Norway reaffirms environmental commitment to Brazil’s Amazon

Brasilia, Mar 22 (EFE).- The Norwegian government on Wednesday in Brasilia reaffirmed its environmental commitment to the Brazilian Amazon region and announced that it will help in seeking additional resources from other donors to maintain the world’s largest rainforest and jungle.

The announcement was made during a meeting between Brazilian Environment Minister Marina Silva and her Norwegian counterpart Espen Barth Eide at which the two officials analyzed details of the Amazon Fund, the mechanism created by Brazil 15 years ago to help safeguard the biome and in which the European country has been the South American giant’s main collaborator.

After the meeting, the Silva told reporters that a package of 14 sustainable development projects financed with Fund resources that had been frozen during the previous administration of ultrarightist Brazilisn President Jair Bolsonaro now will have priority.

“We have these 15 years of history of working together on the Amazon Fund … (We had to halt work in 2019 due to a change in Brazilian policy) but we’re very happy to work with President Lula (Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva) … and with Marina Silva,” said the Norwegian minister.

“We are continuing (Norwegian) support and we are also trying to mobilize other donors to come in because we think this has been a very successful model,” he added.

The projects include efforts to halt deforestation in the Amazon, to push forward with bioeconomic activities and to provide food security and protection to indigenous peoples, and these are just the beginning of others that will be presented in the future, Silva said.

At the press conference, Silva said that the issues linked to climate change are a priority for the Da Silva government, adding that the country must look to clean energy sources, something that was echoed by her Norwegian counterpart.

He said that an energy transition is needed and Norway and Brazil, and others, need to begin working on that right away.

The Amazon Fund was created in 2008 and operated until 2019, when the Bolsonaro government decided to deactivated it amid a campaign to implement policies to push for increased mining and other economic activities in the region.

Lula, who took office on Jan. 1, 2023, overturned those policies on his first day as president and ordered the reactivation of the Amazon Fund, to which he now wants to attract the United States, China and France, among other big economic powers.

Currently, the Amazon Fund oversees some $1 billion contributed by Norway and Germany and expectations are that the US will join the effort with an initial donation of $50 million.

EFE –/bp

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