'Brazil is back' Lula tells COP27 as he vows to end deforestation in the Amazon

'Brazil is back' Lula tells COP27 as he vows to end deforestation in the Amazon

Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva received a warm welcome at COP27 today.

Hundreds of people gathered to see him arrive at a side event early on Wednesday with crowds chanting his name.

Later in the day, he addressed a packed room at the UN climate conference.

Lula said that "Brazil is once again ready to join efforts to build a healthier planet," referencing the recent election as "one of the most decisive in history".

AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty
Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, arrives to speak to a packed room at COP27. - AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty

"The survival of the Amazon also depended on the election. Civilisation and values are back. The respect and human rights are back," he added.

Lula criticised world leaders for ignoring warnings about climate change and spending "trillions of dollars" on war "that only result in destruction and death."

Lula's pledge to end deforestation in the Amazon rainforest

After his election victory, Lula pledged to reduce deforestation in the Amazon to zero. He once again brought up this pledge at COP27.

"There is no climate security for the world without a protected Amazon," he said adding that Brazil will "do whatever it takes to have zero deforestation and degradation of our biomes."

Brazil will "do whatever it takes to have zero deforestation and degradation of our biomes."

He announced that the fight against climate change will have the highest priority in his government - particularly the fight against deforestation.

Lula claimed that environmental crime had grown in a "scary way" under the previous government and said he would strengthen bodies to punish illegal activities including gold mining, logging and farming.

The President-elect also announced that Brazil would set up a ministry for Indigenous people so that those affected most by these issues would "have a voice of their own."

What else did Lula say at COP27?

Lula made two proposals during his speech at COP27. The first was that Amazon countries come together to look at the development of the region in an integrated way.

He is seeking a world alliance for food security and the reduction of inequality. First on the list are countries like Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo which, together with Brazil, have more than half of the world's primary tropical forests.

The other was for COP30 in 2025 to be hosted in Brazil - particularly the Amazon region. He hopes that this would help people to really understand the importance of this part of the world.

When Brazil chairs the G20 meeting in 2024, climate will be top of the agenda. Promises of $100 billion in climate finance also came under scrutiny with Lula saying wealthy nations must deliver on their pledges from COP15 in Copenhagen.

Touching on another hot topic at this year's UN climate conference, he called for progress on a fund for loss and damage saying that "we cannot postpone this debate...it is time to act."