Amazônia and beyond at the House of Switzerland

Swissnex joined ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich to host the Amazônia and beyond event at the House of Switzerland in the WEF Annual Meeting in January 2024. Learn more and watch the full video!

– By Sofia Costa, Communications Manager, and Malin Borg, CEO of Swissnex in Brazil.

At the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, the “Amazônia and beyond” event at the House of Switzerland brought together scientists, policymakers, civil society, and private sector representatives to discuss the fundamental role of conservation, reforestation, and nature-based solutions in achieving our climate goals, with a focus on the Amazon region.

Swissnex in Brazil, ETH Zurich, and the University of Zurich brought Brazil and Switzerland together at a high-level event. The Secretary of State for Education, Research and Innovation, Prof. Dr. Martina Hirayama, opened the event by reaffirming the importance of collaboration between the two countries. 

The event was followed by a fishbowl moderated by Gioia Deucher, CEO of InnHub La Punt and former CEO of Swissnex in Brazil and San Francisco, with excellent speakers sharing different and strong perspectives on climate change.

On the Brazilian side, the President of the Supreme Court, Luís Roberto Barroso, commented on the importance of the Amazon for Brazil and the world. Puwe Puyanawa, from the Puyanawa Tribe in the Brazilian Amazon, called for respect for the territory’s ancestry in order to achieve sustainable forest development. Climate change activist, presenter, and WEF Global Shaper Hosana Silva pointed out that climate change tends to affect vulnerable populations disproportionately and that they need to be part of the proposed solutions.

On the Swiss side, the President of the University of Zurich and remote monitoring expert Michael Schaepman pointed out the importance of technology for monitoring biodiversity in the Amazon. The CEO of Restor, a spin-off from ETH Zurich’s Crowther Lab, Thomas Elliott, clarified the importance of biodiversity for carbon storage and the importance of community-led projects for the long-term health of ecosystems.

The common thread was the importance of the Amazon, which is much more than consuming carbon from the atmosphere. It includes energy, water, fauna, flora, cultural diversity, genetic resources, traditional knowledge, communities, and peoples who live in, protect, and depend on these habitats.

Between deforestation, environmental crime, remote sensing challenges, biodiversity tracking, community engagement, and forest revitalization, one thing is sure: “To protect the Amazon, we have to go further and have a sustainable development plan and joint action with the Amazon countries with investments in bioeconomy, tourism and activities that help preserve the forest, restoration and sustainable use,” said Brazil’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Marina Silva, at the close of the event.

This high-level discussion marked a significant milestone for Swissnex in Brazil and its engagement within education, research, and innovation in the Amazon region.