To join efforts to help stop deforestation and preserve the world’s largest tropical rainforest, Switzerland and the United States have donated $8.4 million to Brazil’s Amazon Fund. The Brazilian National Development Bank (BNDES) that manages the fund informed on Tuesday, October 3, that Switzerland contributed 5 million Swiss francs ($5.4 million) and the United States $3 million.
According to the statement by the bank, the U.S. donation is part of a $500 million contribution over five years announced by President Joe Biden in April at a climate meeting where the Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva repeated Brazil’s pledge to reach zero deforestation by 2030.
The Amazon forest has been in news over the years due to deforestation. Cattle ranching, along with clearing land to sell timber or grow crops, is driving deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. The destruction of rainforests, which serve as carbon sinks, imperils global climate targets.
Brazil is the world’s largest beef exporter. The country’s beef industry blames criminals for most deforestation.
Lowest deforestation in years
Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon fell 66.11% in August 2023 to its lowest level for the month since 2018,as per Brazil’s Environment Minister Marina Silva. Satellite data from Brazilian space research agency INPE indicated that 563 square km (217.38 square miles) of rainforest were cleared in the month, a 66.1% drop from the same period a year ago.
In the first eight months of the year, INPE’s figures showed, deforestation has fallen a cumulative 48% from the same period of 2022.
The Amazon Fund was created in 2008 to raise donations to fight deforestation. Norway provided an initial $1 billion and Germany $68 million. More recently Britain and the European Union said they will contribute.
The fund supports the prevention, monitoring and combat of Amazon deforestation and fosters sustainable development. Since its creation, it has funded 102 projects with a total investment of 1.75 billion reais ($340 million), BNDES said.
Earlier in September 2023, Brazilian state-run Banco do Brasil BBAS3.SA and the World Bank signed a memorandum of understanding on a $400 million credit line for sustainable agriculture and the restoration of degraded areas in the Amazon region.
In September this year, Team Europe, which includes EU members states and institutions such as the European Investment Bank, planned to coordinate 260 million euros ($277 million) already pledged by Spain, Italy, Sweden, France, Germany and the Netherlands to curb deforestation in the Amazon. Under the Global Gateway project, the EU pledged in July to invest 45 billion euros in Latin America by 2027.
(Input from Reuters)