Brazilian states seek international funding to fight deforestation

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An aerial view shows a fire in an area of the Amazon rainforest near Porto Velho, Rondonia State, Brazil, September 10, 2019. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly/File Photo

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BRASILIA, July 16 (Reuters) - Nine Brazilian states that are wholly or partially in the Amazon rainforest are negotiating with international organizations for aid to combat deforestation, circumventing the federal government, their governors said on Friday.

Flávio Dino, the leftist governor of Maranhao state who is often floated as a potential presidential candidate for elections in 2022, presented the project, known as Plano de Recuperacao Verde, or Green Renewal Plan, at a press conference in Brasilia.

Among the goals of the group is eliminating illegal deforestation by 2030, generating employment and aiding the region's transition to a greener economy.

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"The world is moving and Brazil can't stay still due to domestic political reasons. The price for the country could be very high," Dino said.

Deforestation has surged since right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro took office in January 2019, drawing international outcry from foreign governments and environmentalists. Bolsonaro has called for mining and agriculture in protected areas of the Amazon and has weakened environmental enforcement agencies.

That in turn has caused some states to more actively participate in environmental matters.

The consortium has already begun negotiating with the LEAF Coalition, a fund organized by the U.S., British and Norwegian governments to protect the rainforest. The Plano de Recuperacao Verde consortium will deliver the nine governors' deforestation reduction targets to LEAF this week, Dino said.

He added that the group plans to begin its work this year and to stop the growth of intentional forest fires and deforestation in the second half of 2021.

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Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu; Writing by Gram Slattery; Editing by Sandra Maler

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