13 Aug 2019, 13:43
Freja Eriksen

Bolsonaro says Brazil “doesn't need” Amazon aid as German government debates cuts

Clean Energy Wire / ARD / Deutsche Welle

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro dismissed the importance of German funding for forest and biodiversity projects in the Amazon following the federal government's announcement to withdraw some of its aid, Deutsche Welle reports. "They can use this money as they see fit. Brazil doesn't need it," Bolsonaro said. Environment minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) has put 35 million euros of aid from the ministry's International Climate Initiative on ice in light of reports about increasing deforestation, said her spokesperson. However, the German government is still debating whether support for the Amazon Fund, which is financed by Norway and Germany, will also be cut. Germany has donated 55 million euros to the Amazon Fund while Norway has contributed the bulk of one billion euros to the initiative. Development minister Gerd Müller (CSU) has spoken out against cutting aid from the Amazon Fund, saying, "anyone who wants to preserve the exceptional climate role of the rainforest must strengthen these measures and not end them”, according to ARD. The German government coalition thus appears somewhat divided on the issue. Opposition MPs have suggested that the free trade agreement between Mercosur and the EU instead be used as leverage against Brazil, writes ARD.

“We have to put the German climate debate in an international context," Müller said after a visit to the Amazon rainforest in July this year, advocating for more development aid for climate action projects in other countries. Germany’s own forests have also recently shifted into the focus of climate policy efforts as prolonged droughts have begun to take a toll on the country’s biggest ecosystems.

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