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Friday, May 27, 2022

Brazilian groups ask for access to US forestry funds

RIO DE JANEIRO ( Associated Press) — Brazilian environmental and indigenous organizations, along with some companies, are urging the United States to deliver promised funding for forest protection and to deal directly with those who live in the forest, have protected it and, they say, , “are directly affected by increasing deforestation.”

More than 300 organizations and businesses signed a letter published Monday night, before the US House Foreign Affairs Committee discusses in a hearing scheduled for Thursday a bill introduced in November by the leader of the House of Representatives. majority in the Senate, Steny Hoyer. The rule, known as Amazonia21, would create a $9 billion fund administered by the State Department to finance forest conservation and the natural absorption of carbon dioxide in developing countries.

In the letter, the signatories say that its approval would be an indication that the US president, Joe Biden, fulfills the promise he made last year at the climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, to contribute 9,000 million dollars to the fight. against deforestation. Hoyer presented Amazonía21 after that announcement.

The chances of the bill passing in both the Senate and the House of Representatives are uncertain as both Congress and Biden are focused on military aid to Ukraine and domestic initiatives by the president’s climate agency remain stalled. However, the letter highlights that the bill affects one of the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions.

Brazil has about a third of the Amazon rainforest, the largest tropical forest of its kind and a huge carbon dioxide sink. There is widespread concern that their deforestation releases huge amounts of this gas into the atmosphere, further complicating hopes of curbing climate change. And what is worse, it could surpass the tipping point in which much of the forest begins the irreversible process of degradation towards a tropical savannah.

Signatories to the letter include the Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture, a vast organization that encompasses a wide range of members, from WWF Brazil to meat producer JBS; and the Coordinator of the Indigenous Organization of the Brazilian Amazon.

They say they want the bill to ensure “transparent and direct funding” that goes directly to indigenous communities and others who have traditionally conserved the forest and whose livelihoods are directly affected by its degradation.

The State Department usually manages its relations on a nation-to-nation basis, but Amazonía21 specifies that forestry agreements can be reached with “subnational” actors.

“There are many ways to do international cooperation,” said André Guimarães, spokesman for the coalition, by phone. “You can write a check to a government partner, create a financial mechanism that supports initiatives and projects, work with subnational governments or create financial mechanisms.”

The question of who controls the funds is more important now in Brazil since the government of Jair Bolsonaro does not support either the protection of the Amazon or the autonomy of indigenous peoples. During his presidency, Amazon deforestation reached its worst level in 15 years, following a 22% increase the previous year, according to official data published in November. Brazil’s Amazon region has lost a forest area roughly equivalent to the size of the Bahamas in the 12 months to July 2021.

According to Guimarães, the letter is not a reaction against the far-right president, whose environmental policy has been widely criticized, but he indicated that Bolsonaro would take a dim view of the contribution since in the past he referred to the imperialist forces that try to take over the Amazon. .

In 2019, during his first year in office, Bolsonaro also undermined the largest international cooperation effort to preserve the region, the Norwegian-backed Amazon Fund, by dissolving the steering committee that selected projects to finance.

This initiative was designed so that the more Brazil reduces deforestation, the more donations it receives. Norway provided more than 90% of the funds, about 1.2 billion dollars.

Since then, the Fund has only supported projects approved before Bolsonaro’s election. Norway and Germany have stopped contributing financially to the initiative.

The recipients of the letter were Hoyer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; Biden; Secretary of State Antony Blinken and members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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