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France is helping to protect the Amazon
One of the organizations making a large difference in protecting the Amazon is the Agence Française de Développement (AFD). This agency is a public financial institution that operates based on policy given by the French government. Its main objective is to fight poverty and promote sustainable development. Here are five ways France is helping to protect the Amazon.

5 Ways France is Helping to Protect the Amazon

  1. Contribution through Grants: Since 2019, AFD gave 15.5 million euros in grants to Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. These grants aim to help the local population and governments increase protective measures for the environment. To make these grants possible, AFD combined efforts with other public development banks, including the Inter-American Development Bank. The Inter-American Development Bank aims to promote biodiversity in the Amazon, which is one of the AFD’s objectives as well.
  2. TerrAmaz Program: Another way that France and the AFD are protecting the Amazon is by giving money to the TerrAmaz program. This program is located at five different sites in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. TerrAmaz is working on new models of large-scale ecosystem conservation with a focus on low-carbon economic development. Additionally, TerrAmaz monitors deforestation at each local site and promotes sustainable agricultural practices to lower deforestation effects. The grant given to TerrAmaz from AFD is worth 9.5 million euros.
  3. Supporting Indigenous Tribes: The third way AFD is helping to protect the Amazon region is by supporting the local tribes that inhabit the land. AFD gave one million euros to help the Kayapo and Kapoto tribes in Brazil. Indigenous communities in the Amazon face tremendous pressure from those looking to seize and deforest the land. In response, AFD supports tribes to prevent that from happening. This project is led by Conservation International with the help of other local organizations that support the indigenous community. These organizations will help rehabilitate the land after fires, create a monitoring system for fires and introduce new sustainable agricultural activities to the tribes.
  4. Sustainable Cocoa Production: AFD, along with the French Facility for Global Environment, is giving a total of 7.5 million euros to support sustainable cocoa production. The project is focused specifically on the production of cocoa in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Conservation International has partnered with Agronomes et Vétérinaires Sans Frontières and Kaoka, an organic fair trade chocolate company. The aim of the project is to increase cocoa sales, while also preserving the biodiversity in the area. One method is to combine the farming of cocoa with tree planting.
  5. Political Pressure: The final way that France is helping to protect the Amazon is not on the ground but in the political sphere. President Emmanuel Macron of France has openly criticized the President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, over his lack of effort and action towards protecting the Amazon rainforest after the devastating forest fires. President Macron committed France to a $500 million package to save the Amazon, which includes other South American and European countries, but not Brazil. Macron would like to work with Brazil, but is determined to help save the Amazon regardless of an agreement between the two nations.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily paused some of the work that AFD has funded, it is nonetheless a major step for a big European power to support the Amazon. France and the AFD have set an example for the rest of the world through its work to protect the Amazon. Hopefully, other countries will also make saving the Amazon rainforest a priority of their efforts.

Claire Brady
Photo: Flickr

Poverty in TAAF
The French Southern and Antarctic Lands (TAAF) are an outer department of France. There are four main islands: Kerguelen, La Terre-Adélie, Saint Paul & New Amsterdam and Archipel Crozet. These islands are notably famous for their large penguin populations. There are also around 150 human inhabitants on the islands in winter, but the population grows to around 310 in the summer.

The region is used for meteorological and geophysical research, military bases and French fishing fleets. The main interest of these territories resides in their large maritime zones and economically exclusive zones. These zones allow for unlimited resource consumption, which has been going on for decades and has now led to the creation of a 3,850,000 euros program administered by the Agence française de développement (AFD) to protect local fauna, fisheries and biodiversity of these islands. The program that was adopted in 2009 converted dozens of previous fishing zones into protected marine habitats and parks.

There exists a strong correlation, however, between the consumption of resources and the reduction of poverty in TAAF. The AFD is set on changing fishing habits, to make consumption and trade more sustainable, and to ensure that overfishing doesn’t occur.

The AFD also distributes the Bpifrance Bank’s development loan program and has offered 14.4 million euros to the public sector to grow infrastructure, as well as 23.3 million dollars worth of loans to agricultural, fishing, aquaculture and individual enterprises.

Regardless of TAAF’s very low population density, the AFD has still created a solid development plan that will ensure that the environment, as well as the local economy, are both protected. The cornerstone of this project is the implementation of sustainable fishing and the AFD has worked with the local prefecture to develop a plan to do just that. The AFD has done a great job of creating a win-win scenario to reduce poverty in TAAF, as well as to ensure that the environment remains protected.

Joshua Ward

Photo: Flickr