26 - August - 2020

The political crisis of Brazil and the Amazon

Europe: Bolsonaro needs a clear and categorical message that ratification of the UE-Mercosur trade deal cannot be considered until Brazil shows it’s ready to comply with its environmental commitments

Queimada em Porto Velho, Rondônia - Foto: Victor Moriyama / Greenpeace
Queimada em Porto Velho, Rondônia - Foto: Victor Moriyama / Greenpeace

During the last 18 months, Amazon deforestation, fires and violence against indigenous peoples, forest peoples and environmental defenders have increased dramatically.

In the same period, the Brazilian environmental agencies and policies that for more than a decade have helped reduce deforestation, good monitoring and strong enforcement of environmental laws have been dismantled and undermined. The critical situation is a result of political actions and omissions by the current Brazilian government. This is also undermining Brazil’s credibility towards its own citizens as well as the global community.

The global public has reacted with shock over President Jair Bolsonaro’s mismanagement of the rainforest, and companies, investors and politicians have been clear about reduced appetite for Brazilian products, investment and trade agreements. This is important.

The government has responded to these concerns with a makeshift military operation to reduce Amazon deforestation, and banned the use of fire. However, despite Bolsonaro’s claims, satellite monitoring and eye witnesses confirm that deforestation is increasing at record levels, and fires are raging again. Saying that you want to stop deforestation doesn’t help if your actions do the opposite.

To combat deforestation and protect the Amazon, its biodiversity, people, and its ability to produce rainfall and halt climate change, a comprehensive policy package is needed. With the support of 62 Brazilian organizations, we have outlined the five main steps here.

In spite of the crisis, the European Union and many other countries are still considering to enter a huge trade agreement with Brazil as part of the Mercosur region. If they ratify such agreement now, without a major change in the way Brazil treats its rainforest, biodiversity, forest peoples and the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, it will be very difficult to take the European concerns for the climate or the Amazon seriously. Signing this treaty now will be signing a seal of approval for Amazon destruction.

Europe: There is a responsibility to your signature. Bolsonaro needs a clear and categorical message that ratification cannot be considered until Brazil shows it’s ready to comply with its environmental commitments.

These 5 emergency measures must be a minimum:

  • A five-year moratorium on deforestation in the Amazon.
  • Increased penalties for environmental crimes and deforestation, including the freezing of assets of the 100 worst offenders.
  • Immediate resumption of PPCDAm – Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Deforestation in the Legal Amazon, shelved by the Bolsonaro administration.
  • Demarcation of indigenous and quilombola lands and creation, regularization and protection of Conservation Units.
  • Restructuring of federal agencies in charge of environmental aind indigenous rights protection (Ibama, ICMBio and Funai).
Europe; you can’t support the Paris Agreement and fight climate change while at the same time ratify this trade agreement without conditions

Thank you for supporting us and the rainforest by helping us share this important message, not just for Brazil but for the whole world.

 

If the Mercosur agreement is signed this will finance the war against us and empower those who are working to ruin the rainforest.”  – Dinamam Tuxá, Apib

We believe any deal with the Brazilian regime must be conditional on concrete measures to stop the ecocide and the indigenous genocide – lest European and OECD countries become partners of Bolsonaro – Marcio Astrini, Observatório do Clima

 

While the eyes of the world are focused on the corona pandemic in Brazil, Bolsonaro and his government are working under the radar to put pressure on anti-democratic legislations.

Facts about the Mercosur deal:

 

The European Union and Mercosur states – Argentina, Brazil Paraguay and Uruguay – reached on June 28th a political agreement for an ambitious, balanced and comprehensive trade agreement.

The EU is Mercosur’s number one trade and investment partner. 

The EU is the biggest foreign investor in Mercosur with a stock of €365 billion, while Mercosur’s investment stock in the EU amounts to €52 billion in 2017. While the relationship is very substantial both exporters and potential investors face barriers in Mercosur markets.

The goal of the new EU-Mercosur trade deal is to

  • Increase bilateral trade and investment, and lower tariff and non-tariff trade barriers, notably for small and medium sized enterprises
  • Create more stable and predictable rules for trade and investment through better and stronger rules, e.g. in the area of intellectual property rights (including geographical indications), food safety standards, competition and good regulatory practices
  • Promote joint values such as sustainable development, by strengthening worker’s rights, fight climate change, increase environmental protection, encourage companies to act responsibly, and uphold high food safety standards

 

The agreement is supposed to represent a win-win for both the EU and Mercosur, creating opportunities for growth, jobs and sustainable development on both sides. However, with Bolsonaro and the current government at the helm this is not the case. 

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