Germany has given tens of millions of dollars to assist Brazil in defending the Amazon rainforest, a vital global environment that has been devastated for years by former far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
On Monday, German Development Minister Svenja Schulze announced that Berlin will contribute $38 million to the Amazon Fund, an international organisation mostly supported by Norway that tries to combat deforestation.
Bolsonaro abolished the steering group that picks sustainable projects to sponsor in 2019, forcing Germany and Norway to withhold their payments.
“With the new government and the team of [Brazil’s] President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and [environment] Minister Marina Silva, we have a great chance to protect the forest and to offer a new perspective to the people who live there,” Schulze added.
Germany has promised $87 million in low-interest loans to farmers to rebuild damaged areas, as well as $34 million to Brazilian governments in the Amazon region to safeguard the rainforest.
“Despite all the difficulties, the increase in deforestation, the land grabbing, the fires, the dire state of the Indigenous populations, we see this as an opportunity to reverse this whole situation,” Lula remarked during the news conference.
The declaration came soon before German Chancellor Olaf Scholz arrived in Brazil on Monday afternoon, making him the first Western leader to meet with Lula since he took office earlier this month.
The left-wing politician, who narrowly defeated Bolsonaro in a runoff election in October, has committed to fight for zero deforestation in the Amazon, which covers nearly two-thirds of Brazil.
The rainforest is vital to the worldwide fight against climate change, and rights organisations have criticised the Bolsonaro administration’s plans for increasing devastation and posing new risks to Indigenous populations in the region.
According to government estimates, deforestation in the Brazilian rainforest increased by 150 percent in December over the previous year, totaling 218.4 square kilometres (84.3 square miles) of degraded forest cover.
Following Lula’s election victory, Greenpeace Brazil had called on the incoming Brazilian administration to rebuild the government agencies responsible with safeguarding the environment – a move it deemed essential.
Copyright: News Central TV
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central TV.