Amazon fires: German foreign minister offers support to Brazil

Fire on a land in the Amazon, 65kms from Porto Velho Brazil

Fire on a land in the Amazon, 65kms from Porto Velho Brazil

Heiko Maas

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Tuesday offered his country’s financial and technical support to Brazil in the fight against the fires raging in the Brazilian rainforest.

Maas disclosed this at the Ambassadors’ Conference at the German Foreign Office.

Maas noted that Brazil had so far committed itself to combating deforestation and the fires showed in a dramatic way how urgently it was necessary.

He affirmed that environmental and climate policies were of immense importance in the evaluation of the new trade agreement between the EU and the South American economic alliance Mercosur.

“We must not stand to idle and watch as devastating fires destroy the world’s green lungs,“ he said.

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, spoke at the G7 summit in Biarritz, France of her intention to support reforesting efforts in the South American countries affected by fires in the Amazon rainforest.

Merkel promised that serious commitment would follow, emphasising that the lung of the whole Earth was affected, adding that the world must proffer lasting solutions.

According to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE), there have been 74,155 fires in Brazil since the beginning of 2019, most of which erupted in the Amazon.

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INPE noted that the figure was around 84 percent higher than in the previous year, and the highest since records began in 2013.

Earlier, German Green Party leader Robert Habeck, called on the German Government and the EU to exert economic pressure on Brazil.

Habeck told German newspaper Berliner Morgen post that Germany and Europe must not stand idle and watch. They must stop the Mercosur agreement and as such, increasing the pressure on Brazil.

However, the German Minister for Development, Gerd Mueller, had warned against political overreaction.

He said, “we will not save the rainforest if we tear down the bridges to the Brazilian government and give up the Amazon Fund.“

The Amazon Fund was designed to help Brazil protect the rainforest, with Norway as the main donor. However, Germany and Norway had stopped payments to the fund in mid-August.

“Abandoning the Amazon Fund does not help anyone, not even the indigenous people, not the rainforest and not climate protection, “Mueller warned.

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