WWF-Brazil statement on Amazon forest fires

Posted on 22 August 2019

The number of forest fires grew by 70% this year (until 18 August, 2019) compared to the same period of time in 2018.

The priority of the public authorities is to look after the public interests of their country, not to create sterile divergences with no basis in reality.
For this reason, WWF-Brazil disapproves of President Jair Bolsonaro's new attempt to distort the legitimate debate of civil society about the need to protect the Amazon and, consequently, to combat the deforestation that is causing the out-of-proportion fires that ravage the country and are compromising the air quality in many regions.
His statement that NGOs could be behind the fires because of a supposed cut in financial resources is not supported by data. Survey of the Institute of Applied Economic Research (Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada - Ipea) analyzed the transfer of federal funds to civil society organizations (CSOs) between 2010 and 2018 and found that only 2.7% of civil society organizations (CSOs) receive federal funds. Of this total, only 5% went to the northern region (5%). The study also points to a downward trend in the number of federal transfers since 2010.
The money blocked by the government was the international donation to the Amazon Fund and these resources subsidized firefighting actions, among other things. Therefore, what the alleged cut-off in resource transfers has caused is a reduction in the state's ability to combat deforestation and the fires they cause.
The number of forest fires grew by 70% this year (until 18 August, 2019) compared to the same period of time in 2018. In all, Brazil recorded 66,900 spots of forest fires, according to the Nacional Institute of Space Research (Instituto National Pesquisas Espaciais - INPE).
Also according to INPE, the most affected biome is the Amazon, with 51.9% of cases. Historically, in this region, the use of fire is directly linked to deforestation because setting the forest on fire is one of the techniques of deforestation. According to Amazon Environmental Institute of Research (Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazônia – IPAM), the 10 sites in the Amazon with more forest fires are the same ones with more deforestation.