UNLEASH Amazon: A Regional Innovation Lab for Brazilian Changemakers

The Amazon Basin is home to the largest rainforest and the richest biodiversity ecosystem on the planet. One in ten species lives there, with a new species being discovered every three days [1]. However, climate change and deforestation are rapidly advancing, causing severe challenges to the more than one billion people who depend directly on this ecosystem to obtain food, energy, and medicine [2]. This also has consequences at a global level, as forest loss and damage contribute to around 10% of global warming [3].


This October, the UNLEASH Amazon Regional Innovation Lab will bring together youth from across the Brazilian Amazon to collaborate on challenges facing the territory and the communities living in it, who play a critical role in the preservation, maintenance, and overall sustainability of the region [4]. With more than 4.5 million Traditional communities living in Brazil [5], including 1.7 million Indigenous peoples [6], the Innovation Lab will strive to represent all the Traditional communities from Brazil, including Indigenous, Quilombolas, Riverside, Extractive and many more.


“Our future depends on the active participation and leadership of Indigenous peoples, who have a deep knowledge of the land and are active in protecting territories. UNLEASH Amazon is an opportunity for our young Indigenous leaders to tackle the challenges at the crossroads of human rights, environment and climate change that we experience every day, in order to learn technical skills, gain public recognition and strengthen their protagonism in the defence of Mother Earth,” says Her Excellency the Minister of Indigenous Peoples, Sônia Guajajara.


The program aims to support young Amazonians in driving change in their region, ahead of the upcoming COP-30 discussions, by providing a space for young changemakers to learn from each other’s lived experiences and generate ideas that combine new approaches with long-held knowledge. Through this process, they will develop the confidence, networks, and expertise needed to generate long-term impact in their communities and beyond.


UNLEASH Amazon, the first UNLEASH Innovation Lab happening in South America, will take place in Manaus, the capital of the state of Amazonas in Brazil. The program will highlight the voices, rights, and knowledge of Indigenous and Traditional Communities, aiming to blend time-honored and tested traditional knowledge with cutting-edge innovation methodologies to create sustainable and culturally-rooted solutions. The themes covered are currently being co-created with local stakeholders, and they are linked to some of the most critical challenges in the region, such as environmental accountability and land rights; economic development and bio-economy; waste on land and in water; and health and sanitation.


Following UNLEASH Greenland, our first Regional Innovation Lab that took place in the Arctic in 2022, we aim to double down our efforts to create local impact at a global scale. “At UNLEASH, we believe that the key to a sustainable future lies in the creativity, passion, and leadership of young people from diverse backgrounds. We are determined to create spaces for young people to make their own futures, by fueling them with the support, skills and networks they need. We are excited to collaborate with local partners across Brazil who share our vision of enabling youth from all communities to become agents of change,” says Chairperson of UNLEASH, Prof. Flemming Besenbacher.


UNLEASH Amazon will take place between October 14 – 19, 2024. The program will focus on bringing together youth from the Brazilian Amazon aged 18-35 who want to make a positive impact in their communities, and it will be hosted entirely in Portuguese. Applications will open in late July.


For more information, please visit our website or reach out to [email protected].



[1] The Amazon Biome. Amazon Aid. Link
[2] UN Report (2021). Novo relatório da ONU: povos indígenas e comunidades tradicionais são os melhores guardiões das florestas da América Latina e do Caribe. (In Portuguese) Link
[3] The Effects of Deforestation. WWF. Link
[4] UN Report (2021). Novo relatório da ONU: povos indígenas e comunidades tradicionais são os melhores guardiões das florestas da América Latina e do Caribe. (In Portuguese) Link
[5] Eco Brasil Institute (2022, April). Comunidades ou Populações Tradicionais. (In Portuguese). Link
[6] Communities, citing the 2022 Census. Minority Rights Group. Link