Together for a fair and dignified solution in the Amazon

Together for a fair and dignified solution in the Amazon

Presentation of the Acts of the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian Region

Vatican, 04 June 2024


“Our Querida Amazonia really needs an overabundance of commitment, especially given the overabundance of violence that the region is still experiencing today. It is up to us, as an international community, to take up the challenge”. It was with this invitation addressed to the international community that Cardinal Mario Grech, Secretary General of the Synod, opened the meeting to present the Acts of the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian Region, held on Tuesday afternoon, 4 June, at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). As the Church celebrates a Synod that focuses on listening to its faithful, Cardinal Grech recalled “even in international politics, true listening, which takes seriously the fears, anxieties, desires and hopes of individuals and communities, can generate creative and healthy solutions for the common good of the entire international community”.

The meeting, which was attended by numerous ambassadors and leaders of organisations involved in environmental issues and/or the protection of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon, featured speeches by Card. Michael Czerny S.J., Prefect of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Development, Card. Pedro Ricardo Barreto Jimeno SJ and Sr. Laura Vicuña, respectively President and Vice-President of the Amazonian Ecclesial Conference (CEAMA) - a body resulting from the Special Assembly - and that of indigenous activist Yesica Patiachi, Vice-President of the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network (REPAM). The conclusions were entrusted to Fatouma Seid, Assistant Director of FAO's UN Partnerships and Collaborations Division, Jyotsna Puri, Assistant Vice President of the Department of Strategy and Knowledge, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and Msgr. Fernando Chica Arellano, Permanent Observer of the Permanent Mission of the Holy See to FAO.

In his address of greeting, FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu recalled the work the international body is doing in the region, “Our work with indigenous peoples in the Pan-Amazonian region is helping to improve sustainability, food security, climate and environmental action and biodiversity conservation, including through the Indigenous Peoples Biocentric Restoration Initiative, which recognises Indigenous Peoples as custodians of biodiversity and in situ protection. However, the FAO director recognises that despite great efforts, ‘indigenous peoples continue to experience a higher percentage of food insecurity than the rest of the population”. Then recalling the good relations with the Holy See and in particular with Pope Francis for supporting the FAO mission “which underlines our common belief that the right to food is a basic human right, and we need to work together”, Qu Dongyu closed his speech by recalling “we are all Indigenous Peoples on this small planet. As our ancestors always said, we are still so young on this planet, so let us continue to work together as one planet so that we can truly call it our common home, together”.

For his part, Cardinal Michael Czerny SJ recalled how the Synod on Amazonia marked the beginning of a new and important stage in a shared journey: “New networks and initiatives, inspired by the ecclesial process around the Amazon biome, are springing up in other territories such as the Congo Basin, the Mesoamerican biological corridor, the Asia Pacific biome, etc...”. He continued “We know that renewal can come from the periphery The Amazon is a privileged place where life expresses itself and where God himself makes his presence felt. This beloved Amazonia is a call to commitment and an eloquent expression of hope for the future of the world. Just as the Amazon, rich in biodiversity, plays a vital role in the health of the planet, so a Church with an Amazon face calls the Church at large and the whole of society to conversion. The future of the Amazon is at stake, because without it, the entire planet is at risk. Later, it will be too late.

Cardinal Pedro Ricardo Baretto SJ hailed the initiative hosted by the UN agency as “a sign of communion between Governments and the Catholic Church to act together for the common good and to promote the hope of a dignified and healthy life for all those who live in the beloved Amazon”. He then recalled how CEAMA has already made significant progress in promoting an integral ecology and defending the rights of Amazonian peoples. "However, challenges remain significant and require constant and coordinated effort."

Sr. Laura Vicuña, recalled how “the life of the native and Amazonian peoples is based on the thread and centrality of the land and territory as a space of full life, of food sovereignty, which is seriously threatened by the countless death projects present today in Amazonia and which compromise all life on the planet.” For the Vice-President of CEAMA, it is especially important that the Church remains unconditionally committed to the life of the people and mother earth in Amazonia. The path is made by walking. We do not have a definitive answer for everything, the important thing is to stay on the path.

Finally, Yesica Patiachi, denounced the current development model behind the deforestation of the Amazon and the silence of many in the face of the killing of indigenous people who wanted to defend their territory. The link between the Amazon ecosystem, indigenous peoples and food security is, for the indigenous activist, indissoluble: “there is no forest without indigenous people, and there can be no food security without forest”.

Concluding the meeting, Msgr. Fernando Chica Arellano emphasised the need to continue working together. “This afternoon, together, we have shown what it means to work together. At this difficult juncture, so saturated with tensions and polarisation, the word ‘together’ reflects a style of action that needs to be strengthened. It is a simple style, but like all simple things, it contains a real truth, namely the urgency to reinvigorate multilateralism, the obligation to always apply the principle of subsidiarity and the exhortation to allow everyone to participate with conviction. Working ‘together’ banishes the culture of indifference and discarding, fostering instead the necessary unity of purpose that must animate us to face the challenges of the present time and transform the current crises into fruitful opportunities”.


The Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian Region was held in October 2019 and reached, in its preparatory phase, some 87,000 people from eight countries and one overseas territory (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Venezuela, Suriname and French Guiana). The proceedings of this ecclesial assembly were published by Libreria Editrice Vaticana.


Address of Card. Mario Grech (ENG)

Address of Card. Michael Czerny S.J. (ENG)

Address of Card. Pedro Ricardo Baretto S.J. (ESP)

Address of sr. Laurca Vicuña (ESP)

Address of Dr. QU Dongyu (ENG)

Address of Dr. Jyotsna Puri (ENG)

Address of Fatouma Seid (ENG)

Address of Mons. Fernando Chica Arellano (ESP)



News Release in FRENCH and in PORTUGUESE


04 June 2024, 18:54