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Global development partner

Minister Müller visits Brazil: "The protection of tropical forests and the climate can only be achieved through joint efforts"


Aerial view of the rainforest in the Amazon National Park

Press release of 07.07.2019 |

BERLIN – Today (Sunday, 7 July) German Development Minister Gerd Müller is leaving for a short week's trip to Brazil. The largest and most populous country in Latin America is an important global partner of the German government. The focus of the visit will be on the protection of Brazil's tropical forests and of the world's climate.

On his departure, Minister Müller said, "Brazil is a key partner as regards climate action. The Amazon tropical rainforests cover an area larger than the entire European Union; they are the lungs of our planet. Thanks also to our support, 1.6 million square kilometres of tropical forests have been designated as protected areas – that's an area four and a half times the size of Germany! We intend to continue and further expand our conservation projects. That is why, in my meetings with officials, I will press the Brazilian government to systematically expand efforts to fight illegal deforestation and slash-and-burn practices and ensure that the Amazon Fund we are supporting can once again function effectively. The focus of all our action needs to be on the local people living in these areas. We need the indigenous communities in particular for forest conservation – and they are also the ones, who should benefit directly from forest protection efforts."

The agenda for the Minister's visit will include meetings with representatives of the Brazilian government, participation in a conference of climate experts in Brasilia, meetings with indigenous groups and non-governmental organisations, project visits in Sao Paulo and the region of Manaus and a visit of an orange plantation in the region of Campinas.

Another focal topic of the visit is the free trade agreement that was concluded at the G20 summit in Osaka between the European Union and Mercosur, of which Brazil is a member.

"The agreement with Mercosur is a milestone for our joint trade relations," Minister Müller said. It is important that compliance with labour and environmental standards and with the Paris climate agreement is made binding. Especially with regard to soy we should press for imports to be certified. Soy for which tropical forest was illegally slashed must not reach Europe. The rain forests and oceans are the world's largest carbon sink. Yet today as much as 12 per cent of global CO2 emissions are caused by the destruction of rain forests. That is six times the amount of carbon emitted by Germany. If you want to save the climate, you need to save the rain forest and stop deforestation!"

Through its development cooperation Germany has helped protect over 100 million hectares of forest worldwide – an area roughly 70 times the size of all Germany's nature reserves put together. The forest and climate protection programmes of the BMZ have contributed to saving 48 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. That is equivalent to 60 per cent of the car emissions in Germany.

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