Germany says ready to resume Brazil deforestation aid after Lula victory

AFP/The Local
AFP/The Local - [email protected] • 2 Nov, 2022 Updated Wed 2 Nov 2022 14:45 CEST
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A snapshot of the Brazilian rainforest, taken in September 2022. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/FSC Global Development | Arturo Escobar

Germany said Wednesday it was ready to resume sending financial aid to Brazil to combat deforestation, which it froze in 2019 under Jair Bolsonaro, following Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's election triumph.

"We are in principle prepared to release the frozen funds," said a development ministry spokesman in Berlin. "We will now talk to the transition team in Brazil about the details."

He was referring to aid paid by Germany into the Amazon Fund for Forest Conservation and Climate Protection, considered one of the main tools to reduce deforestation in the planet's biggest tropical forest.

READ ALSO: How climate change is threatening Germany's forests

The spokesman said it was not yet clear when payments would resume but added that "in the German government, there is a great will to reach out quickly".

Germany, along with the fund's biggest donor Norway, had halted payments after deforestation surged under far-right, climate-sceptic leader Jair Bolsonaro.

Norway had already announced on Monday that it would resume sending Amazon protection subsidies to Brazil following Lula's victory in the presidential elections.

Lula -- who served as president between 2003 and 2011 -- said after his election victory on Sunday that Brazil was "ready to reclaim its place in the fight against the climate crisis, especially the Amazon."

He vowed to "fight for zero deforestation."

Reducing deforestation is one of the solutions put forward by the UN International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, in line with the targets of the Paris Accord.

'Winner is the world's climate'

Germany on Monday already welcomed Luiz  Inacio Lula da Silva's victory in Brazil's presidential election, calling it a  win for democracy and climate protection.

"The biggest winner is Brazilian democracy because the elections, which were very close, were transparent and fair," Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told reporters during a visit to Astana.

"Another big winner is the world's climate," she added, voicing hope for more rainforest preservation.

"This decision by the Brazilian voters gives hope that the unrestrained deforestation of the rainforests in Brazil will soon come to an end, and that  Brazil will once again become a driver in our common fight against the climate crisis," Baerbock said.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz tweeted his congratulations, saying he looked  forward to "a close and trusting cooperation" with Brazil, "especially in the areas of trade and climate protection".

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AFP/The Local 2022/11/02 14:45

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