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Germany wants to revive fund to save Amazon rainforest

November 2, 2022

In his presidential victory speech, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva said Brazil is open to international cooperation to preserve the Amazon. Germany, following Norway's lead, said it is ready to help.

Macaws sit on a tree in the Amazon rainforest in Manaus, Amazonas State, Brazil
Environmentalists often cite the conservation of the Amazon rainforest as a crucial way to mitigate the climate crisisImage: BRUNO KELLY/REUTERS

Germany wants to release funds for the protection of the Amazon rainforest, a development ministry spokesperson said on Wednesday.

"Germany supports this fund," the spokesperson said, adding it would discuss it with the transition team of Brazil's incoming president, Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva.

This Amazon fund was set up in partnership with Norway in 2008 to help finance the protection of the rainforest and biodiversity.

However, the two countries stopped making payments in 2019 after President Jair Bolsonaro took office and weakened environmental protection measures in the Amazon.

Norway said Monday it would resume financial aid to Brazil under the fund that is endowed with well over $500 million (€500 million).

The timeline for reactivating the fund depends on how quickly Brazil creates the conditions for resuming work on it, the spokesperson said, but added that "in the German government, there is a great will to reach out quickly."

Lula vows to protect the Amazon

In his victory speech on Sunday Lula had promised to put an end to deforestation in the Amazon.

It is a goal no Brazilian president has been able to achieve.

Under Bolsonaro's government deforestation surged as he allowed more agriculture and mining in rainforest areas.

Environmental advocates blame him for emboldening illegal loggers, miners, and land speculators to destroy the forest.

Recent studies have shown that around 18% of the Brazilian Amazon has already been cleared — and around 60% of the rainforest's total area lies within the territory of Brazil.

Brazil: The fear of the Amazon loggers

In October 2021, activists and indigenous groups even filed a lawsuit with the International Criminal Court over Bolsonaro's environmental policies.

The Amazon, covering 5.5 million square kilometers, accounts for half of the world's remaining tropical rainforest. It's home to enormous biodiversity, has a major influence on the world's climate and hydrological cycles, and acts as a carbon sink.

Lula's team said he would participate in the COP27 United Nations climate summit starting in Egypt on Sunday, although Bolsonaro would still officially represent Brazil.

lo/es (AFP, dpa, Reuters)