Brazil can’t stop deforestation without help, says minister

Brazil receives money from Germany and Norway to fight deforestation. (AFP)
Updated 09 December 2019

Brazil can’t stop deforestation without help, says minister

  • Deforestation in the 12 months through July reached the highest annual rate in 11 years

MADRID: Brazil can’t stop deforestation in the Amazon without the help of rich countries, the country’s environment minister said at the United Nations’ two-week climate change conference.

Ricardo Salles, who declined to set a target for limiting deforestation in the coming year, said in an interview Saturday with The Associated Press that his country is committed to reducing illegal activity, but needs the support of developed nations.

“We are willing to do whatever is necessary to do so, but we need that back up,” Salles said. 

“That back up was promised many years ago and we’re still expecting the rich countries to participate in a proper way. Proportional funds are really what are going to be needed for that task.”

While participating in the climate conference known as COP25, Salles is working to assure others of the environmental policies of Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro.

Bolsonaro has squabbled with some European leaders this year over his commitment to protecting the Amazon. 

He has worried environmental activists and others by criticizing Brazil’s environment regulator and by calling for more development in the Amazon region. 

He also accused activists groups, without evidence, of having set fires in that region to undermine his administration.

Deforestation in the 12 months through July reached the highest annual rate in 11 years. Brazil’s annual deforestation report released in November showed a nearly 30 percent jump from the prior year in the Amazon, which lost 3,769 square miles of forest.

Salles said developed nations should help Brazil on the basis of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement signed in 2015 on tackling the effects of climate change. The article says monetary compensation mechanisms must be created to help developing countries.

Brazil already receives money from wealthy nations, namely Germany and Norway, to fight deforestation in the vast Amazon rainforest. Norway alone has donated $1.2 billion to Brazil’s Amazon Fund since its creation in 2008.


Karzai urges Ghani to drop truce as pre-condition for talks with Taliban

Updated 21 January 2020

Karzai urges Ghani to drop truce as pre-condition for talks with Taliban

  • Ex-president says Taliban offer to reduce violence a ‘major development’

KABUL: Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai has urged President Ashraf Ghani to drop the pre-condition of cease-fire to begin talks with the Taliban amid high hope that the US and Taliban delegates will sign a deal following more than a year of secret discussions.

Speaking in an interview with BBC local service, Karzai said the government “should not block intra-Afghan dialogue under the pretext of cease-fire.” He said the Taliban offer for reduction in violence as the group says is nearing to ink the deal with American diplomats in Qatar, was a “major development.”

He said Ghani needed to accept the Taliban offer.

Ghani says truce is a must ahead of starting any negotiations with the Taliban calling reduction in violence a general term and arguing that such a call by the Taliban political leaders in Qatar only goes to show that they have control over field commanders back in Afghanistan.

The Taliban say the group will announce truce when the intra-Afghan dialogue begins which will happen after Washington sets timetable for withdrawal of the troops.

Washington at least on one occasion called off the talks with the Taliban in Qatar due to Taliban attacks back in Afghanistan as discussions continued in Qatar despite none of the warring sides having committed to halt offensives during the talks.

Ghani’s government has been sidelined from all rounds of talks between the Taliban delegates and US diplomats led by Zalmay Khalilzad in Qatar. There has also been rift between Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, who shares power with the president in the National Unity Government, on the pre-condition of cease-fire.

Unlike Ghani, Abdullah is happy with reduction of violence. Talking in a meeting of council of ministers, Abdullah on Monday indirectly said Ghani had taken the peace process in his monopoly.

 “Peace is not one person’s monopoly, one person’s wish — but it is a collective desire, and the people of Afghanistan have the right to take a position regarding the peace process,” said Abdullah.