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Adriana Abdenur

Plataforma CIPÓ

Adriana Erthal Abdenur is a Brazilian policy expert and the Executive Director of Plataforma CIPÓ, an independent, women-led research institute dedicated to issues of climate, governance and peace in Latin America and the Caribbean and across the Global South. Dr. Abdenur is a Policy Fellow at the United Nations University's Center for Policy Research (UNU-CPR) for the year 2021, working on innovations in global governance, and an Adjunct Lecturer in International Affairs at Sciences-Po Paris, where she teaches on Climate and Security and Environmental Crimes. In addition to the Climate Governance Commission, she is a member of the UN ECOSOC Committee on Development Policy (CPD) and the Strategic Advisory Board of Germany's Weathering Risk initiative on Climate and Security. Dr. Abdenur earned her PhD in development sociology from Princeton University in 2006 and is the mother of two.
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publication
Gender, Climate and Security in Latin America and the Caribbean: From Diagnostics to Solutions

The evidence base on the relationship between climate change and security in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) has expanded over the past two years. Recent research has shown that a wide variety of phenomena—from extreme weather events in the Caribbean, to soil erosion in Central America, to changing rainfall patterns in the Amazon basin, to melting glaciers in the Andes—multiply risks around water, food and energy security for millions of people. These impacts will have a high price, around USD $100 billion annually according to the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB). But the economic damage is just one part of the equation: climate change impacts in LAC, a region already marked by high rates of violence and criminal activity, will also lead to greater uncertainty, more widespread human suffering, and sharpened inequalities—including those related to gender.

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Protecting archaeological sites in the Amazon is essential for environmental wellbeing

Raging fires, expanding mineral extraction and land clearing for agribusiness are not only destroying Amazonian lands and biodiversity, they are also eradicating fundamental knowledge on land stewardship. Climate diplomacy has a key role to play in protecting archaeological sites that preserve lessons from the past that could help the Amazon recover in the future. The Brazilian Amazon is seeing a surge in illegal land occupations, tree clearing, forest fires, and illegal mining—among other environmental crimes. This not only degrades one of the world’s most biodiverse natural environments, but also impacts local communities, leading to the loss of traditional livelihoods, harmful health effects and spikes in crime and violence. One often overlooked aspect of this destruction entails the growing risks to, and destruction of, archaeological sites—not just known ones, but also those that have yet to be found and studied.

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How Can Artificial Intelligence Help Curb Deforestation in the Amazon?

Deforestation has traditionally been viewed as an environmental issue, but, increasingly, illegal logging in rainforests is being understood as an issue of transnational organized crime. Forests cover 31 percent of the planet, are home to 80 percent of the world’s terrestrial species of animals and plants, and provide for the livelihoods of 1.6 billion people. Yet rising deforestation rates are destroying their rich biodiversity in several parts of the world. In the Amazon basin, forest destruction is driven primarily by illegal activities such as land invasions, induced forest fires (usually set to clear land for agriculture, ranching, and land speculation), and illegal mining and logging. Part of the problem is a lack of adequate forest monitoring, which is complicated by the challenges to obtaining accurate and consistent spatial data on deforestation. Even when greater accuracy and reliability are achieved—for instance, with the support of satellite technologies that allow for real-time tracking and increasingly detailed surveillance of forest canopies—filtering large amounts of data can be slow, labor intensive, and expensive. The enormous troves of data that can now be gathered through the deployment of drones pose similar challenges. Some of the most promising innovations for enhancing the monitoring of forests involve artificial intelligence (AI) and associated technologies, such as deep learning and machine learning. So-called “earth-friendly AI” has been touted as a way to vastly enhance data collection and analysis for environmental conservation. Some of these new technologies are being developed and applied elsewhere in the world, but they may be adaptable to the Amazon basin through adequate government support, robust policy frameworks, and international cooperation.

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