POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

Lux digs deep to help curb deforestation



Luxembourg prime minister Xavier Bettel smiles as he shakes hands with chief Raoni Metuktire in Luxembourg on 20 May 2019 Emmanuel Claude/Luxembourg government

Luxembourg prime minister Xavier Bettel smiles as he shakes hands with chief Raoni Metuktire in Luxembourg on 20 May 2019 Emmanuel Claude/Luxembourg government

Luxembourg prime minister Xavier Bettel (DP) met a different kind of diplomat on Monday when he gave an audience to Brazilian indigenous leader chief Raoni Metuktire.

The leader of the Kayapo people called off in Luxembourg as part of a tour of Europe to raise awareness about the deforestation of the Amazon and try to raise €1m to protect the Xingu Indigenous Park.

It was worth the detour--the Luxembourg government pledged €100,000 to the Virgin Forest Association, made available through the climate and energy fund, which is managed by the environment ministry. The finance would serve to rebuild the perimeter of the Xingu reserve, which was created in 1961 to protect the environment and tributes of Xingu indigenous people in the area.

Where is it?

The park is located in the south of the Amazon biome and covers 2.6m hectares, spanning savannah, semi-deciduous forest and Amazon rainforest. The park was created by the Villas-Bôas brothers, whose efforts to protect the area are documented in the 2012 film “Xingu”.

During the meeting, Bettel outlined his government’s efforts in combating the climate crisis--by earmarking funds to support developing countries in the fight against climate change. He said that a fifth of funds was reserved for activities which reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries as well as conservation and sustainable management of forests.

The Amazon is the planet’s largest rainforest and largest river basin, providing a home to 10% of all known species on earth. Official data published in 2018 stressed that deforestation had reached its highest rate in a decade with Brazilian environment minister Edson Duarte blaming an upsurge in organised crime for much of the loss.