NUSA DUA, Indonesia--The world's three largest rainforest nations Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo and Indonesia on Monday formally launched a partnership to cooperate on forest preservation after a decade of on-off talks on a trilateral alliance.
Reuters reported in August that Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, elected as Brazil's president at the end of October, would seek a partnership with the two other leading rainforest nations to pressure the rich world to finance forest conservation.
The rapid destruction of rainforests, which through their dense vegetation serve as carbon sinks, releases planet-warming carbon dioxide, imperiling global climate targets. Regrowing previously deforested jungle has the benefit of removing greenhouse gas already in the atmosphere.
Representatives of the three countries, which represent 52% of the world's tropical rainforest, signed the joint statement at the talks in Indonesia ahead of the G20, or Group of 20 industrialised nations, which begins on Tuesday.
"South-to-south cooperation - Brazil, Indonesia, DRC - is very natural," the Democratic Republic of Congo's Environment Minister Eve Bazaiba said prior to the signing. "We have the same challenges, the same opportunity to be the solution to climate change."
In the agreement, the alliance said that countries should be paid for reducing deforestation and maintaining forests as carbon sinks. The countries will also work to negotiate "a new sustainable funding mechanism" to help developing countries preserve their biodiversity, as well as to increase funding through the United Nations' REDD+ programme for reducing deforestation.
The G20 talks coincide with the second and final week of the COP27 United Nations climate summit in Egypt, where Lula's environmental adviser Izabella Teixeira said Brazil would seek to get the involvement of other countries in the Amazon basin, which spans nine nations. "Forests matters, nature matters. And I do believe that without Amazon protection, we cannot have climate security," said Teixeira, who was environment minister under Lula during his previous term as president that ended in 2010. "I believe that Brazil should promote that other countries should come together."
Talks on the alliance to protect rainforest until now had foundered due to "institutional difficulties," Teixeira said.
The joint statement cited a meeting of the three countries at last year's climate summit in Glasgow that injected momentum into the talks. They have reached fruition in the final weeks of the right-wing presidency of Jair Bolsonaro before Lula takes office Jan. 1.