Published on August 4th, 2008 | by Levi Novey


Brazil Wants $21 Billion to Protect the Amazon Rainforest with No Strings Attached

Channel-Billed Toucan in Brazilian RainforestOn Friday, Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva headlined an event to officially launch a new international fund that will raise money to protect the Amazon Rainforest. “We are conscious of what the Amazon represents for the world… It’s better for the country’s image to do things right, so we can walk in international forums with our heads high,” Lula pontificated.

It is hoped that the fund will raise up to 21 billion dollars over the next 13 years from nations around the world. Norway has already chipped in, pledging 100 million dollars to kick things off. Brazil has made it clear though that donations are only being accepted with a condition of no strings being attached. In other words, countries that donate money will have no say over how the money is used.

This stringent policy has its roots in resentment. Some Brazilians feel that they have been unfairly criticized by other countries for the deforestation of the Amazon. They claim that these nations often sit back and provide little in the means of help, or have their own environmental peccadilloes that make these slights toward Brazil’s conservation efforts hypocritical. Brazil’s Minister for Strategic Affairs, Roberto Mangabeira Unger, voiced this sentiment at the press conference: “The fund is a vehicle by which foreign governments can help support our initiatives without exerting any influence over our national policy. We are not going to trade sovereignty for money.”

According to one source, when carbon emissions from deforestation are included in the equation, Brazil ranks 4th worldwide in greenhouse emissions, only behind China, the United States, and Indonesia. The Amazon deforestation rate in Brazil has also increased somewhat this year. While Brazil is not the only country that contains the Amazon Rainforest within its borders, with 60% it does possess the largest single tract of the forest’s span. Eight other countries also contain parts of the Amazon, with Peru having the next largest piece of the pie at 13%. The difference percentage wise between the 1st and 2nd countries shows just how big of a player Brazil truly is when it comes to protecting the Amazon Rainforest.

The fund will be administered by a Brazilian bank owned by the government. The money will be used to support sustainable development projects like making condoms from rubber in trees, scientific research, and also to combat illegal logging. Whether or not the fund can attract donations remains to be seen– as well as Brazil’s ability to properly use the funds to sponsor legitimate efforts and research that will help to protect the Amazon. But the creation of the fund should be praised without doubt as an unequivocal step in the right direction for Brazil as leaders of conservation efforts in South America.

The Amazon Rainforest has been in the news quite a bit this year for several other reasons. The first photographs of a long-isolated tribe that live in the forest were released earlier this year, causing a media frenzy and false rumors of a hoax. The Brazilian Government’s plans to construct several new hydroelectric dams in the Amazon also came under scrutiny from numerous Brazilian tribes who claim they would be affected negatively by the dams.

Read More About the Amazon Rainforest on the Green Options Network:

Marriot Unveils Green Meetings to Help Save the Amazon Rainforest

Amazon Under Threat from Cleaner Air

“Justicia Now” Documents “Rainforest Chernobyl”

Photo Credit: laslzlo-photo on Flickr under a Creative Commons license

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About the Author

Levi Novey is a conservation professional who has received a bachelor's degree in History from Tufts University and a master's degree in Conservation Social Sciences from the University of Idaho. He worked for the U.S. National Park Service for 10 years, as a park ranger in 6 national parks, as a social science researcher in 5 parks, and as the science communicator for a Natural Resource Inventory and Monitoring Network that serves 9 parks. He has authored several scholarly papers as well as several guidebooks to U.S. national parks. Levi also has taught an undergraduate Environmental Communication Skills course at the University of Idaho, won several photography contests, and regularly enjoys visits to parks, protected areas, historical sites, museums-- and just about anywhere where he can learn something new about the world. He currently lives in Peru, with his wife Alicia, and their daughter Coral.

21 Responses to Brazil Wants $21 Billion to Protect the Amazon Rainforest with No Strings Attached

  1. If Brazil is not able to protect the Amazon, it is because the Brazilian government is more concerned about protecting the interests of the elite who profit from its destruction, through land speculation, mining, logging, and the building of hydroelectric dams in the rainforest (for details, please see my blog http://www.internationalrivers.org/en/blog/glenn-switkes ). The donors would get better results by supporting environmentalists, social movements, and initiatives of indigenous peoples and river bank dwellers for improved management of rainforest resources, and equal justice in the Amazon.

  2. ettu says:

    It’s a tragedy to see any of it go.

    We may be destroying the cure for cancer in that forest.

  3. richd says:

    I am impressed that the Brazilian government was able to attain energy independence before most of the world was even talking about it. I think this may be a positive indicator of the administration of these donated funds. I don’t blame the Brazilian government for wanting to be free of foreign influence on domestic affairs. I applaud them for this initiative.

  4. BaRbArIaN says:

    If its like any other South or Central American country, most of that money will find its way somewhere else. Such is the nature of foreign aid with no strings. Better to engage in trade not aid.

  5. BusinessMan says:

    “This stringent policy has its roots in resentment. Some Brazilians feel that they have been unfairly criticized by other countries for the deforestation of the Amazon.”

    What a load of BS. Why can’t environmental strings be attached, such as a stipulation that the money can only be used to help the environment as opposed to funding questionable organizations that purports to help the environment or even outright extramarital spending?

  6. Some points of this article are not well explained:

    1 – Amazonia is an old reserve of green with low cap of refill O². The most O² refilled on the world comes from the wather planctons, not from the Brazilian Trees. The core of these wolrdwide cares are focoused on the many treasures inside that forest (biodiversity, rare minerals, etc…).

    2 – In fact there are many ilegal abuse of explorement on those fields. What the world dont want see is that the bigger explorers looking for medical solutions, rare mineriums, even petroleum are outside that country. If u get scared when u see a Brazilian map w/o Amazonian area, some truth are behind that reality. Japanese, Italian, French, Russian and American folks are the higher obtainers of privated area on that jungle.

    3 – So, when Lula comes to tell that his govern have some care for that area, in fact they are not worry to “save the green” for “the most cleaner O²”. They are only avoiding lose that lands for other coutryes, that in fact they are losing at the moment in some other ways.

  7. Jim Jones says:

    Wow that seems like a pretty good deal. Wish I had 21 Bil laying around to buy it!


  8. Paul says:

    It is a shame that a country has to be bribed to do the right thing.

  9. Sagut says:

    Just convince Mr. Warren Buffet, he alone has more than 21 billions, and he is actually giving away his fortune to the Gates Fundation…

  10. Elizabeth Hart says:

    Indonesia and Brazil are currently the world’s third and fourth highest greenhouse gas emitters, largely because of rainforest destruction.

    However, both these countries have the potential to become world leaders in addressing the problems of climate change and environmental damage.

    As stewards of the rainforests, these countries are standing on the threshold of an exciting new and beneficial industry, the rainforest preservation industry.

    While all countries should be encouraged and recognized in some way for protecting their forests and preserving biodiversity, tropical rainforests are particularly precious carbon sinks.

    Rainforests are vital for the world, so the world must pay for their preservation and management. This is not just about emissions, we must also cherish these rainforests as valuable ecosystems and bastions of biodiversity.

    Some people might argue, “We can’t just pay these countries for doing nothing, for just leaving their rainforests standing”. But it’s not “payment for nothing”. It’s payment for preserving and managing a vital resource which is beneficial for the world, and compensation for development opportunities foregone.

    Of course, it won’t necessarily be easy. There are many complex economic, social, conservation, forest management and governance issues to consider. But this issue needs to be addressed NOW, before the rainforests are all gone.

    I hope an alliance of world leaders from developing and developed countries will urgently cooperate on this. We need political will and leadership at the very highest level to make this work.

  11. Dan says:

    The funds should be based upon a percentage of rainforest that is lost during a given period. If the current rate of destruction is maintained “x” number of dollars will be paid. If the rate declines than the percentage of payment increases. I understand Brazil’s feelings about ‘no strings attached’ but accountability is another thing.

  12. Anthony says:

    You all really need to watch The Energy Non Crisis and Google the video on John Perkins to get an ideal of what is really happening.

    Let’s see, the world banks own the Amazon Basin, wonder what was put up for the last loan? Still, with what the war to keep oil based on the dollar costs, perhaps this would be cheap.

    Rainforest need to be preserved, but carbon produced and ate is pretty much a wash, our air filters from the ocean, which we’ve pretty much screwed that up too.

  13. Pingback: Developing Countries Must Be Made Accountable For Reforestation Funds « The Blogger’s View

  14. Pingback: Brazil Makes Hollow, Lazy Pledge to End Deforestation by 2015 : EcoWorldly

  15. Osmar Siqueira says:

    I think Brazil is doing the right when it asks for help to protect the forest, first because now that most of the world has already cut its forest while Brazil kept it better than many, second because if other people want to tell a nation what to do in order to keep the climate cool enough to live, I think they should help by donating money. The Amazônia is larger than probably all European countries alone for exemple and it’s a challenge to keep it untouch by itself for the good of the rest of the world.
    I think this world as one nation and we should help each other out, especially when one know it’s crucial for the future of humanity.

  16. Pingback: ignorance != bliss » Brazil Wants $21 Billion to Protect the Amazon Rainforest with No Strings Attached

  17. Save Your World has teamed with the First Man to Walk the Amazon to Unite & Educate the World about the Most Threatened Eco-Systems left on Planet Earth

    To visit the blog and interact with Ed Stafford in the Amazon, visit: http://store.saveyourworld.com/Walking-the-Amazon-s/1155.htm

    “Save Your World believes that man can live in harmony with nature and that man must learn to preserve these pristine biodiverse areas in order to sustain survival for future generations and to allow them to enjoy these areas uncompromised,” said Scott Cecil, president of Save Your World. “The Walking the Amazon program can assist educators by creating an exciting and real-world learning experience for students. From geology and agriculture, to anthropology and even computer education, this journey can be a strong tool that will not only educate, but will improve the awareness of treating our Earth like the vital and fragile resource that it is.”

  18. br gov says:

    destroy it all
    destroy it all

  19. David says:

    I propose a worldwide fund to nature. Humanity has had such a negative impact on the environment that we all are guilty. Let us hope that somehow the destructive path of humanity will be stopped or at least slowed to the point that mother nature can heal itself.

  20. Darla says:

    It’s funny how the 1st world countries engage in this moral crusade against the developing counties, imposing on them the blame for the world’s enviromental problems while the USA and the Western Europe are the real ones to be blamed. Basically, these rich countries want the developing one to keep their states green, while the rich states keep destroying with no bad feelings about it.

  21. breno says:

    Brazilian goverment is the most coropt in the world!!!I aware of that,
    they have no competence to save amazon, amazona should became a world patrimone.world goverment should take aciton to that happen.

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