Brazilian debt exchanged for forestry protection
The US and Brazil have signed an agreement whereby US$21 million (£13.5 million) of Brazilian debt will be put into a fund for the protection of the country’s rainforest and tropical ecosystems.
The US has agreed that instead of paying back its debt, the money will be utilised to protect the Caatinga and Cerrado ecosystems and conserve the rainforest on the Atlantic coast. These three areas in Brazil are currently under threat of serious deforestation but do not receive as much attention or publicity as the Amazon region.
Izabella Teixeira, the Environment Minister of Brazil, has said the deal can be seen as a "qualitative leap" in the country’s cooperation with the USA. Brazil intends to use the money in the fund in the next five years to help support conservation and boost the livelihoods of those living in the forested areas under threat. Ms Teixeira explained that the Amazon rainforest had not been included in their plans for this fund because it is already receiving conservation funds from other sources.
This deal is not a one-off. The US has already signed similar debt swap agreements with fifteen other countries.