Summary: The Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the Amazon (SDSN-Amazonia) was launched on March 18, 2014 at the Amazonas Sustainable Foundation (FAS, Fundação Amazonas Sustentável). SDSN-Amazonia articulates a regional network of knowledge centers, academia, civil society organizations, public and private sector institutions, and it aspires to accelerate design and implementation of paths and sustainable solutions for the Amazon region.

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The Amazon, the largest tropical forest in the world, involves eight countries and an overseas territory of France. It houses half of the planet’s biodiversity. It is also a crucial provider of ecosystem services and maintains climate and ecosystem stability locally, regionally and globally. The Amazon River alone provides about 15 % of total freshwater reaching oceans globally. More than 30 million people including 350 indigenous and ethnic groups (about 32 non- contacted groups in Brazil alone) live in the Amazon. The Amazon is highly diverse and heterogeneous and is the process of undergoing major changes. Major drivers of deforestation include large-scale infrastructure projects, cattle ranching and agricultural expansion, unsustainable natural resource extraction including mining, oil exploration and illegal logging, and climate change risks that can drive the Amazon forest to its tipping point.

Against this background the SDSN-Amazonia is established to identify novel technologies, business models, policies that have potential transformative impact on sustainable development of the Amazon.

The discussions at the launch of SDSN- Amazonia, highlighted the importance of the Rio +20 messages and its relevance for SDSN-Amazonia namely, to integrate the three dimensions of sustainable development (economic, environmental and social) and an enabling environment provided by governance; to pursue transformational undertakings, and to facilitate informed, evidence and scientific-base policy-making.

The needs to invest on science, technology, increase and enhance the quality of research and researchers in the Amazon to propose relevant solutions was stressed at the meeting. Restoration of degraded lands (18% in area) was considered of the highest priority. The rich diversity that characterises the Amazon region - with its forests, peoples, cultures and conditions - was pointed out. Hence, it was recommended that SDSN-Amazonia should focus on similarities rather than on differences.

The meeting also noted that sustainability issues are being mainstreamed in the business strategies of larger companies and it was pointed that this trend offers partnership opportunities among industry, public sector and academia to advance solutions.

SDSN-Amazonia could play a unique role as a problem solving network by providing: i) a political space for solutions development and sharing; ii) drawing from best science, businesses and civil society solutions; iii) mobilising media for massive public awareness, and iv) capacity building through a web-based platform provided by regional universities.

There was a general agreement of a prevailing momentum for transformation in the region, and that development of science, technology and education are crucial to achieve sustainable development in the Amazon, as is the need to scale-up projects and initiatives to address regional challenges. In this transformative change, the improvement human development conditions in the Amazon were considered of the highest priority.

SDSN – Amazonia could contribute in setting a vision on the “Amazon that We Want” in 2030, including an assessment of risks and opportunities. It could facilitate technical/analytical processes to develop SDGs for the Amazon informed by the Global SDGs being developed at the United Nations.

Download Launch Proceedings report: icon SDSN-Amazonia Launch Event Highlights Conclusions Final (863.9 kB)