Brazil's Amazon states seek $500 million from Norway

The states of Brazil's Amazon region have held talks with Norway about possibly receiving some $500 million in funding for sustainable rainforest projects even if a national level aid deal falls through

RIO DE JANEIRO -- The states of Brazil's Amazon region held talks Wednesday with Norway about possibly receiving some $500 million in funding for sustainable rainforest projects even if a national level aid deal falls through.

The $500 million had been earmarked for Brazil's Amazon Fund, created in 2008 to receive donations for projects that help contain deforestation. But Norway disagrees with the changes Brazil's Environment Minister Ricardo Salles has proposed for the fund, and the money remains “frozen" pending a possible agreement the press officer for Norway's Environment Ministry, Jo Randen, told The Associated Press.

But the nine state of Brazil's Amazon hope to receive that money directly if no federal agreement is reached, according to Amapa state Gov. Waldez Góes, who met with Norway's Climate and Environment Minister Ola Elvestuen on Wednesday at the U.N.'s climate conference,

“If they (the national governments) can't solve their disagreement, they have to think about mechanisms like ours,” said Góes, who leads the consortium of states, in a phone interview from Madrid.

The talks with Norway are part of a broader effort by Amazonian states to develop direct contact with donating countries at a time when the willingness of President Jair Bolsonaro's administration to fight deforestation faces growing skepticism globally. In addition to Norway, the governors also held talks with representatives from Germany, France, the U.K. and the U.S..

An annual report from Brazil's space research institute released last month showed deforestation in the Amazon increased by nearly 30 percent in the year through July as compared to the 12-month period.