Emanuela Evangelista has been awarded the position of Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic by Sergio Mattarella, President of the Republic.
The high honor was communicated on 21 December 2019 and motivated “for her constant commitment, internationally, to environmental protection, the protection of indigenous peoples and the fight against deforestation”.
“I am honored and moved by this recognition,” said Emanuela. “I receive news of it just as I am in Manaus, the chaotic capital of the state of Amazonas, which expresses with its contradictions the suffering of native populations and at the same time the urgency and complexity of the necessary solutions.
My first thoughts and thanks go to the inhabitants of the forest, for without them no work to protect the immense Amazonian heritage would be possible. Understanding their needs is the basis of our work, which offers them concrete alternatives for development in harmony with the environment. Understanding the reasons that move a country towards choices that we can apparently not share is the first step in constructive and necessary dialogue.
I believe that environmental protection is a tool for fighting poverty and therefore an instrument of peace in the world, for this reason I hope that the concession of this important honor will bring more and more attention to the theme of the future of the Amazon and multiply the efforts towards common and possible solutions. “
Biologist and environmental activist, Emanuela Evangelista is a member of the Species Survival Commission (SSC) of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), President of Amazônia Milano Onlus and Vice President of Trentino Insieme, organizations engaged in international cooperation, aimed at promoting the conservation of the forest and the contrast to the exodus of the natives, about 1000 people gathered in 14 villages.
Together with the inhabitants of the Jauaperi River, located between the Brazilian states of Amazonas and Roraima, the organizations have carried out sustainable development projects and actions in defense of the right to health and education. Ecotourism, for example, has become a source of income and work for many families, together with the sustainable harvesting of forest fruits such as the Brazil nut and the protection of endangered river turtles. The region has recently been recognized as a National Park (Extractive Reserve of the Lower Rio Branco and Rio Jauaperi), 600 thousand hectares of tropical forest protected and designated for the exclusive sustainable use of the natives. The area, more than half the size of Jamaica, is added to an important corridor of conservation units and represents a key result for the fight against climate chaos.
Photo: Emiliano Mancuso