EU calls for inclusive green transition in the Amazon

By Jorge Gil Ángel

Bogotá, Jan 27 (EFE).- Sustainable production must be fostered to combat the deforestation of the Amazon but the transition to a greener economy must not come at the expense of people whose livelihoods depend on it, the vice president of the European Commission’s Green Deal Frans Timmermans told Efe.

The European Union official took part in an interview in Bogotá during a visit to both Brazil and Colombia to discuss preparations for the next United Nations climate summit Cop28, slated to be held in Dubai.

The politician said the notion that Europe should end all imports of produce from the Amazon region was “nonsense.”

He added: “We need to make sure we stimulate sustainable production, we help farmers and other producers to do it in a sustainable way and we fight against the criminals who are involved in illegal deforestation or in gold panning or all the other dangerous activities that are strictly illegal.”

Timmermans said the focus should not be restricted to the point of origin.

“There also we need to work together, combating the criminals here, but also combating the people who buy the products of those criminals, people who very often live in Europe.”

He continued: “If you look at the opinions of European citizens – not talking about politicians – they don’t want to contribute by their behavior to further deforestation. They are demanding of us that we fight deforestation, that is also the program of these two presidents, so we should bring that program together with ours.”

In 2022, Colombia and Brazil, the two largest economies in the Amazon region, both elected left-wing, climate conscious leaders in the shape of Gustavo Petro and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

“What I discovered both in Brazil and here in Colombia is that both governments have a very integrated approach to the climate crisis,” Timmermans said.

“They know perfectly well that if you want to address the climate crisis successfully, you also need to address the issue of social justice.”

He added: “I think this gives us a huge opportunity to work together in the preparation of Cop28 to bring Europe and Colombia closer together with the same agenda, because we all understand that if you want to make this transition happen it is going to happen with the people.”

To facilitate the green transition, Brazil and Colombia require more investment potential, Timmermans said, adding that the “international financial architecture” needed to be changed so that institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank help fund the protection of the environment.

Similar efforts were needed in private sector investments and the transfer of modern technologies, he added. EFE


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