Norway ambassador wants bolder environmental goals from Brazil

Vice President Hamilton Mourão (L) and Norway ambassador Odd Magne Ruud (R). Photo: Vice Presidência da República
Vice President Hamilton Mourão (left) and Norway ambassador Odd Magne Ruud. Photo: Vice Presidência da República

Norway ambassador Odd Magne Ruud said this afternoon that his country will only resume contributions to the Amazon Fund if Brazil presents an airtight anti-deforestation plan. His declaration came during a meeting at the president’s office with Vice President Hamilton Mourão.

“Brazil needs a concrete deforestation plan, it needs to wake up to the style of managing committees,” Mr. Ruud told the press after the meeting. “We have some disagreements about the Amazon Fund, but we are ready to talk. It is a very important cooperation project for us.”

Since 2019, resources from the Amazon Fund have been frozen after President Jair Bolsonaro extinguished two technocratic committees which are essential to fund negotiations. As a result, Norway suspended its financial contributions to the fund, of which it is the largest donor, to the tune of BRL 133 million (USD 24.16 million).

As well as being vice president, Hamilton Mourão is also head of the National Amazon Council. After Mr. Ruud’s words, Mr. Mourão said he will meet with Environment Minister Joaquim Leite next week to discuss their strategy for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), to be held in Glasgow at the end of this month. According to Mr. Mourão, the government only plans to reopen the fund once deforestation indices improve in the Amazon.

“It is all developing as planned. Our work in the COP 26 meetings will be very important in order to recover the country’s image in environmental terms,” said Mr. Mourão.