Brazil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Indonesia, the world’s three largest rainforest nations, formally launched a partnership on Monday to work together on forest conservation after a decade of on-off talks on a trilateral alliance.
Reuters reported in August that Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who was elected president of Brazil in late October, would seek a partnership with the two other leading rainforest nations to pressure the wealthy world to fund forest conservation.
The rapid destruction of rainforests, which serve as carbon sinks due to their dense vegetation, is releasing planet-warming carbon dioxide, jeopardizing global climate goals. Re-growing previously deforested jungle has the advantage of removing greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere.
Representatives from the three countries, which represent 52% of the world’s tropical rainforest, signed the joint statement during talks in Indonesia ahead of the G20, or Group of 20 industrialized countries, which begins Tuesday.
“Cooperation from south to south – Brazil, Indonesia, DRC – is very natural,” said Democratic Republic of Congo Environment Minister Eve Bazaiba ahead of the signing.
“We have the same challenges, the same opportunity to be the solution to climate change.”
In the agreement, the alliance said countries should be paid for reducing deforestation and preserving forests as carbon sinks.
The countries will also negotiate “a new sustainable financing mechanism” to help developing countries conserve their biodiversity, as well as increase funding through the United Nations’ REDD+ program to reduce deforestation.
The G20 talks coincide with the second and final week of the United Nations’ COP27 climate summit in Egypt, where Lula’s environmental adviser Izabella Teixeira said Brazil would seek to involve other countries in the Amazon basin, which includes nine countries.
“Forests are important, nature is important. And I do believe that without Amazon protection we cannot have climate security,” said Teixeira, who served as environment minister under Lula during his previous term as president that ended in 2010.
“I believe Brazil should encourage other countries to come together.”
Talks about the alliance to protect the rainforest had so far failed because of “institutional problems,” Teixeira said.
The joint statement referred to a meeting of the three countries at last year’s climate summit in Glasgow, which accelerated talks.
They have paid off in the final weeks of Jair Bolsonaro’s right-wing presidency before Lula takes office on January 1.