The Amazon protection Plan

Policy Recommendations for U.S. Action for Amazon Forests

Amazon Protection Plan

The Amazon Protection Plan focuses on four core policy levers to protect the Amazon rainforest, and to provide benefits for Amazon nations and the global community. The Climate Principals recommend the administration commits to pursuing the plan in close partnership with indigenous and environmental advocates, business leaders, and national and subnational governments to secure the future of this vital natural resource.

Protecting the Amazon

Core principles & Policies

While success will depend on coordinated global action, the United States will need to do its part to mobilize needed funding for the Amazon region. The Biden-Harris administration should consider:

  • Inviting CEOs of major U.S. companies to a White House summit to secure corporate commitments to collectively finance at least one billion tons of greenhouse gas emission reductions in the Amazon by 2025.
  • Working with Congress to expand the Tropical Forest & Coral Reef Conservation Act to enable the administration to negotiate debt-for-climate swaps with our allies in the Amazon region. This effort should offer Amazon nations new types of debt relief and/or debt guarantees in exchange for ambitious climate and forest action, across a broad range of potential debt instruments. 
  • Convincing Congress to allocate to the Amazon (and other tropical forest protection, as appropriate) five percent of any new revenues generated from carbon fees and fuel surcharges, if and when adopted.
  • Leveraging other U.S. bilateral and multilateral foreign assistance programs—from the Agency for International Development and the Millennium Challenge Account to U.S. export credit agencies and international financial institutions such as the World Bank—to support forest conservation, forest restoration and climate-friendly sustainable development in the Amazon region. The administration should consider directing Amazon assistance toward:
    • Implementing rural sustainable development strategies 
    • Preventing and controlling forest fires
    • Intensifying agricultural production by family farms on previously deforested land
    • Providing forest-friendly economic development opportunities 
    • Rewarding jurisdictions that reduce deforestation through results-based payments
    • Strengthening land tenure and the rights of indigenous peoples
    • Improving forest governance and combating forest crime
    • Partnering with allied donor governments and private philanthropy
  • We recommend the administration consider setting a goal that 25% of international climate finance from the United States should support forests and other natural climate solutions across the globe, particularly in the Amazon. 
The administration should consider harmonizing U.S. trade and climate policy for the Amazon. U.S. imports should not fuel illegal deforestation, reward criminals or create an uneven playing field.  Specifically, the Climate Principals recommend the administration consider:
  • Working with Congress to expand the Lacey Act to prohibit the importation of agricultural commodities grown on illegally deforested land.
  • Augmenting funding for and enforcement of the Lacey Act, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other laws that deter forest crime abroad.
  • Ensuring that future trade agreements strengthen tropical forest governance and rule of law, including by promoting local law enforcement and prohibiting the importation of products grown on illegally deforested land. 
The administration should strive to make sure that U.S. companies, investors, consumers and capital markets do not contribute to Amazon deforestation. The Climate Principals recommend the administration consider:
  • Requiring consumer goods and agricultural companies to conduct due diligence and report on deforestation in their supply chains. 
  • Requiring U.S. companies and financial institutions to disclose, report and manage deforestation-related climate risk, building from the framework created by the Task Force in Climate-related Financial Risks. 
The administration will need to strengthen international alliances to turn protecting the Amazon into a true global priority.  The Climate Principals recommend it consider: 
  • Negotiating diplomatic agreements to incentivize the protection of forests under local laws and policy frameworks, including through results-based payment systems that are consistent with the Paris Agreement. 
    • Securing a global consensus that all countries should establish their own quantitative national targets for forest and land use emission reductions under the Paris Agreement. Those who are able should consider not only establishing such goals at home, but also setting quantitative goals for assisting other countries to finance their own forest and land use emission reductions. 
    • Building support for the inclusion of high-quality forest carbon credits in international markets, to assist with the transition to full decarbonization of the global economy, without detracting from climate action in other economic areas. 
  • Strengthening safeguards for the Amazon and other forests in bilateral, regional and global development finance, including for U.S. foreign assistance and funding provided by multilateral development banks. 
  • Working with Europe, Japan, China and other major economies to align international efforts and thereby spread globally the policies outlined above.

Statements From the Principals

Protecting the Amazon for The Future

Statements of Support

Biden-Harris Administration Meeting The Moment

The U.S. Climate Principals Group welcomes President Biden and Madam Vice President Harris’ commitment to strengthening U.S. climate policy, rejoining the Paris Agreement and convening world leaders to accelerate global action to address climate change, which they have rightly characterized as an existential threat to humanity. We also endorse the Biden-Harris commitment to mobilize $20 billion to protect the Amazon rainforests, which are disappearing at an alarming rate and are critical to the climate system, public health, human rights, and biodiversity. 

Protecting the Amazon will require new policies, skilled diplomacy and great determination.  We are confident the administration understands that solutions must benefit the countries, communities and forest-dependent people in the region by contributing to sustainable development. 

U.S. efforts to protect the Amazon should be carried out in partnership with our allies in South America and around the world. As President Biden and Madam Vice President Harris have said, we need to engage Brazil constructively in the spirit of friendship and with new economic incentives. Additionally, the administration should also seek to expand current U.S. support to other globally significant tropical forest regions, including Mesoamerica, Indonesia and Southeast Asia and the Congo Basin as well.

Implementing the Amazon Protection Plan fully will require cooperation from Congress, of course. Fortunately, protecting the Amazon has been a bipartisan American foreign policy goal for decades. With support from both parties in Congress, Presidents over the past twenty years have championed the protection of the Amazon. With strong leadership from the Biden-Harris administration, we hope Congress will continue to support this important agenda. If helpful, we will assist the administration in rallying support for Amazon protection.