Norway will pay USD 70 million (NOK 600 million) to Brazil for reduced emissions from deforestation in the Amazon in 2017, line with climate and forest cooperation between the two countries.
– After two years of increasing deforestation, Brazil’s efforts in 2017 were encouraging: Deforestation dropped by 12 percent compared to the year before, and was 64 percent below the average of the decade prior to Brazil’s initiation of large-scale forest reforms in 2004, says Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment, Ola Elvestuen.
Elvestuen says Brazil has achieved very good results in the Amazon over the last decade. Over the period of collaboration, Brazil has saved the atmosphere from emissions of more than 4,5 billion tons of CO2, almost 100 times Norway’s annual emissions.
This year’s payment from Norway to Brazil of USD 70 million is remuneration for the reduction of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon achieved in the forest year 2017 (August 2016-July 2017). The funds are disbursed to Brazil’s Amazon Fund, which supports projects that further reduce deforestation and improve the livelihoods of people living in the Amazon region (see fact box below on how Norwegian contributions are spent).
Alongside Norway, Germany also makes significant contributions to the Amazon fund.
– It is encouraging that Brazil managed to reduce deforestation in the Amazon last year, despite a challenging economic situation, says Elvestuen.
Recent deforestation trends are worrying
While Brazil can demonstrate reduced deforestation in 2017, preliminary figures indicate that logging increased in the forest year 2018. In a recently published estimate, Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) presented 2018 deforestation figures at 7900 km2. This corresponds to a 13,7 percent increase in deforestation from 2017 to 2018. The figures are still preliminary, but the possible increase gives reasons to concern both in Brazil and in Norway.
History has shown that deforestation in the Amazon rainforest often increases during election years.Brazil has just completed presidential and congressional elections in 2018.
The figures will only be verified next year, and will first then give the basis for payment from Norway in 2019, in line with the rules of the results-based cooperation between the two countries.
– We look forward to talking to the new government about Brazil’s future plans and our bilateral cooperation. We hope and believe that Brazil will continue to show the world that it is possible to reduce deforestation while increasing agricultural production in a sustainable way. It is very positive that Brazilian businesses, and especially the agribusiness, are increasingly contributing to the efforts against deforestation in the Amazon.
Brazil has previously shown that growth in agricultural production is possible without negatively affecting the rainforest.
According to Brazil’s Ministry of Environment, there are several reasons behind the rise in deforestation in 2018. Increased demand for Brazilian agricultural products has stimulated the opening of new forest areas. Longer and more severe dry seasons have led to a significant increase in forest fires. The increase in organized crime and illegal logging is often tied to other criminal activities, such as the illegal arms trade..
Norway is a proud partner of Brazil
Ola Elvestuen says Norway is a proud partner of Brazil, and considers the partnership to be a great success.
– Brazil’s results in reducing deforestation from 2005 to 2014 are one of the largest efforts to combat climate change in the last decade. Norway will continue to support the Amazon Fund until 2020, in accordance with our Joint Declaration with Brazil at the Paris Climate Summit in 2015 and our Contribution Agreement with the Amazon Fund. We look forward to discussing the way forward with the new administration.