RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) — Brazil on Friday created an international fund to fight deforestation of the Amazon and is accepting contributions to help preserve the world's largest rainforest.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva signed a decree here creating the Amazon Fund, designed to receive up to 21 billion dollars in contributions over the next 13 years.
Donations will be administered and projects monitored by a state bank, the National Economic and Social Development Banks (BNDES).
The fund will also finance conservation and durable development projects proposed by the environment ministry, officials said.
The limit for contributions in the first year has been set at one billion dollars.
Norway will be the first donor to step up, pledging 100 million dollars in September, Environment Minister Carlos Minc said.
BNDES environment director Eduardo de Mello told reporters donors would not receive any benefits in return for their contributions such as tax exemptions or carbon credits.
"Donations are voluntary and donors have no say over the use of the resources," he said.
That comment reflected Brazil's stance that it is best-placed to manage conservation of the Amazon, despite criticism from some environmental groups that its efforts are falling short and foreign involvement might help.
De Mello added that other countries, companies and banks have shown interest in the fund.
Up to 20 percent of the fund's cash can go to preserving Brazilian ecosystems outside the Amazon, and even in other tropical countries.
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