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Brazil seeks $ 1 billion in foreign aid to reduce Amazon deforestation

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According to an interview published Saturday in the newspaper O Estado de Sao Paulo, Brazilian Environment Minister Ricardo Salles is seeking $ 1 billion in foreign aid from countries including the United States to help reduce deforestation on the Amazon.

“The plan is $ 1 billion over 12 months,” Minister Ricardo Salles told the newspaper.

“If those resources were available to be used that way (to combat deforestation), we could commit to a reduction of between 30% and 40% in 12 months.”

Brazil has been widely criticized for its failure to curb deforestation in the Amazon, the world’s largest forest.

Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has said he would rather use the economic resources of rainforests than protect it, and has sent troops to try to tackle the problem with little success.

One-third of the money would be used to fund actions to combat deforestation directly, Salles said, while the remaining two-thirds would be used for economic development, to give people who have benefited from rainforests alternative opportunities.

He added that he had asked for money from the US and had also asked Norway “if they wanted to cooperate”.

The military will remain in charge, Salles said, because it is cheaper to pay their daily fees than to hire full-time staff at the Ibama environmental agency. The agency has suffered budget cuts under Bolsonaro.

“If we do not get the money, we will do the best we can with our resources, but I can not commit to a specific percentage of (deforestation) reduction,” Salles said.

Research showed last week that an area of ​​untouched rainforest the size of the Netherlands was burned or destroyed in 2020, while the destruction of the planet’s tropical forests accelerated despite a global economic slowdown.

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