Colombia will propose an international fund for peasants who preserve the Amazon

The president of Colombia, the leftist Gustavo Petro, announced Thursday that he will ask rich countries and large companies to pay farmers for caring for the Amazon rainforest and recovering deforested areas.

From Leticia (south), the capital of the department of Amazonas, the president said that he will take the initiative to the next UN climate conference, COP27, to be held in Egypt in November.

“A financial fund of approximately 500 million dollars a year must be built, permanently for 20 years, so that the world’s large companies and the richest governments are able, if they really want to advance the fight against climate change, to finance us. either through carbon bonds or through direct contributions,” Petro said at an indigenous school.

With this money, the new government hopes to pay monthly salaries to “one hundred thousand Amazonian families” who allow “the forest to be born where it has already been burned” or protect it “where it is vulnerable” to “rescue 21 million hectares” destroyed in the richest and densest subregion in biodiversity on the planet.

The Amazon Basin, covering 7.4 million km2, covers nearly 40% of South America and spans nine countries, with an estimated population of 34 million people.

The first leftist president in the history of Colombia took office on August 7 with an ambitious environmental project that aims to lead the country towards clean energy and cease the exploration of new oil wells, among other measures.

In a rainy speech, the president also ordered the public force to capture the “great predators of the Amazon jungle” and “respond immediately” to any fire.

“The public force here simply has to stop the big capital that is moving to burn the Amazon forest. I don’t want the peasant to be hit,” he requested.

Colombia is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world and the most dangerous for environmental leaders who are frequent targets in the prolonged armed conflict, according to the NGO Global Witness.

Between 2018 and 2021, the country lost an area of ​​7,018 km2 to deforestation, a little more than the extension of the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo, according to the UN.

Most of the devastated forests were recorded in the Amazon.

“If the Amazon forest ends, one of the largest sponges of C02 gas that is heating the planet and changing the climate, (…) humanity will end,” Petro warned.

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