German Minister of Environment Svenja Schulze said in a televised interview on Saturday, August 10th, that her country will suspend Brazilian aid aimed to protect the Amazon forest as a surge in deforestation is taking place since President Jair Bolsonaro assumed office, reported AFP.
"Brazilian government policies in the Amazon raise doubts about continued, sustained declines in the rate of deforestation," Environment Minister Svenja Schulze told the television news show Tagesspiegel.
The German government plans to block a $40 million aid payment for forest conservation until the rate of deforestation declines to encouraging levels. Berlin has paid $107 million since 2008 to support biodiversity and environment in Brazil.
Germany nonetheless plans to continue supporting the Amazon Fund, a forest preservation initiative created in 2008.
Norway, which has contributed the most to the fund, said it would withdraw from the program, stating that it would cut the payments to half and also may eliminate the whole fund if deforestation continues.
Concern about the forest has grown since Bolsonaro took office in January.
Brazil is home to more than 60% of the Amazon forest which faces an increasing rate of deforestation.
The National Institute for Space Research (INPE) said this week that roughly 2,254 square kilometres (870 square miles) of the Amazon were cleared in July, a spike of 278% from a year earlier.
A week before the numbers were released, INPE chief Ricardo Galvao was fired, and Environment Minister Ricardo Salles charged that INPE data was published in a way that satisfied "sensationalist interpretations" and was aimed at getting "more donations from foreign NGOs".