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LATIN AMERICA | 20-04-2023 14:26

Biden seeks US$500-million for Brazil’s Amazon rainforest in gesture to Lula

US President Joe Biden is seeking US$500 million to bolster Brazil’s strategy to protect the Amazon, a gesture to his counterpart Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva after recent tensions between over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

 US President Joe Biden is seeking US$500 million to bolster Brazil’s strategy to protect the Amazon, a gesture to his counterpart Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva after recent tensions between both countries over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Biden will request the US Congress deliver the money over five years to Brazil’s Amazon Fund, an international conservation initiative set up with Germany, as part of the South American nation’s efforts to end deforestation at the world’s largest rainforest by 2030, according to a White House statement Thursday.

“The answer to the climate challenge, maybe the biggest in our generation, depends on the coordinated action of all the countries,” Lula said in a short video presentation from Brasília after the White House’s announcement. “Brazil is doing its part.”

The pledge comes after recent tensions between the United States and Brazil, with Lula claiming that the US, the European Union and Ukraine shared responsibility for the war and a Biden administration spokesman accusing Brazil of “parroting Russian and Chinese propaganda.”

Yet unlike the war, environmental policy and the need to protect the Amazon is a point of strong agreement between both leaders. The Amazon Fund resumed full functioning with the inauguration of Lula in January after being suspended in the previous administration of Jair Bolsonaro.

“The Brazilian government has been in talks with the US government about the Amazon Fund, and is grateful for the trust and the American contribution to the fund,” Brazil’s Presidency said in a statement to Bloomberg News. The Fund “has been an important instrument for preservation and sustainable development in the region.”

by With assistance from Jennifer A. Dlouhy, Bloomberg

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