Since the new Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva took office, deforestation in the Amazon region has decreased significantly. According to the South American country’s Ministry of the Environment, the deforested area in the region fell by 31 percent in the first five months of the year compared to the same period last year. In contrast, in the Cerrado, the wet savannas in southeastern Brazil, deforestation has increased by 35 percent compared to the previous year.

Lula began his third term on New Year’s Day. In his previous two terms of office (2003 – 2010), the former union leader was not exactly considered an environmentalist. But now he has promised to strengthen environmental and climate protection. The police recently went ahead with a large-scale operation against illegal gold prospectors.

Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock was also on the road in the Amazon region yesterday, appealing for international support in the fight against deforestation. “We have already paid in millions for the Amazon Fund in the past. This trip also serves to make millions more available for it,” said the Green politician on her trip to Latin America in the Brazilian city of Belém in the Amazon region.

The Amazon rainforest is considered a CO2 store and has an important function in the international fight against climate change. During the tenure of right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro (2019 – 2022), deforestation and slash and burn increased sharply. The ex-military saw the region primarily as untapped economic potential and gave farmers and gold miners a largely free hand when it came to land grabbing. He cut funds from the control authorities or deprived them of their powers.