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What is the Amazon fund? 

The United States government has announced the donation of US$500 million to the Amazon Fund – among other initiatives to combat deforestation directed at Brazil.

The US Congress must still approve the amount proposed by President Joe Biden.

The announcement was made on April 20 during the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate after a series of bilateral meetings between the two countries in the last three months.

United States, What is the Amazon fund? 
The fund invests in measures to combat deforestation and promote sustainability in the Amazon. (Photo internet reproduction)

Other countries, such as Norway and Germany, have also pledged to resume donations to the fund, which was crippled during former President Jair Messias Bolsonaro.

“The Brazilian government has done a very serious job that gives credibility to the countries that are willing to donate to the fund to help Brazil develop a new development model that will allow us to create jobs, income, and wealth and preserve the natural foundations,” said the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Marina Silva, at a press conference after the announcement of the donation.

According to the minister, the initiative stimulates cooperation with other countries.

The fund invests in measures to combat deforestation and promote sustainability in the Amazon.

Projects in other regions of the country can also be supported, provided they meet established guidelines.

The entities funded are the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama), the Military Fire Service (in its forest conservation programs), and state environmental agencies.

The National Institute for Space Research (INPE), responsible for environmental monitoring through satellites, also receives support from the fund.

In addition, state governments can have projects approved.

For example, between 2011 and 2017, the Amazonas state government received R$17.5 million for reforestation in the south, a region under heavy deforestation pressure.

According to Adriana Ramos, Social and Environmental Policy and Law Coordinator at the Institute of Social and Environmental Policy (Isa), the fund is the main donor for environmental policy in the Amazon and for monitoring and controlling deforestation in all biomes.

“The new donations to the Amazon Fund are extremely important, as they show the confidence of the international community in the commitments made by President Lula to stop deforestation by 2030,” she said.


In 2019, then Environment Minister Ricardo Salles dissolved the two committees responsible for managing the Amazon Fund’s resources, making it impossible to fund projects and continue donations.

The existence of these committees is a contractual condition imposed by donors to prevent the funds from being used for other purposes.

According to the National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES), Brazil stopped investing about R$3 billion in environmental actions between 2019 and 2022, which remained in the fund after the dissolution of the steering committees.

In October 2022, the Supreme Federal Court (STF) ruled that the Union should take the necessary steps to reactivate the Amazon Fund.

At that time, most ministers concluded that dissolving the committees was unconstitutional because it would not fulfill the government’s duty to conserve the Amazon.

The committees were reinstated by President Lula by decree on January 1, 2023, and resumed their activities so that new funds could be made available.


The Amazon Fund, created in 2008, is managed by the BNDES and can be seen as a kind of credit that other countries give Brazil for its environmental policies good results.

Despite all the challenges, Brazil is one of the countries that has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions the most.

Between 2005 and 2016, deforestation decreased by 71%, according to the Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Deforestation in the Legal Amazon (PPCDAM).

Thanks to these efforts, Brazil has qualified internationally to receive funds from abroad, such as the donation announced by Joe Biden.


The Brazilian government has the autonomy to decide how to use the funds.

Still, it depends on the decisions of two entities: The Amazon Fund Steering Committee (COFA) and the Amazon Fund Technical Committee (CTFA).

The COFA sets the criteria for using the funds, while the CTFA certifies the level of carbon emissions generated by deforestation on national territory.

Each year, the fund undergoes two audits assessing accounting and investments’ adequacy to meet the program’s goals.

In all years, the auditors concluded that the accounts and reports submitted by the BNDES were adequate.

The Steering Committee for the Amazon Fund (COFA) comprises three groups: the federal government, state governments, and civil society.

Organizations such as the National Confederation of Industries (CNI) and the National Confederation of Agricultural Workers (Contag) are part of it and monitor the use of the funds.

States must have a plan to address deforestation to be eligible to vote in the deliberations.

This committee is also responsible for approving the activity report.

The Amazon Fund Technical Committee (CTFA) comprises scientists who meet at least once a year.

Their task is to evaluate the methodology used by the Ministry of Environment to calculate deforestation area and carbon emissions.

Because participation in the CTFA is considered public interest, its members receive no compensation.

The last meeting of this committee was held in October 2018, indicating that the work will not continue in subsequent years.

For Adriana Ramos, the Amazon Fund’s working model provides autonomy in using funds and strengthens Brazilian environmental policy.

“Achieving zero deforestation is a major challenge that involves several strategies, such as the demarcation and protection of indigenous lands, the titling of quilombos and the creation of conservation units, the allocation of public lands, the inclusion of low-carbon agriculture criteria in the Plano Safra, and the effectiveness of the Rural Environmental Registry, to name just a few of the actions that can be supported with resources from the Fund,” she concludes.

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