Last week’s announcement by the Norwegian government that it would cut off some of the resources it donates to the Amazon Fund did not catch the environmental sector by surprise. Those who follow the Amazon deforestation fluctuations know that, since the value of the transfer is a direct reflection of Brazil’s ability to control land clearing, such decision would be made sooner or later, but still in 2017.
This is because, according to the latest measurements of the government itself, the rate of deforestation has grown almost 30%. Between August 2015 and July 2016, about 8,000 square kilometers of forest were lost.
The situation is troubling regardless of the prism used to analyze it. It is the highest increase in recent years, after a Herculean national effort to reduce deforestation. The country’s ability to comply with international climate agreements is at stake. It brings climatic risk to its own rural production. It calls into question investments aimed at sustainable practices. It makes markets based on deforestation-free chains look at our products with concerns.
Above all, the rise in deforestation shows that, despite the political party or inclination of the presidency, this is a challenge that needs to be tackled and addressed as a priority —, which has not happened yet.
This is no field for partisan savagery. Caring for forests, treating the country’s soil well, and respecting agreements are, or should be, a national priority. It is, ultimately, a common good for all Brazilians, regardless of their ancestry, creed, social position or ideology. Any debate outside that sphere is unsuccessful.
As a society, we need to keep plans to fight deforestation in the spotlight, highly ranked on our list of top concerns, and as part of our strategic thinking. Political and economic whirlpools do not help in this direction, but at such times, qualified information and serious debate serve as a beacon between rioting seas.
IPAM, a nonpartisan, non-profit, research organization, believes and works based on scientific arguments, so that the Amazon region is totally free of deforestation, so Brazil is able to position itself as a world leader in a new time, in which natural resources are considered assets and their conservation is regarded as a fundamental element of development.