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Brazil and France Launch €1 Billion Initiative to Safeguard Amazon Rainforest

Belem, March 26, 2024, The Europe Today: Brazil and France have unveiled a collaborative program aimed at protecting the Amazon rainforest, involving a substantial investment of €1 billion ($1.08 billion) over the next four years.

The announcement coincided with the arrival of French President Emmanuel Macron in the Brazilian city of Belem, where he engaged in discussions with Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Situated at the mouth of the Amazon River in the northern state of Para, Belem is slated to host the COP30 climate summit in 2025, underscoring its significance in global environmental discourse.

Outlined by the French presidency, the investment plan seeks to mobilize “€1 billion of public and private investment over the next four years” with a focus on fostering sustainable development in the Brazilian and Guyanese Amazon regions. Central to the initiative is the promotion of a comprehensive global investment strategy in the bio-economy sector, aiming to bolster environmental conservation efforts and combat climate change.

A key component of the program involves the establishment of a “carbon market” designed to incentivize countries investing in natural carbon sinks, with the Amazon rainforest serving as a vital reservoir for absorbing CO2 emissions.

The initiative assumes added importance in light of escalating deforestation rates in the Brazilian Amazon, exacerbated during the tenure of former President Jair Bolsonaro. However, recent data suggests a marked reversal in this trend following enhanced environmental protections implemented under the administration of President Lula.

In a joint commitment to safeguarding biodiversity and indigenous rights, Brazil and France have pledged support for indigenous communities and local Amazonian populations. Recognizing their indispensable role in preserving the rainforest, the initiative aims to empower these communities through initiatives promoting traditional knowledge and sustainable forest management practices.

During his visit to Belem, President Macron honored Raoni Metuktire, a prominent leader of the indigenous Kayapo people, with France’s highest distinction, the Legion of Honor. Celebrated as a global advocate for Amazon rainforest preservation and indigenous culture, Raoni Metuktire’s recognition underscores the significance of indigenous voices in environmental advocacy.

The initiative marks a significant step forward in international cooperation for environmental preservation, reflecting a shared commitment by Brazil and France to address the urgent challenges posed by climate change and biodiversity loss in the Amazon region.