Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Macron launches alliance at UN to protect tropical forests, without Brazil

United Nations, Sep 23 (EFE).- French President Emmanuel Macron, along with Colombia’s Ivan Duque and Chile’s Sebastian Piñera, on Monday at the United Nations presented a great alliance to protect the Amazon and other tropical forests, an initiative that, so far, has been marked by Brazil’s absence.

The plan, officially launched on the margins of the UN General Assembly, includes new aid by international donors, such as $100 million (90.7 million euros) from the French government.

Macron, who in August during the G7 Summit had already mobilized urgent aid to help deal with the fires in the Amazon, because of his efforts has become involved in a war of words with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has accused the French leader of meddling in his country’s national affairs.

Macron acknowledged on Monday the importance of Brazil’s failure to sign on to the plan but insisted that that country would be “welcome” to join the effort.

Along with Macron, Duque and Piñera, who jointly undertook to present the alliance, other heads of state and government also participated in the event, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Bolivian President Evo Morales.

The leaders emphasized that the initiative respects the national sovereignty of the countries where tropical forests are located, something that the Chilean president had insisted upon.

Piñera said that international cooperation in the effort is “necessary” and does not clash with respect for sovereignty, but rather they are “complementary principles.”

Duque, meanwhile, said that the coalition’s call “is necessary and strategic” and noted that the rainforests and jungles are the “lungs” of the planet that are needed to combat climate change.

Also speaking at the event were several Latin American indigenous leaders and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who insisted on the urgency of taking action to protect the Amazon and other tropical forests.

The forests of our world are in flames, said Guterres, adding that the problem of deforestation is a “global” one.

Also participating in the UN Climate Summit in the name of Conservation International was US actor Harrison Ford, who announced that the NGO was contributing $20 million to the effort and insisted on the importance of leaving debates to the side and taking action.

“Greed is winning the battle for the Amazon, and what we have done to preserve the Amazon – what we’ve worked so hard on – is being purposefully undone,” said Ford, adding that people have been talking about saving the Amazon for 30 years and are still talking. He went on to say that humanity’s house is burning down and we only have one house.