Washington, D.C. — The Center for American Progress today released “Climate Change, Migration, and Conflict in the Amazon and the Andes,” which examines the interactions of climate change, environmental degradation, migration, and conflict in the Amazon, the tropical savannahs of Brazil and Bolivia, and the arid coastal plain of Peru. This report offers several recommendations for individual countries—and the region as a whole—to improve their preparation and planning for the future.
Preparing the region for climate change and incentivizing sustainable development will help reduce a number of economic, environmental, humanitarian, and security risks. This report examines how the absence of an effective government presence in managing the immense mineral wealth and energy resources of the Amazon, rural livelihoods have been undermined, illicit economies have flourished, drug trafficking organizations and non-state actors have put down deep roots, and the unregulated exploitation of natural resources and vulnerable populations continues apace. As both the Amazon and the Andes are major contributors to the global supply chain, macroeconomic growth, and global food security, working to resolve these problems now will be critical to preventing future conflict in the region caused by stresses like climate change and migration.
Conversely, economic growth will be served if regional agriculture is prepared for the projected impact of climate change, helping both large-scale agribusiness and small-hold farmers. Improving the resilience of small holders and insulating rural society will, in turn, decrease the strain on overstressed cities.
Some recommendations outlined in this report include:
- Better monitoring and early warning systems for climate data at the national and international levels, requiring equipment, financial aid, and human capital
- Removal or realignment of project-evaluation standards that penalize sustainable options because of higher upfront costs
- A focus on smaller-scale projects, in consultation with local communities, as they can be more effective and politically palatable than large-scale, centrally controlled infrastructure projects
- Opening and improving access to credit in peripheral areas and protecting vulnerable populations from predatory lending rates
- Rationalizing and prioritizing funds for climate-related activities to improve current financial fragmentation and improve results
- Accelerating cooperation between the United States, Brazil, and other countries in the region for addressing climate and security concerns
Climate change, particularly the melting of the Andean glaciers, and the continuing expansion of extractive industry and agriculture into new parts of the Amazon and the Cerrado, are combining with economic interests to drive people into new areas, particularly the Amazon periphery. Many sustainable development projects, particularly adaptation efforts, can help accommodate new migrants, provide livelihoods, and expand and improve governance in marginal areas.
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