In letter to Biden, Bolsonaro pledges end of illegal deforestation

The president called for help from the international community

Published on 15/04/2021 - 15:54 By Andreia Verdélio - Brasília

President Jair Bolsonaro pledged to bring an end to illegal deforestation by 2030. In a letter sent to US President Joe Biden on Wednesday (Apr. 14), Bolsonaro recognizes the increase in deforestation rates starting in 2021 and declares that both the state and society need to step up their efforts to fight this environmental crime.

“This year, we would like to restate, in unequivocal support to the efforts made by Your Excellence, our commitment in having illegal deforestation in Brazil eliminated by 2030,” Bolsonaro wrote.

To reach this goal, Bolsonaro says the country will need “bulky resources and far-reaching public policies.” In this connection, he went on, Brazil hopes to rely on the support of governments, the private enterprise, civil society, and the international community, including the US: “Like us, Americans will be able to determine that the main causes of environmental degradation are rooted in poverty and lack of opportunities. Therefore, working for environmental preservation also includes promoting economic development.”

In his view, economic alternatives must be devised in order to reduce the appeal of illegal activities and to bring about conditions for the 25 million Brazilians living in the Amazon to thrive with their own efforts. To do this, he said, deforestation cannot be tackled with inspection measures alone—or “we will never attain the long-lasting results in environmental control,” the president declared.

In his letter to Biden, in addition to setting goals and making commitments, Bolsonaro listed the initiatives implemented by Brazil to preserve the environment, including projects in bioeconomy, land regularization, and ecologic and economic zoning, and the payment for environmental services.

The president said he also hopes to hear from entities in the voluntary sector, indigenous people, and traditional communities, and reiterated the need for financial aid. “In underscoring the ambition of the targets we pledge to meet, I cannot refrain from stressing once again the need for obtaining the appropriate support from the international community, according to the scale, volume, and speed compatible with the magnitude and urgency of the challenges lying ahead,” the text reads.

On April 22, Bolsonaro is set to participate in the Leaders’ Summit on Climate, an event organized by the US President. To Biden, Bolsonaro offered his engagement in the search for “ambitious commitments and results” and mentioned attempts to deepen “the excellent relations” between Brazil and the US.

A more recent commitment discussed by Bolsonaro is Brazil’s new goal in the Paris Agreement—the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), which mandates neutrality in greenhouse gas emissions until 2060. “We have adopted absolute goals in the reduction of emissions that surpass those of many developed countries, which nonetheless carry considerably more responsibility over climate change,” the president wrote in the letter.

Bolsonaro’s letter to Biden was published in full today (15). “President Jair Bolsonaro reiterates the commitment of Brazil and its government with the international efforts to protect the environment, fight climate change, and promote sustainable development, stressing the importance of joint work around such goals,” the president’s advisors wrote.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Denise Griesinger / Nira Foster

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