Southern Exposure

Desde as Entranhas dos Labirintos Latinos.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Britain Cuts Rainforest Funding to Pay for Iraq Mop-up

If not for a copy left behind by a visiting friend, I would have missed this little tidbit from the front page of the November 12th Independent (UK) (and evidently the NY Times), archived on the Truthout website, about the UK's reduction in its International Development budget, redirecting the funds from a programme to conserve Brazil's rainforest into their ┬г540m rebuilding effort in Iraq.

Environmentalists fear the Government's decision to review its ┬г16m contribution to the international community's efforts to protect Amazonia could lead to further ecological and cultural devastation.

Britain is one of the leading backers of the G7 Pilot Programme for the Conservation of the Brazilian Rainforests, which helps indigenous peoples to manage the forest in a sustainable way and counter the effects of illegal logging.


The aid schemes underpin Brazil's own efforts to protect its precious resource, which is vital to prevent further global warming and protect biodiversity. The G7 programme, which is a vital tool in combating global warming, has a total budget of $410m (┬г246m), of which Britain is a major donor, contributing ┬г16m. It funds programmes to stop illegal logging of virgin timber and to help the indigenous Amazonian peoples protect their native environment from loggers.

The British money also pays for local programmes to sustain the Amazon's flood plains and research into how to ensure "sustainable forestry management" in Brazil.

I guess a better sustainable development strategy might be not to go around blowing things up in the first place. At least there'll be plenty of timber around for the reconstruction efforts. Sigh.

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