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News from 2023-01-04 / KfW Development Bank

Steinmeier and Lemke visit the Amazon region

eight people next to each other
f.l.t.r. Dr. Tobias Lindner, Heiko Thoms, Steffi Lemke, Nils Annen, Eduardo Taveira, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Saskia Berlin, Thomas Heilmann.

Federal President Steinmeier and Federal Environment Minister Lemke travelled to Brazil for the inauguration of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. They then visited research projects as well as Financial Cooperation programmes in the field of tropical forest conservation. Tropical forest protection was the main theme of Steinmeier's trip: "My visit is intended to give an impetus to the relaunch of bilateral relations between our two countries. And at the same time for our common goal of protecting the Amazon rainforest, the green lung of our world, from further deforestation."

One of the first acts of the newly sworn-in President Lula da Silva was to re-establish the steering bodies of the Amazon Fund (FA) by decree and to reactivate the deforestation control plan. During the government of da Silva's predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, funds for the Amazon Fund had been frozen since 2019. The fund was created in 2008 by the Brazilian government and the Brazilian development bank BNDES to mobilise additional funds for the protection of the Amazon. In addition to the main donor Norway, Germany has already contributed around EUR 55 million to the fund, and now another EUR 35 million will be added, which KfW Entwicklungsbank will pay into the fund managed by the Brazilian development bank BNDES on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ).

The fund is intended to help implement the emission reduction targets in Amazonia (Amazônia Legal) set out in Brazil's National Climate Policy. The target group includes, for example, rubber tappers and collectors, indigenous peoples and small farmers, as well as agricultural and forestry producers: they benefit directly from tropical forest protection. As project executing agencies of the individual measures, federal and state institutions, municipal administrations, non-governmental organisations and private companies are important intermediaries to this target group. In the world's largest rainforest with an area of 7 million square kilometres, legal and illegal deforestation is to be reduced to zero by 2030 - an ambitious goal.

Tropical coastal forest in Brazil
Tropical coastal forest in Brazil.

During his trip, the Federal President also met the Environment Minister Eduardo Taveira of the state of Amazonas. Together they visited the BMZ-funded monitoring centre of the Instituto de Proteção Ambiental do Amazonas IPAAM in Manaus, which monitors deforestation in the entire Amazon basin. The forest protection project, implemented by KfW with EUR 10 million, includes the construction and equipping of the administrative building of the environmental authority SEMA - Secretaria de Estado de Meio Ambiente do Amazonas, the construction of four regional multifunctional centres and the preparation of intervention strategies and action plans to combat deforestation, as well as the training and equipping of personnel to combat forest fires, illegal logging and natural disasters, and training courses in agroecological farming methods. There, Steinmeier got a picture of the challenges of forest protection.

Brazil is - because of deforestation - also one of the countries with the highest greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. "We have to save the Amazon if we want to stop the climate crisis, if we want to stop the extinction of species," said Steffi Lemke during her trip to Brazil.