Amazon Sustainable Landscapes
Dear Friends,
This year has highlighted our ability to adapt to new challenges and our resilience in the face of unexpected emergencies. While there have been innumerable losses to human lives and livelihoods and fear around an uncertain future, there is hope that treatments, care, and continuous solidarity will help stem the pandemic and its immediate effects. This year has been a wake-up call—human health is inextricably linked to ecosystem health. That means in our field of work we must continue to collaborate and coordinate to address the drivers that are damaging our relationship with nature. Rebuilding and repairing the damage in a sustainable way will take a concerted effort, and at the ASL we hope to contribute with these changes together with our partners and stakeholders.

We would like to thank you for your support in making the ASL community effective in preserving terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and in promoting the social and cultural fabric that underpins sustainable economies. The year 2020 was a time to slow down and postpone activities, but it also renewed our commitment and purpose to create opportunities for knowledge sharing and learning and to promote joint actions to conserve our beloved Amazon.

As we look to 2021, we know unique challenges will arise, but we stand ready to help. The ASL will kickstart the second phase by welcoming new projects into our community. As we end this year, we want to recap the activities that have been undertaken by the program. Please take a look at our Annual Conference report that summarizes the recent conference and read about our progress.

We wish you Happy Holidays and a joyful and healthy 2021!
Warm regards,

The ASL Team 
News at a glance (scroll down to read more)
  • Recap of the ASL's virtual annual conference
  • Community engagement and conservation agreements in the heart of the Colombian Amazon
  • What has the ASL achieved in 2020? 
  • A warm farewell to Adriana Moreira as ASL's Program Coordinator
  • Welcome Ana María González Velosa as ASL's new Program Coordinator
  • Virtual Knowledge Events
The ASL hosted its third annual conference virtually October 21–22, 2020. During the event, the program teams, agencies, and partners shared knowledge and experience on biodiversity conservation and sustainable landscape management in the Amazon. The conference focused on key themes such as the ASL’s contribution to reduce zoonotic diseases, sustainable value chains for the recovery of the Amazon, and the power of the Amazonian knowledge as the basis for a sustainable future.

There was discussion around the new reality brought about by COVID-19 and its effects on program implementation; there were also new ideas and strategies proposed that could contribute to the resilience of the Amazon ecosystem. The conference welcomed participation of new friends and project teams from Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Guyana, Ecuador, Peru, and Suriname involved with the second phase of the program.
Community engagement and conservation agreements in the heart of the Colombian Amazon
Through the ASL Heart of the Amazon project, farmers from the Caquetá and Guaviare region in the Colombian Amazon, have agreed to:

  • Conserve their land as standing forests
  • Commit to no deforestation
  • Restore degraded areas
  • Develop agroforestry projects 
  • Enable sustainable forest use

This is based on voluntary agreements that provide legal and de facto landowners with a range of benefits conditional on specified conservation actions or outcomes. The ASL’s Berenice Sanchez and program coordinator Ana María González write about the success of these conservation agreements and the process to scale up its results in this story.

Photo: Cartagena de la Chairá, Caquetá, Colombia. Credit: Corpoamazonía 
What has the ASL achieved in 2020? 
Despite the impact of COVID-19 throughout the year, the ASL projects demonstrated great adaptive management capacity at a time when it was imperative to remain present in the territory. As a result, efforts were supported to assist people during the emergency and decentralized strategies were developed that combined virtual and face-to-face activities, the latter under biosecurity protocols. Projects continued to move towards meeting their goals for better management of protected areas and the development of sustainable production systems. 2020 demonstrated the importance of strengthening activities that enable local empowerment, such as community monitoring and leader training, among others.

In the case of the Brazil Amazon Sustainable Landscapes project, what stands out is the progress with the consolidation of the conservation units including their management plans, which already total 60 million hectares. Progress was also made in the forest concession processes in the states of Amazonas and Pará and restoration in Rondonia.

Peru's Securing the Future of Peru´s Natural Protected Areas project updated the master plans for the four prioritized protected areas and made progress in developing the theirsurveillance and control strategies. In addition to transferring $5 million to the transition fund of the mechanism Heritage of Peru. The Sustainable Productive Landscapes in the Peruvian Amazon project advanced in the design of a national plan to promote cacao, and on a local and regional scale supported the Concerted Regional Development Plans and Community Life Plans with 12 native communities.

The protected areas and Ramsar sites targeted by Colombia's Heart of the Amazon project continued to improve their management effectiveness, and in addition, conservation agreements continued to be signed in the departments of Caquetá and Guaviare. Supported by the project, the mechanism for financing the National System of Protected Areas of Colombia, Herencia Colombia, advanced in its final design phase, securing resources from the carbon tax and donor commitments. The Sustainable Amazon for Peace project supported the development of state-level climate change integrated management plans, the development of sustainable production systems in 100,000 hectares, and supported the process leading to the financing of over 60 subprojects through the initiative "Women Caregivers of the Amazon”.

These and other details will be shared with the ASL community in early 2021 in our annual report.
A warm farewell to Adriana Moreira as ASL's Program Coordinator 
The ASL family would like to thank Adriana Moreira, ASL Program Coordinator from 2015–2020, for leading the ASL. Together with Claudia Sobrevila, they worked tirelessly to channel government commitment to make the ASL program a reality. Her commitment and passion helped build a solid foundation for the program. During her time at the World Bank, Adriana led a series of large projects in Latin America, focusing on Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico and promoted biodiversity conservation, natural resource management, and rural development.
We cherish all the good times shared together and wish her the best of luck in her new position as Senior Biodiversity Specialist at the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
Welcome Ana Maria as ASL's new Program Coordinator
Ana María González Velosa, Senior Environment Specialist at the World Bank, has taken over the role of ASL Program Coordinator. Ana Maria has worked for the ASL since 2018, more recently sharing the coordination, and brings with her 20+ years of experience in sustainable development and natural resource management and hopes to continue the strong dialogue with governments, communities, donors, and partners.
Virtual Knowledge Events
Replay previous events:
Amazon Sustainable Landscapes: Connectivity for its Conservation
As part of the Ficamazonía El Vuelo del Agua film festival, a session to present the ASL was held on December 18, 2020. It allowed the team to share a general view of the program and its goals to promote landscape connectivity and regional collaboration. The session was enriched by the participation of Martha Cuba, Director of the Office of Cooperation and International Affairs within Peru's Ministry of Environment and Andrea Encalada, co-chair of the Science Panel for the Amazon (SPA), who shared their insights about the program and their current and potential role towards the region’s sustainable development.

See presentation here (video in Spanish)
Honoring the Guardians of the Amazon
We would like to acknowledge the work and commitment of the women and men—including indigenous leaders—who have lost their lives this year for multiple reasons including COVID-19 while dedicating their time to protect and preserve the Amazon. It is with profound admiration and respect that we recognize their contribution and passion to build a better world. We celebrate and honor the lives of heroes like Javier Francisco Parra Cubillos from Colombia (pictured right) who led by example and dedication to protect biodiversity and conserve the forest. Photo credit: Cormacarena 
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