Belém, Brazil, Monday, December 20, 2010 – The Brazilian Amazon, home of one third of the world’s tropical forest, may not achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals, according to a document released by the Amazon Institute of People and the Environment (Imazon).
The Millennium Development Goals proposed by the United Nations established targets and indicators to measure and guide improvement in socioeconomic (poverty, education, health, gender equality, maternal and infant mortality) and environmental conditions in poor and developing countries of the world.
The publication “The Brazilian Amazon and the Millennium Development Goals in 2010” evaluates the evolution of these goals in the context of the Amazon. For this, the authors used 25 indicators to measure the progress of the region in relation to the targets proposed for the year 2015.
In the Amazon there has been progress with regard to most indicators analyzed by comparing the situation in 2009 to 1990. However, in general, this improvement was unsatisfactory and the region is below the national average for all. The situation is critical in the case of poverty, malaria, AIDS, maternal mortality and sanitation. Advances have been timid in pursuit of gender equality, and women have little participation in politics and are disadvantaged in the labor market. Moreover, the Amazon has very high rates of rural and urban violence.
On the other hand, access to education increased (although improving its quality remains a challenge), there is no inequality between the sexes in access to schools and there was a drop in infant mortality. Additionally, there was a considerable advance in the creation of protected areas (Indigenous Lands and Conservation Units as parks), jumping from 8.5%, in 1990 to 44% in 2010. In addition, deforestation has fallen significantly in recent years, registering in 2010 the lowest rate since the 90s (6,451 square kilometers).
Some of the data included in the document:
Poverty. Nearly a half (42%) of the Brazilian Amazonian population lives on less than half of the Brazilian minimum wage, which represents more than 10 million people.
Universal Primary Education. The population over 15 years old illiterate declined from 20% in 1990 to 11% in 2009 in the Brazilian Amazon, however there is still a high functional illiteracy in the region (23% of the population over 15 years).
Infant Mortality. Child mortality up to one year of age dropped 52% in the Amazon between 1991 and 2009, decreasing from 51 to 25 deaths per 1,000 live births. Maintained at the current rate of decline, this goal can be attained in the Amazon by 2015. However, there are indications of a strong underreporting of infant mortality in the region.
AIDS. The incidence rate of AIDS increased sharply between 1990 and 2008 in the Amazon, while the Brazilian rate decreased.
Malaria. More than 360 thousand malaria cases were registered in 2009, it means an incidence of 1.2 thousand cases per 100 thousand inhabitants.
Deforestation. Brazilian Amazon deforestation has been fallen since 2005 and in 2010 the lowest deforestation rate of the last 20 years was registered (6,451 square kilometers). Amazonian deforestation is the major source of Brazilian carbon emissions. The country assumed international commitments to reduce deforestation still more.
Protected Areas. Protected areas are strategic for the conservation of the Amazon rainforest. The proportion of protected areas has increased considerably in the Amazon in recent years, passing from 8.5% in 1990 to 44% (2.2 million square kilometers) in 2010. Of this total, 21.7% are indigenous lands and 22.2% are conservation units (nature reserves and sustainable use reserves).
Sanitation. The access of the population to water and sewer services are fundamental to guarantee well being. However, sanitation is very poor in the Amazon. Only 10% of population is served by a network of sewage collection and the majority (58%) of the waste produced is deposited in open dumps.
Comments from author:
According to Danielle Celentano, one of the authors, advances in the environmental area must be accompanied by better results in the social area. “The creation of Protected Areas and the drop in deforestation are great news, but now is the time to look after Amazonian population and increase their well-being ”, she adds.
According to Daniel Santos, Imazon researcher and co-author of the study, this work has the merit of pointing out the critical social barriers of the Amazon. “Solving it means reaching a new era of development for the people of this region. Work on the improvement of indicators in critical condition would be a ’recipe for success’ for the Amazon and each of its nine states”, he says.