burns now banned in Brazil


Announced to curb the spread of fires in the Amazon and try to demonstrate the responsiveness of Brazil, the temporary ban on agricultural burns came into effect Thursday, but many doubt its effectiveness.

In addition, Brazil very freshly welcomed an idea put forward by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres of a meeting on aid to the Amazon on the sidelines of the next General Assembly.

The entry into action of the Brazilian army last weekend has not had any conclusive effects: more than half of the 1,628 new fire departures recorded in 24 hours by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE ) have been in the Amazon, despite the deployment of 18 aircraft and 3,900 men.

The number of fires evolved very unequally in the nine Amazonian states, with sharp increases but also sharp declines. It was not possible to attribute these to the intervention of an army not communicating on its operations and while rains have watered some areas.

A first water bomber financed by the emergency aid of 20 million dollars decided by the G7 took off Wednesday in Paraguay to fight against the fires of the Amazon rainforest, in coordination with Chile, announced Thursday the presidency French.

Others were to take off soon, especially to Bolivia, a country also very affected by forest fires.

Pending a response from President Jair Bolsonaro, who created the day before the confusion on the willingness of Brasilia to accept or not the help of the G7, the dispatch of aircraft bombers water in Brazil was not relevant.

Police on Thursday arrested three people for burning more than 5,000 hectares in a protected area of ​​the Amazonian state of Para.

The impressive images of entire areas of the rainforest devoured by the flames caused immense emotion in the world, and put Mr. Bolsonaro under intense pressure.

Its decree suspending the use of burns throughout Brazil for two months, with some exceptions, came into effect. The burning is practiced most often to make room for the agricultural crops and the cattle breeding, big sector exporter of Brazil.

But great skepticism prevailed as to the effectiveness of this measure.

"It's hard to believe that this will have the slightest impact on the ground," Rodrigo Junqueira, an agronomist and spokesperson for the Socio-Environmental Institute, told AFP. "Whoever burns (the forest) without a license will not respect" a decree.

For Daniel Azevedo Lobo, prosecutor in Rondônia, Amazonian state of northwest Brazil, "70% of deforestation is due to the activities of criminal organizations, not isolated individuals", and "we must attack the problem at the source".

"In Rondônia, as throughout the Amazon, there are organized groups that invade the land, and it is often woodcutters who grab these lands and cut the trees in," he explains. "A lot of checks are missing in Rondônia".

– "very serious situation" –

In Japan, the Secretary-General of the United Nations has called for a "meeting dedicated to the mobilization of support" to the Amazon on the sidelines of the General Assembly, from 20 to 23 September.

"The situation in the Amazon is, clearly, very serious," said Antonio Guterres, in Yokohama for a conference on the development of Africa.

"The international community must mobilize strongly to support the Amazon countries to put an end to the fires as quickly as possible by all possible means and then carry out a comprehensive reforestation policy."

"The UN secretary-general did not talk about this affair with the Brazilian government, we did not know about it," the Foreign Ministry told AFP.

"It would be important for foreign authorities to be more familiar with Brazil's environmental policy (…) and to learn (…) about the situation in the Amazon and the measures taken to fight fires, before proposing new initiatives ".

Former Brazilian President Lula, in a BBC interview in his detention center in Curitiba (south), said Jair Bolsonaro "has no idea of ​​international relations". "He can not be taken seriously," said Lula, in prison for corruption.

– "Buy Brazilian sovereignty" –

On Wednesday, Bolsonaro fueled an already heated controversy with French President Emmanuel Macron asking for the second time in two days that the latter "withdraws his insults".

He "called me a liar and twice said that the (Brazilian) sovereignty of the Amazon should be relativised," he told reporters. "We can talk to each other when he has retracted after what he said against me."

Macron accused Bolsonaro of "lying" about his environmental commitments, and said the question of the sovereignty of the Amazon, which is home to nine countries, was open.

France has been heavily attacked by the Brazilian government, and Mr Bolsonaro called Macron "colonialist" before attacking his wife Brigitte.

Jair Bolsonaro also accused France and Germany of "buying (the) Brazilian sovereignty" over the Amazon with the G7 financial aid offer.

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