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1 Jul 2024

Environmental Justice Foundation

South America: CSOs send letter to leaders of European Parliament calling for help to protect the Pantanal, threatened by agribusiness

Agência Brasil - EBC

"South American civil society organisations to Leaders of the European Parliament: Please help save the Pantanal from unprecedented fires", 01 July 2024

...We, the undersigned civil society organizations from Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay, write to ask for your help to save and restore the world’s largest tropical wetland, the Pantanal, which faces unprecedented fires...

...Spanning 42 million acres, the Pantanal is home to a vast array of species, many of which are vulnerable or endangered. It is an important carbon sink and plays a critical role in climate regulation for South America. The Pantanal is also home to 1.2 million people, including eleven Indigenous territories. However, the vast majority of the Pantanal is unprotected and increasingly threatened by extensive fire.

...This is the result of climate change and reckless land conversion within the Pantanal and on its outskirts. The deforestation within the floodplain is happening mostly to intensify cattle production - driven by international demand for cheap commodities, including from the EU. In the surrounding areas, native vegetation is being replaced by soy plantations, largely for export, compromising the rivers that flow to the Pantanal that are essential to guaranteeing its hydrological balance...

Now at the start of your new parliamentary term, and in view of climate COP30, in Bélem next year, we urge you, leaders of the European Parliament, to consider what more the EU can do to help protect and restore the Pantanal - and similarly threatened wetlands - as central to protecting our climate and biodiversity. Concretely, we ask you to support candidate Commissioners who: Recognise the indispensable role of wetlands in protecting our biodiversity and regulating our climate, and; Commit to increasing their protection, including by expanding the scope of the EU’s deforestation regulation to cover wetlands and funding the restoration of globally critical wetlands, like the Pantanal, such as via Wetland Partnerships...