Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment Tine Sundtoft announced in Rio de Janeiro today that Norway will, before the global climate change summit in Paris in December, have fulfilled its 2008-commitment to contribute one billion USD to the Brazilian Amazon Fund in recognition of Brazil’s outstanding results in reducing Amazon deforestation over the last decade.
“The partnership between Brazil and Norway through the Amazon Fund shows intensified support for one of the most impressive climate change mitigation actions of the past decades,” says United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. “This is an outstanding example of the kind of international collaboration we need to ensure the future sustainability of our planet.”
The Amazon Fund was launched by Brazil in 2008. The Fund is open for contributions from countries, private individuals and businesses. Norway was the first contributor to the Fund, and made a commitment to pay up to 1 billion USD to the Amazon Fund in the period of 2008-2015 dependent on Brazil’s success in reducing deforestation in the Amazon.
“The Amazon Fund consolidated the substantive reduction of emissions caused by deforestation in Amazon – the best news regarding climate change in the last years. Led by Norway’s contributions, the Amazon Fund became the anchor of Brazilian efforts to enable a new production and protection sustainable development paradigm”, says Izabella Teixeira, Minister of Environment in Brazil.
Norway has, since 2008, paid a total of more than 900 million USD to the Amazon Fund for the results delivered. The deforestation figures for the 2014 forest year indicates a reduction in deforestation of almost 75 per cent compared to the Amazon Fund’s original reference level.
“Brazil’s achievements in reducing deforestation in the Amazon are truly impressive. The benefits for the global climate, for biodiversity and vital ecosystem services, as well as for the people living in and off the Amazon, are immeasurable. Through the Amazon Fund, Brazil has established what has become a model for other national climate change funds. We are proud to be partnering with Brazil in this effort”, stated minister Sundtoft.
All the projects supported by the Amazon Fund are a part of Brazil’s general plan to reduce deforestation, while also promoting sustainable development in the Amazon region. The projects range from supporting indigenous peoples to continue to take care of the forest, land planning at the municipal and state level, sustainable and more efficient agricultural practices, improved fire protection, enforcement of forest legislation, knowledge and technological development. A total of 75 projects worth 546 million USD had been approved as of 31 August 2015.
The Amazon Fund is administered by the Brazilian Development Bank, BNDES. BNDES is the world’s second largest development bank and had average annual payments in the period 2008-2014 at 76,5 billion USD. BNDES has rigorous procedures for approval of projects, and is considered to be a liable fund manager.
“The BNDES took on the honorable task of managing these resources, and we are proud that the Amazon Fund is now a benchmark to the world”, says Luciano Coutinho, the president of the BNDES. “The development of the Amazon region will only be possible with the conservation of the forest and its biodiversity. It is hoped that the Amazon Fund will be more and more associated with an innovative agenda for sustainable development of the Amazon region, which fosters a low-carbon economy, and that contributes decisively to improving not only the standard of living and preservation, but also the recovery and the rational use of its natural resources.”
“The Amazon Fund has been an important instrument for promoting innovative policies, measures and actions in order to achieve real sustainable development, and for changing the economic logic that is behind the destruction of forests, in the Amazon, and even in other regions. Strengthening the strategies that promote the sustainable use of natural resources, combined with best practices in productive activities in forest areas, which has been promoted by the Amazon Fund with the fundamental support of the Norwegian Government, is of the utmost importance.” says Carlos Rittl, Executive Secreatry of the Brazilian Climate Observatory.
Brazil is by far the world’s largest tropical forest country. Around 30 per cent of the world’s remaining rainforests are located in Brazil. Brazil’s efforts in reducing deforestation in the Amazon are indispensable in the battle to avoid catastrophic climate change.
“The Amazon Fund provides critical capital for innovative projects focused on curbing deforestation, mitigating climate change and strengthening sustainable development,” said Mark R. Tercek, The Nature Conservancy’s President and CEO. “I’m delighted to see Norway’s expanded investment in the Amazon Fund. It offers significant opportunity to scale up important work and demonstrates the North-South cooperation that is crucial for solving complex conservation challenges, such as biodiversity loss and climate change. This type of commitment is essential as nations prepare to negotiate a new global climate agreement in December in Paris,” he says.
“Brazil has reduced deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon to a quarter of what it used to be. This is an incredibly important contribution to the struggle for protecting the rainforest and reducing man-made climate change”, says Lars Løvold, Director of Rainforest Foundation Norway. “Norway’s donations to the Brazilian Amazon Fund are a well-deserved reward for the results obtained, and an important contribution to strengthening this positive development. We hope that many other countries will join in, rewarding Brazil for their efforts, and that Norway in its continued cooperation with Brazil will focus on how to achieve the goal of ending deforestation in the Amazon”, he concludes.
The results presented to the Norwegian government, which is the main donator to the Amazon Fund, include the following efforts that have been developed over the last six years: support for 94 Conservation Units and 14 million hectares of protected areas, strengthening territorial control; some 1,200 smaller sub-projects; some 3,100 people were trained as firefighters; some 37 million hectares, corresponding to 138,000 rural properties, were enrolled in the Rural Environmental Registration.
The Fund, to date, has also provided support to five projects focusing exclusively on indigenous people, which is one of its priorities. This effort covers 52% of the indigenous land in the Legal Amazon. Not only the federal and state conservation units, but also indigenous land serve as deterrents against deforestation.
Deemed one of the most important initiatives in the world in terms of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), and a benchmark when creating new funds to combat deforestation, the Amazon Fund currently has 51% approved projects in its portfolio aimed at monitoring and control efforts, some 24% focusing on sustainable production, 14% working with technological and scientific development, and 11% in land-use planning.
The Norwegian government is the main donator to the Fund (US$ 850 million) and is expected to donate a further US$ 150 million, totaling a commitment of US$ 1 billion in donations. The meeting between the minsters Ms. Izabella Teixeira and Ms. Tine Sundtoft, who is visiting Brazil for the first time, and Mr. Coutinho is in keeping with the context of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21), slated for December, in Paris, when UN members countries will attempt to reach a consensus regarding the initiatives aimed at combating climate change.
The Fund has already received donations to the tune of BRL$ 2 billion (US$ 917 million), of which 96% is from the Norwegian government (the first donator to the Fund), some 3% from Germany’s development bank, or KfW, and 1% form Brazils oil firm, Petrobras.