Christian Science Monitor’s Sara Miller Llana wrote a three-part series on Brazil’s growing influence in the developing world.
The series begins with an Editorial on how President Lula’s experience could serve as an example to President-elect Barack Obama and commonalities between both leaders.The editorial ends by stating that “Like da Silva and Obama, the US and Brazil have too much in common not to share regional and global leadership.”
The second article is on South-South cooperation on Agriculture. Embrapa is on the forefront of agricultural science, turning the cerrado into a fertile grain exporting region, with techniques such as “no-till planting”, lime to diminish acidity and the development of tropical varieties of soybean. EMBRAPa now exports this know-how to Africa and other Latin American countries under the header of “South-South cooperation”.
One downside of new agricultural technologies is the incentive it creates for increased agricultural production and the deforestation required for new agricultural frontiers. The third article tells us that:
In an attempt to counteract this deleterious effect on the environment the state of Amazonas has begun experimenting with a REDD program – which stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation and is based on the type of international carbon-trading model in which rich countries compensate developing countries for not destroying their forests.
The Amazonas Sustainable Foundation – a private initiative with state support – is paying families 50 reais ($23) per month as long as they participate in sustainable activities. Currently, 2,000 families participate in the “Bolsa Floresta” program and the goal is to expand it to the 10,000 families estimated to live in the state’s protected areas. But as the global economy slows, the funding of such programs could be at risk.
“When people talk about the Amazon they always talk about trees but not the people living there,” says Bernhard Smid, the deputy secretary for international relations in the state’s Planning and Economic Development Department. That’s changing. Bolsa Floresta is part of a larger mind shift in Brazil, where even big ranchers and farmers are signing onto environmental movements as a way to secure loans and stay competitive.
For those interested in any or all of these topics we refer you to the Brazil Institute’s podcast and forthcoming publication on Brazil-US relations.