Brazilian VP vows commitment to sustainability

Brazil’s Vice President Hamilton Mourao has called for an “urgent” commitment to sustainable development for the Amazon River and the country.

During an event organized by the National Industry Confederation on sustainable development of the Amazon, Mourao said on Wednesday that regularization of land and prevention of environmental crimes are the two biggest challenges to the protection of the world’s largest tropical rainforest, reports Xinhua news agency.

Brazil must fight “not only against deforestation and fires in the Amazon, but also against biopiracy and illegal mining”, he said.

“The commitment to sustainability is urgent for Brazil, since it permeates our foreign and domestic trade. Large companies, banks, industries and investment funds are thinking about the concept of sustainability as they seek where to invest.

“We have to be in tune with that,” Mourao added.

The Brazilian government has recently allocated 410 million reals ($74 million) to the Ministry of Defence for fire prevention in the Amazon, he said, adding that several tonnes of illegally cut wood have also been seized.

According to a report by the country’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) issued earlier this month, deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon increased 34.5 per cent between August 2019 and July 2020, with a total of 9,205 square km of forest destroyed.

This was the first time in 14 months that destruction in the Amazon recorded a monthly decline.

Rhe world’s largest rainforest also witnessed 2,248 fires in June, the highest level for the month in 13 years.

Overall, there were 6,803 fires, a rise of 28 per cent.

The Brazilian government has received harsh criticism from the international community for its alleged lack of commitment in combating the destruction of the Amazon.

Deforestation in the region has soared since President Jair Bolsonaro took office last year, according to conservation groups.

He has argued that more farming and mining in protected areas of the forest were the only way to lift the region out of poverty.

Bolsonaro’s environmental policies have been widely condemned but he has rejected the criticism, saying Brazil remains an example for conservation.