Norway signs revised contract with Amazon Fund
For the reduction in the deforestation rate achieved in 2012, that is from August 2011 to July 2012, Norway will donate another 1 billion NOK to the fund, about 380 million BRA. The money will be used to fund a variety of projects working to reduce deforestation in the Amazon region.
Norwegian authorities see the support program to reduce deforestation around the world as a key initiative to curb climate change.
According to Elisbeth Forseth, councellor at the Norwegian embassy in Brasilia, the contract was signed by BNDES president Luciano Coutinho and Norwegian ambassador Aud-Marit Wiig.
The original contract between the government of Norway and BNDES, signed in 2009, was renegotiated, and Norway extended the period of cooperation from 2015 to 2020.
Norwegian authorities consider it particularly important in the revised contract that BNDES can give a full tax relief on the support given to projects, Elisabeth Forseth informs.
2,8 billion Norwegian kroner was also transferred to BNDES in September last year, but this is money that formally already had been donated to Brazil, thanks to very good results achieved in the battle against deforestation between 2009-2012.
As BNDES did not have enough projects in the portfolio that were qualified to receive support, the money was temporarily kept on a bank account in the Bank of Norway. As of September 2013, this money was deposited in a BNDES account in Brazil, Elisabeth Forseth explains.
In an interview with the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo, Gabriel Visconde who is the superintendent of environment in BNDES, said it was very important to receive this latest contribution from Norway at this point, as a new and more conservative government took office last year, and the new government announced it would review all its international cooperation and committments. «This confirms the importance of the projects in the Amazon», Visconde says to Folha.
Norway was the first donor to the fund, and has donated about 96 percent of the total funds. Petrobras and the German bank KfW are other donors.
The Amazon fund was launched in 2008 by former president Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, and is currently supporting 48 different projects in all the nine Amazon states. Another 44 projects are under evaluation.
According to Mr. Gabriel Visconti the approved projects will receive a total of 628 million Bazilian reais.
Monitoring projects have so far received the biggest share of the financial support. Some of the first projects that received support, are already being concluded.This goes for a project in Porto de Gaúchos and Alta Floresta, and the BNDES are happy about the achieved results.
Other institutions that have received financial support from the Amazon Fund are The Nature Conservancy do Brasil, Instituto Homem e Meio Ambiente da mazônia (IMAZON) and Funbio.
The former Ministers of Environment, Bård Vegar Solhjell, and of International Aid, Heikki Holmås, visited Tumbira in Amazonas in 2012 to see how Fundacão Amazonas Sustentavel (FAS) has spent the money the organization received from the fund.
There have however been complaints that the rules and requirements set by the BNDES for applicants to be approved to receive support are too strict, and to smaller NGO-s and organizations representing indigenous people, it seen as very complicated to get a green light.
Despite the extrordinary results the last years, a reduction of about 70 percent since 2006, deforestation rates shot up a whopping 28 percent in the period of August 2012 to July 2013.
By Runa Hestmann Tierno, NBCC journalist
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