BRASILI — Brazil’s Amazon Fund for sustainable rainforest development received $640 million in new pledged donations from developed nations last year, the environmental director of the National Development Bank (BNDES) that manages the fund, Tereza Campello, said on Thursday.
Of that total, $500 million was committed by the Biden Administration over five years, and still need approval by U.S. Congress.
Other new donations came from Britain, Denmark and the European Union, while Norway, the original donor to the fund with $1.2 billion, added additional funding last year as did Germany, the second country to back the initiative.
Since President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva took office a year ago, deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon has fallen to the lowest rate since 2018, after surging under his predecessor Jair Bolsonaro, a climate-change denier.
Campello said the Amazon Fund currently has 3 billion reais ($610 million) available for investment in conservation and sustainability projects, with 2.2 billion reais already under study for release and 800 million reais awaiting requests.
She spoke at a news conference reporting on the fund’s 2023 achievements along with Deputy Environment Minister Joao Paulo Capobianco, who said Brazil’s progress in fighting deforestation has helped the Lula government seek new donations, with more countries offering to contribute.
The Amazon Fund was set up in 2008 to raise donations for non-reimbursable investment in Brazil’s efforts to prevent, monitor and combat deforestation, as well as promote the preservation and sustainable use of the Amazon forest.
Scientists say the world’s largest tropical rainforest is important for slowing global climate change by absorbing large quantities of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Among projects supported by the fund is an international police cooperation center in Manaus that brings together Amazon basin nations in policing the rainforest and sharing intelligence to crack down on illegal logging and mining, drug trafficking, smuggling and other crimes.
—Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu and Anthony Boadle. Editing by Sam Holmes