The Project

What is at stake?

The Amazon River Basin forms a single hydrological system crossing national boundaries.  It extends over an area of 6.2 million square kilometres into the territory of eight countries that are very different from one another; each one of these countries being diverse within itself.

The whole Basin is being subject to deforestation due to cattle raising and agricultural activities; mining, logging, dam and road building.  Simultaneously it is witnessing various types of migratory flows and intense urban development, making the stakeholder landscape even more diverse. Unorganized human activity has rapidly changed the state of the forest cover and soil, jeopardizing its sustainability.

Despite being rich and beautiful, the Amazon region presents a weak social, political and educational infrastructure that shows difficulties in coping with a speedy rate of change and exponential growth.

What is needed?

The growing Amazon society needs to be given adequate tools to coordinate a shared regional strategy allowing for sustainable development of the Basin.  Such a strategy must allow Amazon Basin water management policies and practices to take into account climate variability and change as well as ground water resources, looking for vulnerability reduction of both people and ecosystems to extreme events.  It is urgent to develop a strong, shared and committed to Vision for the Basin to help governments, the private sector and society in general reach consensus on the road to follow towards sustainable development. Additionally, current and emerging issues have to be identified and analyzed using relevant technical and scientific knowledge.  This is a prerequisite to the building of a framework for joint action that will help mitigate the negative environmental and social impacts of the ongoing development process.

Response Strategies

GEF Amazonas(GEFAM is a UNEP-GEF implemented project that aims at responding to the complex issues of coordinating a common sustainable development strategy of the Amazon region.  It will allow the strengthening of the Amazon Basin’s institutional framework for planning and executing activities related to the management of its land and water resources, while allowing for legitimate socio-economic development of the region.  In this context the Amazon Cooperation Treaty (ACTO) was assigned the role of executing the project through enhanced political, economic and social integration.

A Vision for the Amazon Basin

Vision Amazonas is the initial sub-project of GEFAM that proposes the use of a participatory, multi-stakeholder methodology in the Amazon River Basin in order to:

  1. Understand the problems, needs and aspirations of the Basin stakeholders especially in relation to integrated water resource management.
  2. Identify key forces and build future development scenarios of the Amazon Basin.
  3. Consult and debate and model around the Amazon future scenarios to understand their implications for the Basin stakeholders.
  4. Use the scenarios and the consultations to formulate a shared vision for the common use of water resources.

Vision Amazonaswill also:

    • Serve as a basis for GEFAM to execute a Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis and a Strategic Action Program (TDA-SAP). The TDA-SAP is a UNEP developed resource assessment methodology based on technical and scientific identification of causal chain relations of critical hydro-environmental problems in river basins – from their physical, socio-economic, legal and politico-institutional aspects.
    • Be used by GEFAM as input for the development of a Communication and Financial Strategy.