoples and local communities. The gap between knowledge and practice delays our ability to transform communities. Culture is the coded wisdom of a people, so how does it find its way into science?

"The pathways to implementing the roadmap must be aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement and the Global Biodiversity Framework. It was also encouraging that the summit provided a renewed focus on restoration, as 65 percent of Africa’s productive land is already degraded. 

“For the Congo Basin we see the promise that collaboration across these forest basins could offer for building a new economy, one which provides jobs and opportunities for the 150 million people living under its canopy. To provide those economic opportunities, leaders of our forest regions must think beyond carbon, and also value the water, clean air and biodiversity that these forests provide to communities, countries and the world.”