The European Union has thrown its weight behind a plan to protect the Amazon rainforest, pledging to coordinate financial contributions from EU members and, crucially, ensure the money is spent as intended.
Team Europe, which includes EU members states and institutions such as the European Investment Bank, will coordinate 260 million euros ($277 million) already pledged by Spain, Italy, Sweden, France, Germany and the Netherlands to curb deforestation in the Amazon.
On top of that, the EU will add an undisclosed amount to protect the forest from logging. It will come from the EU's Global Gateway plan of investment in Latin America, where Amazon rainforest protection is one of the flagship projects.
Under the Global Gateway project, the EU pledged in July to invest 45 billion euros ($48 billion) in Latin America by 2027, and ministers are looking to ensure the money is delivered and spent as intended as, in the past, the European Commission has been criticized for pledging large amounts of money to developing regions without any mechanisms to verify that the money was actually disbursed.
More than half of global destruction of old-growth tropical rainforests has taken place in the Amazon and bordering forests since 2002. Rainforests, in particular the Amazon, absorb vast amounts of carbon dioxide and are key in shaping the Earth's climate, making them vital to address climate change.