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Climate crisis, Amazon in spotlight on Macron’s first day of Brazil visit

Belém, Brazil, Mar 26 (EFE).- Global warming and the preservation of the Amazon rainforest was the focus of the first day of French President Emmanuel Macron’s official visit to Brazil.

He was received in the heart of the Amazon jungle on Tuesday by the Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

After a meeting on board a boat that took them to the island of Combú, in the Amazonian bay of Guajará, Macron and Lula announced an agreement that foresees investments of 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) over the next four years to finance sustainable development projects that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and preserve the Amazon.

The billion-dollar investment plan, which will attract both public and private funding, will be allocated to initiatives to promote the bio-economy in the Brazilian Amazon and French Guyana.

The development of research projects on sustainability issues, the establishment of a carbon market capable of remunerating countries that invest in natural carbon sinks and the protection of biodiversity are also part of the plan.

Macron said the countries will invest in biodiversity and in economic activities compatible with the interests of indigenous peoples, which allow them to have growth prospects and preserve forests.

“Together we will invest in the bio-economy,” he said.

The French president was received by Lula in the Amazonian city of Belém, which will host COP30 next year, and from there they traveled together to the island of Combú, where Macron visited sustainable development projects of small cocoa growers and artisanal chocolate producers.

In the middle of the largest rainforest in the world and in a ceremony with Brazilian indigenous leaders, they announced their joint commitments against climate change and for the preservation of the Amazon.

The French president said they had decided to launch the Belém Call to make concrete decisions and try to transform natural parks into the largest in the world in which scientists can work together to preserve nature.

Macron took advantage of his visit to assure his commitment to the causes of Brazilian indigenous peoples, mainly for their right to their lands and for the preservation of the Amazon.

Such a commitment was assumed in a ceremony in which Chief Raoni Metuktire, leader of the Kayapó ethnic group and one of the main global spokespersons for the indigenous peoples of Brazil, was awarded the Legion of Honor.

Lula took advantage of the meeting to reaffirm his commitment to stop illegal deforestation in the Amazon before 2030.

He added, however, that Brazil also wants to convince the world that countries that have already been deforested, like in Europe, have to contribute so that other countries that still conserve important environmental areas.

“We do not want to transform the Amazon into a sanctuary for humanity. What we want is to share with the world the exploration and research of our rich biodiversity” and for indigenous people to participate in everything that is drawn from the land they inhabit, he said.

Belém was the French leader’s first stop on a visit to Brazil, which will conclude on Thursday.

The leaders will meet again on Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro, where they will visit a naval complex in the municipality of Itaguaí and where a Franco-Brazilian submarine construction program is being developed.

From Rio de Janeiro, Macron will go to São Paulo, where on Wednesday he will participate in a forum that will bring together some 200 businessmen from both countries, and then continue on to Brasilia, where he will be received by Lula on Thursday. EFE c

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