The devastating widespread impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic are ravaging their way across the tropics—from Indonesia to Peru and nearly everywhere in between.
In the face of the rapidly evolving situation across both cities and states and provinces, subnational governments are stepping up to take swift action towards combatting the crisis.
In Amazonas, Brazil, Governor Wilson Lima is pleading for the international community to mobilize resources and support for COVID-19 response measures. Specifically, Governor Lima has requested support from the United Nations and related bodies to mobilize resources responding to the urgent needs of GCF Task Force states and provinces across the tropics.
“Aware of the enormous and unprecedented challenges to the health and socioeconomic well-being of the communities of our planet, and on behalf of the 38 subnational governments that constitute the Governors’ Climate & Forests Task Force, I submit a request for the United Nations in order to strengthen our local efforts to combat COVID-19 and to protect human lives.” –Governor Wilson Lima in his letter to the United Nations
In Amazonas, priority needs include securing the healthcare system in the capital city of Manaus—where the virus has taken an unprecedented toll in recent days, overwhelming the city’s healthcare workers and urban populations. In order to effectively contain current cases and reduce the spread of COVID-19, Governor Lima is calling for one million tests to be administered through the Amazon.
“We urgently need to take measures to leverage financial resources, medical materials and equipment, tests for virus identification, and specialized medical assistance for the forest areas inhabited by traditional communities.” –Governor Wilson Lima
Acknowledging the shifting priorities necessitated by the global health pandemic, Governor Lima explains:
“Although our focus is not on addressing public health, the size of the challenge we face requires reorienting our actions in order to preserve the lives of our populations, especially those in situations of vulnerability, including indigenous peoples, traditional and riverside communities, as well as in peripheral locations in poor or developing cities.”
Moreover, Governor Lima emphasizes the vulnerabilities of isolated forest communities, indigenous and traditional populations throughout the state—which have historically and continues to make them particularly vulnerable to the threats of epidemics and pandemics.
“We cannot run the risk of losing the human and cultural values that we hold, which moves us to call for a global and specific effort to combat COVID-19 in tropical forest regions, toward the preservation of our native and traditional communities.”