Norway Pays One Billion Dollar to Brazil for Reduced Deforestation in the Amazon

Photo : Caroline Bennett.

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Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment Tine Sundtoft announced yesterday that before the global climate change summit in Paris in December, Norway will have fulfilled its 2008-commitment to contribute one billion USD to the Brazilian Amazon Fund. This is in recognition of Brazil’s outstanding results in reducing Amazon deforestation over the last decade.

“The partnership between Brazil and Norway through the Amazon Fund shows intensified support for one of most impressive climate change mitigation actions of the past decades,” says United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. “This is an outstanding example of the kind of international collaboration we need to ensure the future sustainability of our planet.”

In 2008, Norway made a commitment to pay up to 1 billion USD to the Amazon Fund in the period of 2008-2015 if Brazil would reduce deforestation in the Amazon – the world’s largest rainforest. During the last decade, Brazil has reduced deforestation in its part of the Amazon by over 75 percent.

“The Amazon Fund consolidated the substantive reduction of emissions caused by deforestation in Amazon – the best news regarding climate change in the last years. Led by Norway’s contributions, the Amazon Fund became the anchor of Brazilian efforts to enable a new production and protection sustainable development paradigm”, says Izabella Teixeira, Minister of Environment in Brazil.

The deforestation figures for the 2014 forest year indicates a reduction in deforestation of almost 75 per cent compared to the Amazon Fund’s original reference level (average deforestation 1996-2005, 19,559 km2).

Based on these results, the Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment Tine Sundtoft declared yesterday during her visit in Brazil that Norway within the end of the year will meet its promise to support the Amazon Fund with one billion USD. Brazil’s efforts in reducing deforestation in the Amazon are indispensable in the battle to avoid catastrophic climate change.

“Brazil’s achievements in reducing deforestation in the Amazon are truly impressive. The benefits for the global climate, for biodiversity and vital ecosystem services, as well as for the people living in and off the Amazon, are immeasurable. Through the Amazon Fund, Brazil has established what has become a model for other national climate change funds. We are proud to be partnering with Brazil in this effort”, says Sundtoft.

The Amazon Fund was launched by Brazil in 2008. The Fund is open for contributions from countries, private individuals and businesses. Norway was the first contributor to the fund. Since 2008, Norway has paid a total of more than 900 million USD to the Amazon Fund based on the results delivered by Brazil. The fund is administered by the Brazilian Development Bank, BNDES, which is the world’s second largest development bank.

“The BNDES took on the honorable task of managing these resources, and we are proud that the Amazon Fund is now a benchmark to the world”, says Luciano Coutinho, the president of the BNDES.

“The development of the Amazon region will only be possible with the conservation of the forest and its biodiversity. It is hoped that the Amazon Fund will be more and more associated with an innovative agenda for sustainable development of the Amazon region, which fosters a low-carbon economy, and that contributes decisively to improving not only the standard of living and preservation, but also the recovery and the rational use of its natural resources.”, Coutinho says.

All the projects supported by the Amazon Fund are a part of Brazil’s general plan to reduce deforestation, while also promoting sustainable development in the Amazon region. 75 projects worth 546 million USD had been approved as of 31 August 2015.

“The Amazon Fund has been an important instrument for promoting innovative policies, measures and actions in order to achieve real sustainable development, and for changing the economic logic that is behind the destruction of forests, in the Amazon, and even in other regions. Strengthening the strategies that promote the sustainable use of natural resources, combined with best practices in productive activities in forest areas, which has been promoted by the Amazon Fund with the fundamental support of the Norwegian Government, is of the utmost importance.” says Carlos Rittl, Executive Secreatry of the Brazilian Climate Observatory.

Brazil is by far the world’s largest tropical forest country. Around 30 per cent of the world’s remaining rainforests are located in Brazil.

 “The Amazon Fund provides critical capital for innovative projects focused on curbing deforestation, mitigating climate change and strengthening sustainable development,” said Mark R. Tercek, The Nature Conservancy’s President and CEO.

 “I’m delighted to see Norway’s expanded investment in the Amazon Fund. It offers significant opportunity to scale up important work and demonstrates the North-South cooperation that is crucial for solving complex conservation challenges, such as biodiversity loss and climate change. This type of commitment is essential as nations prepare to negotiate a new global climate agreement in December in Paris”, he says.

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