Brazil: US climate czar John Kerry pledged to seek funds to protect Amazon

Brasilia, Feb 27 (EFE).- Brazil’s vice president said after a meeting Monday with John Kerry that the United States’ special presidential envoy for climate has pledged to seek public and private funding for the protection of the Amazon.

“Kerry didn’t talk about amounts, but he did say he will work with (President Joe Biden’s) administration, Congress and the private sector to obtain substantial funding” for combating the climate crisis and Amazon deforestation, Geraldo Alckmin said.

The vice president did not say whether that potential financial cooperation would come within the framework of the Amazon Fund, which was created with donations from Norway and Germany to finance anti-deforestation efforts in the world’s largest “green lung.”

The US’s eventual participation in that billion-dollar fund must be approved by that country’s Congress, but Alckmin suggested that bilateral cooperation could be forged in other areas.

“We have projects in the humanitarian area, support for indigenous communities, against malnutrition, deforestation and … criminal organizations” that operate in the Amazon, as well as others aimed at “providing new income opportunities for the 28 million people who live in that region,” he explained.

Kerry, who on Monday began a two-day visit to Brazil, did not speak with reporters.

But Alckmin said the former US secretary of state underscored during the meeting his country’s interest in maintaining close cooperation with Brazil on efforts to combat the climate crisis.

Besides Kerry and Alckmin, Brazilian Environment Minister Marina Silva and other officials from both governments also took part in the meeting.

The goal of Kerry’s visit, according to Brazilian officials, is to provide “immediate follow-up” to the discussions in Washington between Biden and Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who visited the White House on Feb. 10 with an agenda focused on environmental issues.

“This moment can’t be allowed to pass,” Alckmin said, adding that the threat of climate change “is a reality” and is already evident throughout the world.

By way of example, he cited “the extremely violent tornadoes” that have battered the US in recent weeks and the torrential rains last week in coastal areas of Sao Paulo state that triggered flooding and landslides and caused 65 deaths.

During Kerry’s two-day trip to Brazil, he also will meet with other Brazilian government officials, members of Congress and representatives of civil society organizations whose work focuses on the Amazon and other vulnerable Brazilian ecosystems.

The US climate czar will later travel to Panama for the Our Ocean Conference, a space for collaborative dialogue between heads of state and representatives of the private sector, civil society and academic institutions.

Participants in that event will discuss ways to save marine resources, promote their sustainable use and educate the public about ocean protection. EFE


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