Biden pledges to work with Congress to fund protection of Amazon rainforest
After meeting with Brazil’s new president Lula da Silva, US President Joe Biden has pledged to “work with Congress” to secure funding for the preservation of the Amazon rainforest.
Lula travelled to Washington, DC to meet with Biden at the White House, during which the United States “announced its intent to work with [the US] Congress to provide funds for programs to protect and conserve the Brazilian Amazon, including initial support for the Amazon Fund, and to leverage investments in this critical region,” according to the US government’s summary of the meeting.
The Brazilian Development Bank manages a fund called the Amazon Fund, which is used for indigenous forest management and small-scale farming initiatives aimed at protecting forests. Under Bolsonaro, the $1.2 billion fund was suspended, but it was reinstated on Lula’s first day in office. Norway and Germany provide the funding, and the UK is contemplating contributing as well. It has never before had financial support from the US.
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The president of Brazilian think-tank Talanoa Institute, Natalie Unterstell, told newsmen that a US donation to the Amazon Fund would be “a significant change in the way the US deals with climate finance for Brazil as it shifts the resources to Brazilian governance instead of acting through a cooperation agency.”
“It’s quite positive. This is an important gesture and a first step from the perspective of rebuilding the bilateral relationship between the countries. But we will need a billion-dollar strategy, not a million-dollar one, to achieve zero deforestation in this decade,” she added.
A collaborative working committee on climate change that was established in 2015 and then disbanded at the end of the year was reinstated by Biden and Lula.
The working group will consider ways to work together on issues like combating deforestation, promoting the use of clean energy, adapting to climate change, improving the economy, and making agriculture more climate-friendly.