Lula at COP27: We need each other to survive, alone we are vulnerable.
Speaking at the COP27 this afternoon, president-elect Lula da Silva stressed the need for more leadership to reverse global warming. Lula highlighted that preservation of the Amazon is a main priority for his new government, including a goal of zero deforestation by 2030 and the establishment of a new Ministry for Indigenous Peoples.
“This is a historic moment of hope, in a critical time for the planet. We welcome Brazil back as an environmental leader. For Brazil to succeed, we urge heads of state to harness this momentum by supporting Lula in re-establishing environmental agencies that were damaged during Bolsonaro’s government, and investors and business leaders to make sure they cut their links to deforestation,“ says Toerris Jaeger, Executive Director of Rainforest Foundation Norway.
In his speech, Lula also promised that his government will re-establish the agencies and monitoring systems broken over the last few years.
Bolsonaro’s dismantling of environmental agencies, by reducing their mandates, and budgets and replacing personnel, has over the last four years eroded the previous effective protection of the rainforest and its inhabitants.
Deforestation has risen by 73 percent during Bolsonaro’s first three years in office. Most of this deforestation is illegal, driven by mining, logging, and agribusinesses, much of it at the expense of Indigenous people in their territories
With their own ministry, Indigenous people’s role in forest protection is fully recognized. Jaeger continues: “Lula needs financial support for stepping up the implementation of Indigenous people’s forest management plans. These plans, based on proven methods of sustainable forest management, are already in place and will, if put into practice, protect valuable rainforests covering an area the size of France. It is just a question of having the resources to carry them out.”
Although he was received by cheering crowds at COP27 in Egypt, once back in Brazil he is faced with a challenging political climate. To succeed with his political project, Lula will need international support.
“The good news is that the national agencies for protecting the forest and the indigenous groups living there can be built back stronger. With sufficient resources and mandates, they are essential for stopping the destruction and violence on the ground. We must remember that although Lula won the elections, the situation in the forest is the same. The violence against indigenous peoples is intolerable and must be stopped at the first opportunity», says Jaeger.
Dario Kopenawa, representing the Yanomami Indigenous people and one of Rainforest Foundation Norway’s partner organizations, said: “ The election of Lula was a victory for us. He has promised zero deforestation, to protect indigenous people, and remove illegal gold diggers from our territory. He must keep his word. The Yanomami people will hold Lula accountable for what he promised during his campaign”.