USA and Brazil agree to develop Amazon

The USA and Brazil have agreed to promote private-sector development in the Amazon, during a meeting in Washington in 2019.

They also pledged a $100m (£80m) biodiversity conservation fund for the Amazon led by the private sector.

Brazil’s foreign minister said opening the rain forest to economic development was the only way to protect it? Ernesto Araujo also hit back at criticism of Brazil’s handling of the forest fires.

Araujo said: “We want to be together in the endeavor to create development for the Amazon region which we are convinced is the only way to protect the forest.

“So we need new initiatives, new productive initiatives, that create jobs, that create revenue for people in the Amazon and that’s where our partnership with the United States will be very important for us.”

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has faced criticism for failing to protect the region. However, more than 80,000 forest fires have broken out in the Amazon rain forest so far this year.

Experts believe the majority of the fires across Brazil this year are caused by human activity such as farmers and loggers clearing land for crops or cattle grazing.

Finland urged EU countries to consider stopping importing beef and soybeans from Brazil in order to put pressure on Brazil to tackle the fires.

Environmentalists will say this scheme is a ruse to open up the Amazon for mining, logging and farming.

When roads are driven into the forest it attracts more settlers, who clear land and hunt wildlife. The land clearance – even on a quite small basis – leads to changed weather patterns, which harm the forest.

Environmentalists will argue the best way of saving the rain forest is to leave it in the hands of indigenous people.

Environmentalists say Bolsonaro’s policies have led to an increase in fires this year and that he has encouraged cattle farmers to clear large areas of the rain forest since his election in 2018.

Now, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the (so-called) biodiversity investment fund would support businesses in hard to reach areas of the Amazon.

The Brazilians and the American teams will follow through on our commitment that our presidents made in March. We’re getting off the ground a 100 million dollar, 11-year Impact Investment Fund for Amazon biodiversity and that project will be led by the private sector.

On the opposite side, seven South American countries agreed on measures to protect their Amazon river basin.

Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Suriname signed a pact, setting up a disaster response network and satellite monitoring.

At a summit in the city of Leticia, Colombia they also agreed to work on reforestation. Goodwill alone is not enough anymore.

Crickey Conservation Society 2020.

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