domingo, 9 de dezembro de 2012
COP18: Steps taken to save Amazon forests
Three simple stages have reduced deforestation in Brazil by 83 per cent
Brazil’s success in the battle against deforestation was highlighted at a COP18/CMP8 Doha side event.
The steps that have already been made to tackle the problem in the Amazon were discussed, as well as plans to continue the work.
Francisco de Oliveira Filho, the director of deforestation combat policies in Brazil’s Environment Ministry, spoke at the event called Imazon: Successfully curbing tropical forest loss in Brazil.
He told the audience that in 2004 the word that had been associated with curbing deforestation in Brazil was “impossible”. However, he added: “For us it was just a word from people who prefer to leave the world as it is and not change it.”
Instead the country began a fight back against climate change, which included the introduction of a National Climate Change Policy in 2009, with an action plan to prevent and control deforestation. The work has so far proved to be successful and since 2004 Brazil has had an 83 per cent reduction in deforestation.
Brazil’s necessity to tackle the problem of deforestation is clear, as almost 77 per cent of its CO2 emissions are caused by it. In 2003 the Brazilian Government came up with a three point plan to protect the Amazon. It included: land use planning; monitoring and controlling and sustainable activities. The third part of the scheme is just about to begin.
Under its first two phases there was a huge increase in protected areas within the region and the Government created the Amazon Fund. Preventative measures such as fines and confiscation of equipment were also used.
Mr De Oliveira Filho said that the scheme has been possible only because there had been a lot of collaboration between different ministers. He added that the priority was to ensure that reduction levels remained and did not increase when phase three is introduced.
He ended his presentation by quoting the words of Chico Mendes, a rubber tapper who he said was murdered for trying to save the forest. The quote said: “At first I thought I was fighting to save rubber tree. Then I thought I was fighting to save the Amazon Forest. Now I realise I am fighting for humanity.”
Mr De Oliveira Filho said: “Those words are very strong for me because in 1988 he was a visionary about what we are talking about 20 years later.”
Jorge Hargrave, a researcher on the panel, also spoke about the lessons learnt from curbing deforestation in the Amazon, which other countries could replicate.
He said that the positive outcomes of the actions are that deforestation became a main item in the Government’s agenda and that fines had been a significant deterrent. However, he added that countries need to ensure that there is a mix of incentives and disincentives and a high-level political commitment is essential. He added that economic incentives should be put in place, which is part of Brazil’s third phase.