Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva delivers a speech during a ceremony to celebrate World Environment Day at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia on June 5, 2023. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva delivers a speech during a ceremony to celebrate World Environment Day at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia on June 5, 2023.   (AFP or licensors)

Brazil pledges to end deforestation in Amazon

The president of Brazil lays out measures to end illegal deforestation in the Amazon region by 2030.

By Zeus Legaspi

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has unveiled a comprehensive plan aimed at eradicating illegal deforestation in the Amazon region. The plan is set to be executed over a four-year period, extending until the end of Lula's term in January 2027.

The strategy lays out a roadmap to achieve the ambitious objective of stopping illegal deforestation by 2030. This means, however, that the complete implementation of the plan will hinge upon the commitment of Lula's successor.

Speaking during World Environment Day, the president announced that his administration pledges to achieve net zero deforestation. This commitment entails replanting an equal number of trees for those that are cut down.

To achieve this goal, Lula expressed his intention to revise Brazil's international commitments on emission reduction, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), to align them with the promises made in 2015 as part of the Paris Agreement.

Brazil has made a commitment to decrease carbon emissions by 37% by 2025 and 43% by 2030. These targets were previously scaled back by President Jair Bolsonaro, the predecessor of President Lula.

In addition, President Lula has expanded a conservation unit in the Amazon by 1,800 hectares. The government has also pledged to prioritize the allocation of approximately 57 million hectares of public lands that currently lack special protection.

“Brazil will once again become a global reference in sustainability, tackling climate change, and achieving targets for carbon emission reduction and zero deforestation,” Lula said.

Action Plan

These new measures are part of a larger initiative called the Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Deforestation in the Legal Amazon. This was created 20 years ago, during Lula’s first term, but was suspended during Bolsonaro’s administration.

A key objective of the plan is to promote the bio-economy, including sustainable fishing of the pirarucu (Amazon's largest fish) and acai production, as viable alternatives to cattle-raising, which is a significant driver of deforestation. The action plan also emphasizes the importance of enhancing monitoring and law enforcement efforts while committing to the creation of new conservation units.

Recently, the Brazilian government also announced that it will launch a social program to pay additional grants to poor families that work in forest protection. The program aims to support 30,000 families initially, although the exact timeline for payments remains uncertain. A similar program was suspended during former President Bolsonaro's term.

Lula’s unveiling of his environmental agenda was preceded by setbacks including the approval of bills by lawmakers that restrict the authority of the country's environment and Indigenous affairs ministries, as well as the limitations on the recognition of new Indigenous reservations.

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07 June 2023, 15:14