Norway says fund to reduce Amazon deforestation in Brazil is back up and running

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Norway, the Amazon Fund’s top donor, said the initiative to support forest protection had been revived now that Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva had returned to power and promised to halt deforestation.

“Brazil’s new president has signaled his clear ambition to halt deforestation by 2030,” Norwegian Climate and Environment Minister Espen Barth Eide said in a statement announcing the reactivation of the fund, which aims to fight the elimination of vegetation in the Amazon.

“He has reset the strategies to make it a reality and appointed ministers with significant knowledge and experience in the field,” Barth Eide said.

The fund still has about 3.4 billion reais ($620 million).

It has been frozen since August 2019, when far-right former President Jair Bolsonaro abolished his governing council and action plans.

In 2008, in a previous term as president, Lula created the fund to receive international contributions to Brazil’s efforts to halt deforestation. It only receives payments when deforestation is reduced; The funds are then spent on more such initiatives.

Norway initially donated $1.2 billion and Germany also contributed.

Among his first decisions after taking office for a new presidential term on Sunday, Lula signed a decree re-establishing the governing council of the Amazon Fund, with broad representation from civil society and other stakeholders.

He also signed decrees restoring Brazil’s strategies to reduce deforestation in the Amazon, whose rate skyrocketed to a 15-year high under Bolsonaro.

In addition, Lula revoked policies that had diluted environmental protection, including a measure encouraging mining on protected indigenous lands.

The reinstatement of the fund “is globally significant,” Barth Eide said. “The Amazon Fund offers the international community a great opportunity to contribute.”

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Britain is considering joining the fund, Environment Minister Therese Coffey told Reuters in Brasilia on Monday.

(1 US dollar = 5.4797 reais)

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