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Brazil, France announce €1 billion Amazon investment plan

March 27, 2024

The two countries say they will raise an investment fund over the next four years to protect the Amazon rainforest. Relations between Paris and Brasilia have improved since Lula da Silva became president again.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (left) and French President Emmanuel Macron (right) in front of tropical trees on Combu Island, Para, Brazil
Brazil and France's presidents have announced a plan to draw in investment to protect the Amazon rainforestImage: Eraldo Peres/AP Photo/picture alliance

Brazil and France on Tuesday announced a program to protect the Amazon rainforest involving €1 billion ($1.08 billion) in funds over the next four years.

The announcement came as French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in the Brazilian city of Belem to speak with Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Belem lies at the mouth of the Amazon River in the northern Brazilian state of Para. The city will be the host of the COP30 climate summit in 2025.

What do we know about the plan?

The investment plan aims to raise "€1 billion of public and private investment over the next four years," according to a roadmap published by the French presidency.

The announcement said that the two presidents are seeking to promote "a great public and private global investment plan into the bio-economy" in the Brazilian and Guyanese Amazon.

The text proposes the creation of a "carbon market" that intends to reward countries that invest in natural carbon sinks. The Amazon rainforest plays an important role in the fight against climate change, as it absorbs CO2 emissions.

Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon soared under the leadership of former President Jair Bolsonaro, who was defeated in the 2022 election. It then halved in 2023 after Lula's government increased environmental protections.

Brazil and France said that they intend to support "indigenous people and local Amazon communities, which have an essential role in protecting biodiversity through their traditional knowledge and forest management practices."

In Belem, Macron awarded Raoni Metuktire of the Indigenous Kayapo people with France's highest distinction, the Legion of Honor. The French presidency hailed the Kayapo chief as an "international figure in the fight for the preservation of the Amazon rainforest and the culture of indigenous peoples."

France-Brazil relations improve

Relations between France and Brazil have improved since the start of Lula's presidency, after they soured in 2019 when Macron led a wave of international pressure on Bolsonaro over fires raging in the Amazon.

"We are living in a Franco-Brazilian moment," the Elysee presidential palace said earlier, saying that it shared "many points of convergence" with Lula, particularly on "major global issues."

France and Brazil are also working together to manufacture four submarines, the third of which will be launched on Wednesday during Macron's visit.

However, there are also a number of points of contention between Paris and Brasilia. Those include a proposed free-trade agreement between the European Union and the South American Mercosur bloc and Lula's position on Russia's war in Ukraine.

Macron said in January that Paris opposes the EU-Mercosur deal because it "doesn't make Mercosur farmers and companies abide by the same rules as ours."

Lula has called for an immediate cease-fire in Ukraine and a negotiated settlement to the war while opposing sanctions on Moscow.

sdi/jsi (Reuters, AFP)

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