IKI project ANDUS brings Amazonian cities into the spotlight

Group photo teaser project ANDUS
Signature of the Porto Velho undertaking

Improving Amazonians' well-being through sustainable urban development is the first step to preserving the world's largest tropical rainforest in the face of climate crises.

In 2023, thanks to its extension, the International Climate Initiative’s ANDUS project expanded its scope, including Amazonian cities in its portfolio for German-Brazilian technical cooperation in sustainable urban development. Despite global attention on preserving the Amazon rainforest, urbanization's impact on the region has been overlooked.

Approximately 75% of the Amazon's population resides in urban areas, with one-third concentrated in the nine capital cities. Cities like Belém and Manaus, each with over two million residents, face challenges such as low tree cover and social inequalities, affecting 35.4% of households. Residents in these settlements experience the adverse effects of climate change; these involves facing extreme heat, unprecedented floods, and unexpected drought, disrupting both people's mobility and the transportation of goods. This situation also triggers outbreaks of vectorial diseases, finding an ideal breeding ground in the amphibious environment. Additionally, economic challenges and unplanned urban growth contribute to unsustainable practices, including illegal mining and deforestation. 

After five years in Brazil, ANDUS believes environmental goals in the Global South require a people-centric approach, emphasizing the need for sustainable development in Amazonian cities to preserve the rainforest and improve the well-being of its residents.

The Amazonian Cities Forum

The ANDUS project supported the organization of the Amazonian Cities Forum that took place in August 2023 in Belém. This was an opening event of the Summit of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO) with an objective to discuss the challenges of socio-economic sustainable development in the face of global environmental crises with representatives from local governments of the pan-amazon region. The debates generated the "Charter of Belém," delivered to the heads of state of the eight member countries of ACTO, establishing a new permanent Amazonian Cities Forum as part of ACTO.

The Amazonian Cities Forum emphasized the pivotal role of local governments in achieving carbon-neutral and resilient cities. It served as a platform to announce the Coalition for Sustainable Urban Development in the Amazon, backed by the ANDUS Project. Founded by the National Front of Mayors, GIZ Brazil, and WRI Brasil in collaboration with the Brazilian Ministry of Cities (MCID) and the Ministry of the Environment (MMA), the Coalition aims to unite positive forces in the Brazilian Amazon region. 

This collective effort seeks to wield significant influence over the urban agenda within the world's largest rainforest. The ANDUS Project provides financial and technical support to the Coalition, empowering local municipalities and fostering a shared Amazon Agenda for sustainable urban development.

The Coalition's first initiative is a Mentoring Program on Spatial Planning for five selected Amazonian cities. Each city will focus on adapting a specific spatial planning tool to their local context, addressing urban regularisation , master plan updates, municipal environmental zoning, and digital land cadastre systems.

ANDUS commits to supporting Amazonian urban areas until 2025, ensuring their representation at COP30 in Belém and promoting international awareness of Amazon cities.

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