Presidents of Brazil, France announce green investment plan on Amazon visit

French President Emmanuel Macron awards Kayapo chief Raoni Metuktire with the Legion of Honor on March 26, 2024 (Ludovic MARIN)

French President Emmanuel Macron kicked off a go to to Brazil on Tuesday with the launch of a billion-euro Amazonian inexperienced funding plan alongside his counterpart Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

The pair’s journey to Belem, the northern host metropolis of a serious UN local weather summit subsequent 12 months, makes Macron the primary president of France to go to Brazil in over a decade and comes after a cease in close by French Guiana.

His public occasion with Lula on the jungle island of Combu, stuffed with smiles and affectionate gestures, highlighted the stark reversal of relations for the reason that time period of Jair Bolsonaro, Lula’s far-right predecessor.

The previous president had clashed with Macron’s authorities over environmental destruction — and even lobbed insults directed at French first girl Brigitte Macron.

The funding plan goals to boost “1 billion euros ($1.08 billion) of private and non-private funding over the subsequent 4 years,” in response to a roadmap revealed by the French presidency forward of subsequent 12 months’s COP30 summit.

The leaders are looking for to advertise “an awesome private and non-private international funding plan into the bioeconomy” within the Brazilian and Guyanese Amazon, the announcement mentioned, particularly as Brazil presides over the G20 for 2024.

France, the seventh largest economic system on the planet, and Brazil, the ninth largest, are thought of key gamers in a geopolitical scene marked by rivalry between China and america.

Paris sees Brasilia as a bridge to massive rising economies whose voices Brazil is making an attempt to amplify by way of its presidency of the G20, and membership of the BRICS+ group.

“We live in a Franco-Brazilian second,” the Elysee presidential palace mentioned earlier, highlighting “many factors of convergence” with Lula, notably on “main international points.”

“France is a necessary, unavoidable actor for Brazilian international coverage,” mentioned the pinnacle of Brazilian diplomacy for Europe, Maria Luisa Escorel de Moraes.

– Amazon chief honored –

Tuesday’s announcement proposes the creation of a “carbon market,” supposed to reward international locations which spend money on pure carbon sinks, such because the Amazon rainforest.

The world’s largest tropical forest performs a key position within the struggle in opposition to local weather change by absorbing carbon dioxide emissions.

Deforestation within the Brazilian Amazon halved in 2023 after hovering below Bolsonaro, as Lula’s authorities stepped up environmental policing.

The settlement additionally consists of help for “indigenous folks and native Amazon communities, which have a necessary position in defending biodiversity by way of their conventional information and forest administration practices,” in response to the announcement.

In Belem, Macron awarded tribal chief Raoni Metuktire with the Legion of Honor, the best French distinction.

“The struggle” for the forest and its peoples, “I wished to say that we’ll proceed to wage it alongside you,” Macron instructed the chief.

Metuktire left his house within the Amazon greater than 30 years in the past to journey the world together with his warning of the threats posed by the destruction of the rainforest.

A putting determine together with his massive picket lip plate and yellow feather headdress, he has taken his message to popes, royals and presidents, together with his stature as an environmental campaigner rising with rising consciousness of the local weather emergency.

– Mercosur and Ukraine –

France and Brazil are working collectively to fabricate 4 conventionally powered submarines, the third of which shall be launched on Wednesday by each leaders on the Itaguai naval base, close to Rio de Janeiro.

Brasilia might additionally name on Paris to assist it develop nuclear propulsion on a fifth submarine.

Then there are the extra sticky matters, such because the long-stalled free commerce settlement between the European Union and South America’s Mercosur bloc, which has lately run into fierce resistance from European farmers.

Macron mentioned in January that France opposes the deal as a result of it “would not make Mercosur farmers and firms abide by the identical guidelines as ours.”

Whereas Lula is predicted to reiterate his name for the fast signing of the deal, each Paris and Brasilia have indicated the two-decade outdated negotiations wouldn’t be a serious focus of Macron’s journey, which incorporates conferences on Thursday within the Brazilian capital.

The conflict in Ukraine, which Macron needs to be a key focus of the G20, is one other level of rivalry.

Lula, who has positioned himself as a champion of the “international South,” has insisted that Kyiv and Moscow share accountability over the battle and has refused to take a stand in opposition to Russia.

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