Response

Brazilian lawmakers mobilize to create permanent forum to monitor the Amazon

In the Senate, a new committee will investigate perpetrators and reasons behind wildfire and deforestation operations

Representatives and activists expect to create permanent forums to monitor the Amazon / Minority Leader's office/Brazil's Chamber of Deputies

Two parliamentary fronts held a unified meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 28, in Brazil’s lower house to discuss the increasing rate of wildfires and deforestation in the country.

Concurrently, representatives are organizing a parliamentary investigation committee in the Senate to investigate responsibilities after the country witnessed a wave of illegal fires in the Amazon that shocked the world.

Lawmakers, representatives of the People’s Brazil Front and the People Without Fear Front, environmental organizations and religious organizations, including the Pastoral Land Commission and the Missionary Council for Indigenous Peoples, took part in the meeting at the lower house, as well as the Brazilian Bar Association and the Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science.

“It was a historical meeting,” congresswoman and minority leader Jandira Feghali said. “We have it very clear that it’s a tragedy, and someone is responsible for it. And it’s the government. Here we are conceiving a permanent forum that will encourage the creation of regional forums. We have to push this agenda out there, mobilizing society.”

The next demonstrations in defense of education, which are expected to take place on Sep. 7, will incorporate the environmental agenda, the student organizations that attended the meeting said.

Investigation

In the Brazilian Senate, representative Randolfe Rodrigues managed to gather the number of signatures needed to submit a petition to create a parliamentary investigation committee (CPI) for the Amazon. The senator said the parliament needs to tackle the problem.

The goal of the CPI is to look into the reasons that led to the significant increase in deforestation and wildfire episodes in such a short time span and the factors that resulted in foreign countries suspending their donations to the Amazon Fund.

Earlier this month, Rodrigues said, the Federal Prosecution Service reported that cattle ranchers and big farmers started to organize a “fire day” to coordinate a massive burnoff of trees in the Amazon. “But no action was taken,” the senator added. “Given the circumstances, we understand how necessary a constructive parliamentary investigation committee is.”

The CPI will have 120 days to investigate the events and present its findings after it is officially established.

Edition: João Paulo Soares | Translated by Aline Scátola