Leaders from multiple South American countries will gather in Leticia, Colombia, today to discuss a common policy to protect the Amazon rainforest. Due to medical issues, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro will not be in attendance.
The international community has widely criticised Brazil’s president for his handling of the fires after he said he would refuse a $20 million pledge from the G7. Bolsonaro has framed the issue as one of Brazilian sovereignty and economic development, consistently opposing greater enforcement of environmental regulations in the Amazon in order to increase agricultural development in the region.
Brazil has softened its stance towards accepting the foreign aid, but only if it can determine how the money would be spent. However, given that a large portion of Bolsonaro’s political support enjoys international scorn, it will be difficult for the other Amazonian countries to shame Brazil into compliance with an agreed upon policy.
With Bolsonaro absent from today’s talks, there is likely to be little progress on developing a cohesive policy to deal with the growing deforestation in the Amazon. The more likely scenario is that the attending parties agree to pool resources and offer further assistance to Brasilia in fighting the current fires.
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