• Categories
  • Archives

Fed Up with Brazil, Norway Cuts Aid They Are Giving to Protect the Amazon

Many areas in the Amazon are cleared to raise cattle - Adriano Gambarini/WWF-Brasil Many areas in the Amazon are cleared to raise cattle - Adriano Gambarini/WWF-Brasil

Michel Temer, the embattled president of Brazil, did not find any respite from his problems on a visit to Norway on Wednesday.

As he toured the Scandinavian nation to drum up investment for his struggling economy, Temer was reminded that Norway’s major foreign aid support is conditional on protection of the Amazon rainforest.

In a leaked letter preceding Temer’s Oslo visit, Norway’s environment minister Vidar Helgesen criticized a recent rise in deforestation and moves by Congress to cut environmental protections.

“I believe that it is important to express concern when concern is due,” wrote Helgesen, addressing his Brazilian counterpart, José Sarney Filho.

“As you are aware, a set of policy measures that have caused strong public reactions in Brazil are making their way through Congress, including the revision of the environmental licensing criteria and the roll back of protection of significant tracts of the Amazon.

“In parallel, budgets for key institutions that provide vital services for forest protection, are being cut, and their mandate to operate effectively is put under pressure.”

Norway is in a special position to deploy such strong diplomatic language. Brazil is the largest recipient of its foreign aid. Since 2009, Norway has pledged US$ 1.1 billion to the Amazon Fund.

The program has financed anti-deforestation and sustainable development projects such as an agroforestry management and production project with the Ashaninka people and satellite monitoring.

“The big picture of the last decade is very positive. Brazil has set an example to the world in combating deforestation. Now, we are seeing a worrying development in the last couple of years. We’ve had a very good and frank dialogue with Brazilian authorities about what can be done to get back on track,” Helgesen told this reporter on Monday in Oslo.

While he said environmental policies “are entirely up to the Brazilian government,” the Norwegian minister added aid payments are based on results. “If deforestation is reduced, there is money coming from Norway. If deforestation increases, there will be much less money, because it’s about honoring results of nationally-based policies.”

Although data is not yet available for this year, Norway’s payments through the Amazon Fund are likely to be significantly cut, following a 29% deforestation increase in 2016.

On Tuesday, Temer vetoed a bill from Congress that would have reduced protections across 1.4 million acres of land, much of it in the Amazon. Observers suggested he was trying to improve his image for Norway, after the plans sparked an international outcry.

That reprieve for the forests may be temporary, with Sarney Filho announcing on Sunday he was developing another bill to deregulate a different area. Farming and mining interests continue to wield significant influence in Brazil’s politics, lobbying for the right to expand operations into forested areas.

During Temer’s state visit to Norway, the two environment ministers meet for the second time this year. There was a previous meeting in Brasília in March.

Climate Home

Tags:

  • Show Comments (0)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

comment *

  • name *

  • email *

  • website *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Ads

You May Also Like

Michel Temer, then vice-president, at the arrival of União frigate in Lebanon

Brazil Leads UNIFIL, a Task Force to Keep Peace Between Lebanon and Israel

The Maritime Task Force (FTM, per its Portuguese acronym) of the United Nations Interim ...

Cow on grass land. Author: Alex Andrews

Brazil Keeps Fining Pedro Cordeiro, a Crook and Land-grabber. But Does He Even Exist?

In April 2017, Brazilian environmental agents fined Pedro Cordeiro US$ 9.2 million for converting ...

Hit by a Police Strike, Looting, Dozens of Dead, Brazil City Begs for the Feds

Brazil sent 200 federal troops into the state of Espírito Santo, in southeastern Brazil, ...

US Prize Winner Brazilian Environmentalist Favors Family Farming in the Amazon

TarcÀ­sio Feitosa, a social activist from the Terra do Meio ("Middle Ground") region of ...

US$ 1.2 Billion for Brazil’s Environment

The World Bank will lend Brazil US$ 1.2 billion over the course of four ...

Former president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

Lula Already Talking on How He Will Rule Brazil as President in a Third Term

During a ceremonial launch of the second phase of the Lula Institute Democracy Memorial, ...

A Brazilian Virus Called Odebrecht

Over the last 73 years, Odebrecht has become the leading construction company in Latin ...