Brazilian President issues partial veto of new Forest Code, TckTckTck partners respond

• May 29, 2012
Brazilian Rainforest

Creative Commons: Chris Diewald, 2007

 

On Friday, May 25, Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff partially vetoed a bill that would have weakened her country’s efforts to protect the Amazon and other forests.

This action came after weeks of active campaigning by several of our partners including Greenpeace, Avaaz, WWF and Vitae Civilis, among others, who mobilized more than 2 million people worldwide to pressure Dilma to veto the bill.

According to research from the Guardian,  the Forest Code threatened permanent preservation areas – a key provision in Brazilian environmental legislation – that obliged farmers to keep a proportion of their land as protected forests, particularly on the fringes of rivers and hillsides.

TckTckTck partners respond

Following the announcement, our partners at Avaaz posted the following message on Facebook:

“Public pressure has forced Dilma to ditch some of the most controversial parts of the Forest law, but she failed to silence the chainsaws and establish her climate credentials ahead of Rio+20. Today the power of two million people has shielded the Amazon from an unprecedented massacre, but the fight to protect the rainforest will continue.”

WWF were equally guarded in their communications:

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff today offered neither approval nor a full veto of the Forest Code bill approved by the Chambers of Deputies. Despite the massive national and international social mobilization in favour of a full veto, the president opted to reject 12 of 84 articles in the bill. This attempt to parse elements of an already complicated piece of legislation will make the new Forest Code extraordinarily difficult to implement.

The president’s decision comes just weeks before Brazil hosts the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20. Today’s actions send a murky message about Brazil’s commitment to environmental protection.

“For the last decade, Brazil has been on a path of economic and environmental progress. President Rousseff’s statement today creates an uncertain future for Brazilian forests, considering the Congress could still cut forest protections even further,” said Jim Leape, WWF International Director General.

The revised legislation was backed by powerful agribusiness interests, but loudly condemned by Brazilian society and social and environmental organizations worldwide. President Rousseff’s unfortunate decision will make it difficult for her to speak credibly about sustainable development when heads of state gather in Rio next month.

To find out more about continued efforts to protect the Amazon and its importance in mitigating climate change, visit Greenpeace’s action page on the Brazilian rainforest.


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