São Paulo, Brazil – The Amazon Fund Guidance Committee approved new guidelines and criteria for the application of resources administered by the fund to protect Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, whose investors include Norway and Germany.
The group met in the capital Brasilia on July 25 and included representatives from nine Brazilian government ministries, nine states from the Amazon region, as well as members of different civil society organizations.
They announced the creation of deforestation-free zones which may directly benefit cities in the region that develop efforts to encourage preservation.
The initiative will provide financial support for projects that focus on practices such as family farming, recovery and conservation of forest areas, land regularization, and sustainable production activities, among other initiatives.
Each approved project will receive a minimum of BRL 5 million (USD $1 million) and a maximum of 5% of the balance available in the fund.
In addition to financial support from the Amazon Fund, municipalities that participate in the program and prove that they have managed to stop the devastation of the natural environment will receive an environmental certificate of sorts — a green seal — guaranteeing that the products from that municipality are ecologically responsible and sustainable.
Similar to fine European wines and cheeses, these products will be certified for their sustainability and quality with the hope that certified products will be able to generate a mark up and thus more revenue for the municipalities.
The new preservation model is still under development, and its implementation will entail a minimum deforestation-free period for the municipalities, as well as the implementation of technology that can track the provenance of goods to be certified.
Today the Amazon Fund has BRL 3.9 billion (USD $825 million) donated by the governments of Germany and Norway. In the coming months, the contributions promised by the United States (USD $500 million), the United Kingdom (USD $100 million), Switzerland (USD $6 million), and the European Union (USD $22 million) will further strengthen the agency’s cash flow.
The Amazon Fund was created in 2008 during President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s second term.
It financed more than 300 projects over the years, but had its activities suspended in 2019 under the administration of former President Jair Bolsonaro. At that time, the main funders, Germany and Norway, decided to freeze funds due to a lack of commitment by Bolsonaro’s government to combat deforestation.
Upon returning to power in January 2023, Lula reactivated the fund on his first day in office.