Brazil back to the UN environmental assembly after Bolsonaro rejected zero deforestation

The United Nations Environment Assembly began on Monday (26) focused in sustainable multilateral actions

Translated by: Ana Paula Rocha

Brasil de Fato | São Paulo |
The UNEA-6 opening session happened on Monday morning (26) in Nairobi, Kenya - Reprodução/ ONU TV

The United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-6), the world's most representative body for environmental decision-making, is meeting for the sixth time between Monday (26) and March 1st in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital.

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At the last and fifth edition of the UNEA, in 2022, the government of then President Jair Bolsonaro (Liberal Party) rejected a resolution that involved reducing CO2 emissions caused by deforestation associated with farming in the Amazon rainforest.

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At UNEA-4, the European Union proposed that all countries commit to zero deforestation. Brazil refused to commit to it and suggested the expression "zero illegal deforestation". There was no consensus, and the proposal was shelved.

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"Brazil does not agree with the alarming tone sometimes used to criticize agricultural production in developing countries," said then Environment Minister Ricardo Salles, now a federal deputy.

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Now governed by Lula, Brazil is again playing a leading role in international environmental debates, reversing the upward trend in deforestation in the Amazon and demanding that rich countries fulfill their climate finance promises.

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Amid an increase in extreme weather events around the world, this year's meeting of representatives from the UN's 193 member states brings together world leaders and scientists, as well as representatives of civil society and businesses.

Brazil is the vice-president of the UN Environmental Assembly

This year’s environmental assembly is more important than ever, according to Radhika Ochalik, Director of the United Nations Environment Programme Governance Affairs Office.

“The triple planetary crisis is driving poverty and inequality, undermining the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and threatening humanity’s survival. The UNEA has unique authority in addressing these challenges," said the event's spokesperson.

The UNEA works as a kind of global environmental parliament. It currently has Morocco as its president and Brazil and Portugal as its vice-presidents. It meets every two years and plays a key role in shaping global environmental policy.

This year, the discussions will focus on "Effective, inclusive and sustainable multilateral actions to tackle climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution". The United Nations is betting on agreements between countries to strengthen the protection of biomes.

Edited by: Matheus Alves de Almeida