Brazil, Lula seeks 100 billion to save the Amazon


By John

The Amazon can wait no longer, at least “100 billion dollars” are needed to save it: taking care of it “is not only Brazil’s responsibility, but everyone’s”. It is a heartfelt appeal that the Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva addresses the world from Belem, which in 2025 will host Cop30. The city at the mouth of the Amazon River, and for this reason considered the gateway to the Amazon, hosts an important regional summit for two days, the first in 14 years of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (OTCA), established in 1995 by the South American countries that share the rainforest: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela. The progressive leader confirmed that his country (where 60% of the Amazon is located) is open to the collaboration of the richest nations to defend the lungs of the planet, but he also reiterated that a huge cash contribution is needed if we really want fight climate change.

The developed countries «have promised to distribute 100 billion dollars, but we are still waiting for that money» said Lula. “We do not have the right to be the only animal on Earth to destroy its home, it is important to preserve the Amazon for the maintenance of the human species,” thundered the former trade unionist. The purpose of the summit – defined by Lula as “a milestone in the history of the defense of the Amazon” – is strengthen cooperation to fight deforestation and create the conditions for “a new vision of sustainable development” in the region. Lula, who strongly supported the summit, has the ambition to lead a bloc of forest-growing countries to negotiate resources with developed countries capable of guaranteeing a “transition ecological economy”.

The head of state defended that Brazil’s sovereignty over the forest is respected, but also that scientists from all over the world can develop research in the area to discover «immeasurable riches». The precious biome, however, must also take into account the claims of its traditional communities, who today marched towards the hangar where the summit is held to deliver a letter containing their proposals and requests. Confirming the ongoing tensions in the area – coveted by cattle ranchers, but also by the illegal trafficking of drugs, weapons, timber and gold – yesterday three Indians were shot and wounded while protesting in front of the BBF company, which produces palm oil in the city of Acará.

If for Greenpeace, despite the significant drop in deforestation, there are still “too many fires” in the Amazon (+5.3% so far in 2023 compared to the same period in 2022), Lula will also have to mediate between the divergent interests and positions of the various countries in the region: while Colombia, for example, is asking to stop oil exploration, the Brazil itself, through the state-owned Petrobras, is pushing to exploit new offshore blocks right at the mouth of the Amazon River.