France's Macron says real 'ecocide' going on in Amazon

PARIS (Reuters) - The Amazon needs better management to end the ‘ecocide’ that is going on in the rainforest, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday ahead of a G7 summit at the weekend.

As forest fires rage in Brazil, Macron told French news website Konbini that the issue would be discussed at the meeting of world leaders this weekend in Biarritz.

“The Amazon is burning and this is an issue that concerns the entire world, because it is a source of biodiversity,” Macron said.

“We have a real ecocide that is developing everywhere in the Amazon and not only in Brazil,” he added.

Continuing a clash with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, he criticized Brazil’s management of the Amazon.

“We need to find a good governance of the Amazon. This means we need to involve NGOs and local populations much more than we do now, and we need to stop the industrial deforestation that is going on everywhere,” he said.

In a tweet on Thursday, Macron had said the fires are “an international crisis” as the Amazon forests are the lungs of the planet, producing 20% of its oxygen.

“People forget, the Brazilian president forgets, but France is in the Amazon. France’s biggest exterior border is between Guiana and Brazil, so we are there,” he added, referring to the French overseas territory on the northern coast of South America.

Macron said that at the G7 he would try to mobilize world leaders to raise financing to reforest the area as soon as possible and to develop mechanisms to prevent forest fires.

Earlier on Friday, Macron’s office said in a statement that France would oppose the EU-Mercosur farming deal between the European Union and Mercosur countries Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay because Bolsonaro was lying when he played down concerns about climate change at a G20 summit in Japan in June.

On Thursday, Bolsonaro angrily dismissed as meddling Macron’s concerns about the wildfires.

Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Hugh Lawson