Brazil proposes global forest conservation fund at COP28

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FILE PHOTO: Smoke from a fire rises into the air as trees burn amongst vegetation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest near Humaita, Amazonas state, Brazil, August 3, 2023. REUTERS/Leonardo Benassatto/File Photo

DUBAI (Reuters) – Brazil on Friday unveiled a proposal at the COP28 climate summit to set up a global fund to finance forest conservation that it hopes can raise $250 billion from sovereign wealth funds and other investors, including the oil industry.

The proposal, presented at a panel during the meeting in Dubai, provides for funding to 80 countries that have tropical forests to help maintain their trees, with annual payments based on the hectares conserved or restored.

The Brazilian government said the proposal, called “Tropical Forests Forever,” aims to fill a gap that currently exists in financing mechanisms that mostly focus on payments for carbon capture or environmental services.

“There is an urgent need for large-scale financial resources to protect tropical forests, their biodiversity and the people who live in, protect and depend on these forests,” according to the presentation of the initiative.

The plan unveiled by Brazilian Environment Minister Marina Silva and Finance Minister Fernando Haddad calls for the creation of an innovative global instrument to remunerate the maintenance and restoration of tropical forests.

Brazil is asking other countries to contribute to the final design of the fund.

“It is the countries with tropical forests that will contribute to improving this proposal, so that it truly becomes a formal initiative,” the Brazilian climate negotiator Andre Correa do Lago told Reuters.

Among criteria for countries that participate in the fund, annual deforestation rates must remain below a percentage yet to be defined, and must be decreasing or remain very low. Countries that deforest would be penalized with discounted funding.

The initial fundraising target, according to the Brazilian government’s presentation, is $250 billion. The funds would be deposited at a global organization, which could raise further resources by issuing low-risk bonds.


(Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu, Editing by William Maclean)