By Roberto Abdalla/ Ambassador of Brazil to Qatar
Regarding the fires currently taking place in the Amazon rainforest and its repercussion in the global media, the embassy of Brazil in Doha would like to clarify that:
l Forest fires happen every year in Brazil, especially during the dry season, which comprises July, August and September. Almost all the fires registered in 2019 are level 1, the lowest in a scale that goes up to 3;
l The fires in the Amazon are not out of control. The Brazilian Government is actively engaged in combating the fires through a comprehensive inter-agency operation (“Green Brazil Operation”). A total of 2,500 firefighters and other military personnel are on the field in close co-ordination with state-level authorities in this complex and enduring task. Approximately 15 military aircraft, 10 navy ships and other modern firefighting equipment have been used in this endeavour;
l In order to prevent damages to the Amazon — which is an essential part of our history, our territory and everything that makes us feel Brazilians - the Federal Government of Brazil is devoting considerable resources to combat the fire spots. The level of financial resources dedicated to firefighting remains similar to that of previous years, in spite of the ongoing economic crisis;
l Brazil is a world reference in the field of on-the-ground operations to combat forest fires. As the co-ordinator of the South American Forest Fire Network, Brazil provides assistance and capacity-building to other countries;
l Brazil remains firmly committed to protecting the environment. Brazil has reduced deforestation in the Amazon by 72% over the past 15 years, having regenerated ‘9Am’ hectares of vegetation (approximately nine times the total area of Qatar) and replanted forests in another 2mn hectares;
l Brazilian agriculture is a clear example of how environmental protection and economic development can go hand in hand. Only 30% of Brazilian territory is dedicated to agriculture and ranching, while in some other countries these figures usually range between 45% and 65%;
l Brazilian environmental legislation is extensive and considered to be one of the most modern in the world. Laws require landowners in the Amazon to preserve at least 80% of the original vegetation on their properties. Additionally, the Federal Government not only has established public conservation units and indigenous reserves amounting to more than 50% of the Amazon, but also protects areas amounting to more than 2.6mn kna2. The country is among the cleanest energy producers in the world - using over 40% of renewable resources in its energy mix — and over the last decades it has developed the capacity to reconcile agricultural production with environmental preservation;
l There are several instruments already available under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) with a view to finance deforestation reduction and reforestation activities, such as the REDD+, the Green Climate Fund and the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism. Any new initiative with similar purposes may be, therefore, redundant;
l Brazil will continue to implement concrete actions to combat deforestation and forest degradation, particularly in the Amazon region, in accordance with the international instruments to which we are party, as any other respectable sovereign nation would.
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