Brazil's SIVAM: As It Monitors the Amazon, Will It Fulfill its Human Security Promise?

By
Thomaz G. Costa

As Brazil implements its System for Vigilance of the Amazon (SIVAM), the country's leadership continues to tout the system as a major effort towards achieving its national security objectives--especially (a) preserving the country's sovereignty over its territories in that tropical forest region; (b) assisting in Amazon law enforcement, particularly in deterring illegal flights associated with contraband and narco-trafficking; and (c) providing environmental information aimed at promoting sustainable development and the preservation of natural habitats in the Amazon. But while official arguments promise SIVAM will contribute to all three objectives, the lack of: (a) transparency in the program's development and implementation; and (b) greater participation by non-official organizations in how SIVAM will gather, process, and disseminate information threatens the environmental and human security value of the system.

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