What Macron and Lula agreed about the Amazon

What Macron and Lula agreed about the Amazon


French President Emmanuel Macron’s tour of Brazil was marked by the announcement of several initiatives focused on the so-called green economy. Since the 26th, Macron and the president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT), have had a series of agendas centered, to a large extent, on climate change and environmental preservation.

In agreements and speeches, the Global Green Deal (Global Green Deal), the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP30), and biodiversity in the Amazon were mentioned several times. By signing bilateral commitments on these issues, Lula and Macron made it clear that they share convictions on the environmental agenda.

One of the announcements that caught attention was the one that foresees the investment of approximately R$5 billion in an action plan on the bioeconomy and the protection of tropical forests. At this point, Lula and Macron committed to raising funds through a financial partnership between the French Development Agency and Brazilian public banks.

However, at the same time that the French president is touring Brazil, the European Commission proposed a review of the Common Agricultural Policy (Common Agricultural Policy – CAP), which proposes the transition of European agriculture to more sustainable agriculture.

While agricultural policies are being made more flexible in Europe, Brazilian parliamentarians and entities have questioned the French president’s proselytism. For former Agriculture Minister and Senator Tereza Cristina (PP-MS), Macron is one of the biggest defenders of what she called the “hypocrisy” of the European Union. The criticism is related to the demands imposed on European producers as opposed to the series of impositions on other countries that want to guarantee their exports to members of the USA.

Investment promises and agreements in the environmental area

During his visit to Belém (PA), Macron emphasized that the decisions taken together with Brazil are concrete. “With President Lula, we decided to launch the Belém Appeal, where, together, we will move forward in this fight and make very concrete decisions”, said Macron. Despite the declaration, the plans and actions still lack detail.

Regarding investments of R$5 billion over four years, for example, public and private entities were mentioned as responsible for the contributions. However, there was no detail on who the potential investors were.

When asked about the origin of the resources, Itamaraty informed that €280 million (around R$1.5 billion), or 28% of the promised amount, will be allocated to Brazil through BNDES.

“In response to the announcements made by presidents Macron and Lula, the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) will sign this week two agreements with BNDES (200 million euros) and Banco da Amazônia (80 million euros), which will allow new operations to be carried out to support the sustainable economy in the Amazon”, stated the Brazilian diplomacy The People’s Gazette.

The investments will also not be applied in their entirety in Brazil. “It is expected that at least 50% of the announced amount will be invested in Brazil in the coming years, with the rest being invested in the portion of the Amazon biome that is in French territory (French Guiana)”, explained Itamaraty in a press release.

Among the commitments made, Brazil and France must also seek a capital increase from the World Bank, to finance a “Global Green Deal” in the areas of energy, infrastructure and industry. O Green Deal consists of a set of measures to be adopted by countries, aimed at modifying actions that contribute to the emission of greenhouse gases and their consequences for the environment.

Furthermore, with a view to COP 30, which will be held in Brazil in 2025, Lula and Macron committed to seeking a “profound reform of the approach to carbon markets”. The topic is still in the process of creating legislation in Brazil and is treated as one of the Lula government’s priorities.

Still on the carbon market, in a note, the French Embassy mentioned the need to “release real financial flows in favor of forestry countries that are genuinely committed to becoming negative CO2 emitters”.

Review of European policy generates criticism of Macron in Brazil

Despite announcements of major investments and agreements between Brazil and France, Macron’s visit was the target of criticism. The focus on topics such as the environment and the absence of debates on the agreement between Mercosur and the European Union gained prominence, as the Frenchman has already shown himself to be a strong opponent of the proposal.

Former Minister of Agriculture and Senator Tereza Cristina (PP-MS) used social media to criticize Macron and expose the way in which the issue of agricultural production in relation to environmental issues has been treated in Europe. “From the series “Do as I say, not as I do”. The European Commission yesterday eliminated the obligation for farmers to leave at least 4% of their land fallow or preserved. This is the same EU that does not recognize the Brazilian Forest Code, which requires preservation of 20% to 80% (compared to 4% there!!!) of rural properties and wants to impose its own anti-deforestation rules on our exports”, pointed out the senator.

Recently, the European Union Commission presented a proposal to revise the Common Agricultural Policy. In this review, the European Union foresees the relaxation of environmental standards and the reduction of burdens on producers.

Meanwhile, in Brazil, pressure continues to comply with environmental requirements in agricultural production, given the possibility of barriers to the sale of products.

“Trade barriers disguised as environmental requirements – we all know this. In time: the president of France, the greatest defender of this European hypocrisy and a staunch activist against the Mercosur-EU Agreement, is in Brazil today. And, according to official news, this most important issue will simply not be on the agenda of the meeting between Macron and Lula”, highlighted the former Minister of Agriculture.

State deputy Rogério Barra (PL-PA) also criticized Macron’s position. “The European Commission eliminated the obligation for farmers to leave at least 4% of their land preserved. [Mas] Macron comes to Pará to impose our own anti-deforestation rules. These are trade barriers disguised as environmental requirements”, stated Barra on his account on X (formerly Twitter).

Focus on biodiversity raises alarm about French interests

One of the documents signed by Macron and Lula in Brazil refers to the resumption of agreements signed 16 years ago. The creation of the Franco-Brazilian Center on Amazon Biodiversity, planned in 2008, never got off the ground, but has now been highlighted within the R$5 billion investment program announced by the presidents this week.

In a statement, the French Embassy highlighted that among the objectives of the relaunch are the creation of a “coalition of companies to mobilize resources and support research and development projects in the bioeconomy area”. The project would have the intention of, among other “revolutionary innovations”, carrying out “DNA sequencing of biodiversity”.

French diplomacy also highlighted that the Center on Amazon Biodiversity has the “potential to open immense opportunities for the economy, and the adaptation of agriculture to climate change, for example, to deal with water scarcity”.

For the analyst think tank Dex Initiative, Samuel Souza, there may be interests in South American minerals behind the research identified as the focus of investments. Souza highlighted that the border region between Brazil and French Guiana, where the center should be located, is an area rich in rare earths.

“France has always had a huge interest in Amapá [estado que fica na fronteira com a Guiana]. They [franceses] They are interested in the mouth of the Amazon River, in the sea for oil prospecting on the equatorial margin and with regard to biodiversity, due to the countless minerals that exist there”, explained the analyst.

On the other hand, for the sustainability consultant at BMJ Associados, Felipe Ramaldes, there is great interest in promotion actions related to biodiversity. Regarding the risks of partnerships, Ramaldes indicates caution. “For now, they are just declarations, they still need to evolve into formal agreements or be put into practice in negotiations (pre-COP30, G20 events, etc.)”, said the consultant.


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