Kerry reaffirms US commitment to protecting Amazon rainforest
Brasilia, Feb 28 (EFE).- The United States’ special presidential envoy for climate on Tuesday reaffirmed President Joe Biden’s commitment to protecting the Amazon rainforest and pledged to seek out the necessary funding to assist Brazil in that effort.
“There are stakes in what is at risk with the Amazon that are hard for some people to grab on to,” John Kerry in remarks to reporters in Brasilia alongside Brazilian Environment Minister Marina Silva.
“But the reality is that this forest is critical to the ability of the world to meet the targets we have set in international meetings.”
The US official described the Amazon as an “extraordinary treasure that belongs to everybody in some ways,” saying it poses a test for humanity and is absolutely critical to its future.
In that regard, Kerry said the US will cooperate with Brazil on both bilateral and multilateral fronts, providing scientific, technological and financial support.
The US climate envoy also praised Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s commitment to protecting both the environment and the indigenous peoples who inhabit areas of the Amazon rainforest.
“It is clear that President Lula and his administration want to meet the needs of the people of Brazil, that they understand better than anybody the challenges of indigenous peoples, the challenges of protection against illegal criminal activity and they are committed to be the critical nurturers of this forest at this critical moment in the planet’s history,” Kerry said.
Marina Silva, whom Kerry praised as one of the world’s leading environmental figures, said for her part that Brazil’s biggest challenge is to combat the negative consequences and effects of climate change” while simultaneously providing better living conditions for the nearly 28 million people who live in the Amazon region.
The minister also hailed the US’s intention to form part of the Amazon Fund, an international initiative that funds efforts to combat deforestation and has received some $1 billion in contributions thus far – mainly from Norway, but also from Germany.
Kerry, however, noted that US congressional approval will be needed before his country can make specific contributions to the fund.
In that regard, he stressed that the Biden administration can also make use of other bilateral and multilateral mechanisms to achieve key environmental goals.
Among them, he mentioned the market for carbon credits, which companies can buy to offset some of their polluting emissions and thereby help fund developing countries’ transition to clean energy.
Silva added that developed countries must “value those economic instruments for climate protection” and cooperate not only with Brazil but also Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Indonesia, which also have vast, threatened rainforests.
During his visit to Brazil, Kerry also has met with other members of Lula’s administration, lawmakers and representatives of civil society organizations that work to protect the Amazon and other vulnerable ecosystems.
The former US secretary of state’s trip comes just over two weeks after Lula met with Biden at the White House, a meeting in which the fight against climate change was one of the main items on the agenda.
Kerry will next 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