Amazon fires: Brazil to reject G7 offer of Sh2.2 billion aid

By BBC On Tue, 27 Aug, 2019 11:30 | 2 mins read
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    The Brazilian government has said it will reject an offer of aid from G7 countries to help tackle fires in the Amazon rainforest.

The Brazilian government has said it will reject an offer of aid from G7 countries to help tackle fires in the Amazon rainforest.

French President Emmanuel Macron – who hosted a G7 summit that ended on Monday – said $22m (£18m) would be released.

Brazilian officials gave no reason for turning down the money. But President Jair Bolsonaro has accused France of treating Brazil like a colony.

His defence minister said the fires in the Amazon were not out of control.

Commenting on the G7 offer of aid, Mr Bolsonaro’s chief of staff, Onyx Lorenzoni, told the Globo news website: “Thanks, but maybe those resources are more relevant to reforest Europe.”

“Macron cannot even avoid a predictable fire in a church that is part of the world’s heritage, and he wants to give us lessons for our country?” Mr Lorenzoni added, in a reference to the fire that hit Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris in April.

A record number of fires are burning in Brazil, mostly in the Amazon, according to the country’s space research agency, Inpe. President Macron last week described the fires as an “international crisis”.

Critics have accused him of making deforestation worse in the Amazon through anti-environmental rhetoric.

Greenpeace France has described the G7’s response to the crisis as “inadequate given the urgency and magnitude of this environmental disaster“, it said in a statement (in French).

On Monday, actor Leonardo DiCaprio pledged $5m towards helping the rainforest.

One world expert on forestry says what is needed in Brazil is a change in political priorities.

“The funding for Brazil’s environment agency has gone down by 95% this year, it [has] essentially gutted large part of the actions that have been put in by the agricultural ministry,” Yadvinder Malhi, professor of Ecosystem Science at the University of Oxford, told the BBC’s Today programme.

“So the real thing is to look at the political direction of governance in the Amazon that’s changing under the new Brazilian government.”

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