Created in 2008, the Amazon Fund, considered a major international effort to reduce global warming gas emissions and protect forests, formally received its first donations pledged by the United States (US) and Switzerland this week. In addition, both countries are associated with the initiative, which has been in place for 15 years, until then, in addition to Petrobras, there were contributions from Norway and Germany.
The board of directors of the National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES), which manages the fund, approved contracts worth 5 million Swiss francs (about R$30 million) from Switzerland and US$3 million from the United States. about R$15 million). In total, the contributions were about R$45 million. The Swiss government announced its membership of the fund during an investment forum held in Brasilia in July this year. US participation has been expected since April, when US President Joe Biden announced plans to invest US$500 million in Amazon funds over the next five years.
Since its establishment, the Amazon Fund has received R$3.4 billion and has financed more than 102 projects to protect forests and promote sustainable operations in the Amazon, with a total investment of R$1.75 billion. This mechanism provides irrevocable support to actions for the protection and sustainable use of the legal Amazon to prevent, monitor and combat deforestation, or to develop systems to monitor and control deforestation in other Brazilian biomes or tropical countries. Up to 20% of the fund’s resources.
According to BNDES, citing the fund’s performance evaluations, already supported projects have benefited about 241 thousand people with sustainable production activities, in addition to 101 indigenous lands and 196 conservation units in the Amazon.
In 2019, during the government of Jair Bolsonaro, then Environment Minister Ricardo Salles shut down two groups responsible for managing the resources of the Amazon Fund, making the continuation of project financing and donations impossible. The existence of these groups is a contractual condition of the donors, which prevents the money from being used for other purposes. According to data from BNDES, Brazil stopped investing about R$3 billion in environmental measures between 2019 and 2022, which was retained in the fund even after the dissolution of steering committees.
In October 2022, the Federal Supreme Court (STF) ordered the union to take necessary steps to reinstate the Amazon fund. At the time, most ministers concluded that the group’s destruction was unconstitutional because it would constitute a government failure in its duty to protect the Amazon. Re-established by President Lula by decree on January 1, 2023, the committees resumed their activities, allowing for new resource contributions.
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