Brazil’s Environment Minister Ricardo Salles met with Ambassadors Nils Martin Gunneng and Georg Witschel, of Norway and Germany, in Brasília on Wednesday (Jul 3) to talk about retaining the Amazon Fund, financed by the two European countries. The assembly was the third of its kind between the Brazilian government and the European diplomats.
Salles described the meeting as “good” and said the discussion focused on “parameters to enhance governance for the fund.” Without disclosing any joint solution, the minister argued that “the most important thing is there there is an agreement on the effort to continue, and there’s consensus that this is important work.”
“We want to receive contributions from Germany and Norway and add them to ours,” Salles said. However, he admitted the initiative may be discontinued. “In theory, yes. But we’re talking about continuing dialog with more diligence, more dedication and synergy between the parties involved,” he noted.
Willingness to continue
The European diplomats, who talked to journalists along with the minister, took on the same tone as Salles. “We want to continue the cooperation,” said the Norwegian ambassador, who showed support for “direct dialog.” His German counterpart, Witschel, said “the talk lit up the way.” He recognized, however, that the possibility that the fund may be brought to an end. “We want to avoid that,” he added.
Brazil’s permanence in the Paris Agreement, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions is seen by the diplomats as crucial for the preservation of the fund.
“Norway’s priority is to help Brazil fulfill the agreement. We can do that by decreasing deforestation and support sustainable development,” Gunneng said. “How can we have the Amazon Fund without the Paris Agreement?” he asked. “Contracts and goals [of the Amazon Fund] are based on the agreement,” he went on to stress.
Ratification in Japan
Georg Witschel noted that, during the meeting with G20 leaders in Osaka last week, Brazil and 18 other countries ratified the Paris Agreement.
The ambassadors are waiting for a decision by the Brazilian government regarding the substitution of the Amazon Fund Advice Committee and the Amazon Fund Technical Committee, both abolished following a presidential decree.
The Amazon Fund offers resources for measures aimed at the prevention and surveillance of, as well as the fight against, deforestation, and actions for the preservation of the Amazon and its sustainable use.
According to a report, from 2008 to 2017, 103 projects were made possible by a total of $500 million from the fund. Norway is the main donor (93.8 percent of the sum). Germany contributed with 5.7 percent, and Petrobras, 0.5 percent. The environment minister, however, mentioned signs of wrongdoing in fund procedures.