Unceded Algonquin Anishinaabe Territories [OTTAWA] (September 6 2019): Canadian environmental and labour organizations join forces today to petition the Canadian government to ensure the Mercosur trade agreement being negotiated with Brazil and the other Mercosur countries protects the Amazon from escalating deforestation and prioritizes the sustainability of this critical resource as one of the most important tools for mitigating climate change and cooling the planet by absorbing an important amount of global carbon emissions. The Amazon is also the most diverse ecosystem on land and helps stabilize rain cycles in South America.
These Groups are contacting the offices of Canadian Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Innovation, Science & Social Development, Environment & Climate Change, and International Trade to reiterate our concern that any deal with the current administration in Brazil will exacerbate the risks to basic human and environmental rights in the region. Canada has not assured Canadians that the Mercosur trade deal contains enforceable provisions which uphold environment and climate protections, labour and Indigenous rights. The groups also want assurance that future negotiations with Mercosur countries are transparent and provide citizens with the right to participate. In light of the Canadian government’s continued insistence to pursue these trade negotiations, it is of critical importance for the protection of the Amazon that Canada takes steps to reassure Canadians that economic and diplomatic relations with Brazil will actively seek the protection of the most diverse ecosystem on earth.
- Canada hosted its first round of negotiations with Mercosur countries on 20 March 2018.
- Canada is one of the top destinations of Brazillian exports.
- Up to 18 August 2019, the number of forest fires grew by 70% this year according to WWF-Brazil.
- Deforestation in the Amazon is escalating. Every year, deforestation accounts for around 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions. About half of total deforestation happens in South America, predominantly in the Amazon.
- The United Nations has recognized that increasing demand and growth in competition for natural resources, which tends to be accentuated by free trade agreements, has caused a ‘global land rush,’ placing Indigenous peoples, local communities and the environment under unsustainable pressure.
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