BERLIN, Nov 2 (Reuters) – Germany is open to unfreezing payments to Brazil’s Amazon Fund, a development ministry spokesperson said on Wednesday, following the election of a new Brazilian president who campaigned on promises to protect the rainforest.
“Within the government, there is a great willingness to quickly reach out to Brazil,” and Berlin is to discuss the issue with the transition team there, the spokesperson said at a regular news conference.
The Amazon Fund, a project involving Germany, Norway and the Brazilian government, was frozen in 2019 when President Jair Bolsonaro took office and weakened environmental protection measures in the world’s largest rainforest. The fund is endowed with well over $500 million.
Bolsonaro lost Sunday’s election to leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who has promised to protect the Amazon rainforest and restore Brazil’s leadership on climate change.
Norway was “ready to discuss the steps needed to reopen the Amazon Fund together with the incoming Brazilian government and Germany”, the Norwegian climate and environment minister Espen Barth Eide said on Monday.
“We have noticed clear positive signals from the Lula campaign regarding policy initiatives intended to quickly reduce deforestation in the Amazon,” he said in a statement.
The timeline for reactivating the fund depends on how quickly Brazil creates the conditions for resuming work on it, the German ministry spokesperson said. This is unlikely to happen before Lula’s government takes office on Jan. 1.
Reporting by Miranda Murray and Rachel More; editing by Grant McCool
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