The Federal Supreme Court (STF) began to judge this Thursday (6th) a lawsuit that alleges omission by the federal government in not executing the Amazon Fund, which collects donations for projects to preserve and inspect the biome.
Created in 2008 to finance projects to reduce deforestation and oversight, the Amazon Fund has been on hold since April 2019, when the Bolsonaro government abolished the collegiate Advisory Committee (COFA) and Technical Committee (CTFA), which formed the basis of the fund.
The action was presented by opposition parties – PSB, PSOL, PT and Rede –, according to which the União is failing to provide R$ 1.5 billion, already in account, that should legally be destined to finance preservation projects in the Legal Amazon. Norway and Germany are the main donors.
An audit report prepared by the Comptroller General of the Union (CGU) pointed out, in June, that the management of the Ministry of the Environment of the Bolsonaro government jeopardized the continuity of the Amazon Fund and, therefore, a series of environmental policies, by extinguishing unilaterally, “without planning and technical foundation” collegiate that formed the basis of this financing initiative.
According to the CGU, until December of last year, the fund already had about R$ 3.2 billion stopped for allocation to new projects.
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In April this year, the Supreme Court overturned three decrees on environmental policy by the Bolsonaro government, including the one that extinguished the Organizing Committee of the Amazon Fund. The decisions were part of the so-called “green package”, which discusses socio-environmental policies adopted in the country in recent years.
In a public hearing on the lawsuit under trial, held in 2020, the then Minister of the Environment, Ricardo Salles, said that the federal government did not recreate the Guidance Council for the Amazon Fund because European donor countries rejected changes in the resource management model.
In May of last year, Salles tried to change the Fund’s rules and announced his intention to allocate the funds raised to indemnify landowners. He also claimed at the time that there were indications of irregularities in the contracts signed with NGOs, but he did not present any evidence to confirm the claim.
The rapporteur of the process is Minister Rosa Weber. At this Thursday’s session, interested parties presented their statements to the Court. The date for the continuation of the trial, for the vote of the ministers, is yet to be defined.
Miguel Filipi Pimentel Novaes, representative of the PT, argued that “so few resources have never been allocated to the bodies responsible for protecting the environment” in the budget. “The resources earmarked still largely have not been executed.”
André Brandão Henriques Maimoni, representing the PSOL, argued that there were never any irregularities in management. “Undoing the fake news, the fund actually manages a vigorous project of activities that financed it. He always had positive opinions,” he argued.
Felipe Santos Correa, for the PSB, pointed to an increase of more than 76% in deforestation in the Amazon biome. According to him, the fund was paralyzed when “the Brazilian state fails to comply with all the climate goals assumed in international agreements”.
The Attorney General of the Republic, Augusto Aras, opined for the rejection of the actions, stating that today there is a fight against deforestation, although not at the pace that the authors of the requests want. Also, that default is not configured.
“The Constitution does not impose the creation of the Amazon Fund, nor is environmental policy limited to the effective functioning of this fund,” he said. “The Union, on several occasions, has shown that there is a fight against deforestation in the Amazon region.”