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Brazil must show Amazon protection is working, top donor Norway says
Brazil must show Amazon protection is working: top donor Norway
Published: Apr 14, 2021 05:23 PM
Brazil must demonstrate it can reduce the ongoing deforestation in the Amazon before Norway resumes payments in support of preserving the world's largest rainforest, the Norwegian environment minister told Reuters.

A large amount of smoke from the illegal burning of the Amazon rainforest in Nova Progresso, Para, Brazil on August 15, 2020 Photo: VCG

A large amount of smoke from the illegal burning of the Amazon rainforest in Nova Progresso, Para, Brazil on August 15, 2020 Photo: VCG

Norway worked closely with Brazil to protect the vulnerable ecosystem between 2008 and 2018, paying $1.2 billion into the Amazon Fund, which pays Brazil to prevent, monitor and combat deforestation.

Oslo has by far been the biggest donor. But rainforest destruction has surged since Brazil's right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro took office in January 2019, weakening enforcement and calling for the development of the Amazon, and also changing the fund's governance.

Still, Brazil earlier in April sought $1 billion in aid over a 12-month period from countries including the US and Norway to help reduce deforestation by between 30 percent and 40 percent.

Oslo, which in 2019 froze funds worth more than 5 billion Norwegian crowns ($585 million), said talks with Brazil were ongoing.

"The conditions for a reopening and making these funds available is that deforestation decreases substantially and that agreement is reached regarding the governance structure of the Amazon Fund," Norway's Minister of Climate and Environment Sveinung Rotevatn said.

He also recently spoke with Brazil's Minister of Environment Ricardo Salles.

"I noted that he says he wants to strengthen the police efforts against illegal deforestation. These are measures that have had a great effect in the past, and which can also be decisive in the time to come," Rotevatn said.

In addition to a rich biodiversity, tropical forests soak up heat-trapping carbon dioxide, making their preservation vital to the combat of man-made climate change. Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon rainforest declined overall in the first quarter of 2021, preliminary data showed on Friday, and experts point to a concerning jump in destruction in March.
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