The Bolsonaro government estimates, according to interlocutors, that the increase in resources for environmental inspection – announced this Thursday (22) by the Brazilian president at the climate summit – will be around 115 million reais. The funds are to be used, among other things, to finance the use of the National Force in actions to fight deforestation – a proposal criticized by environmentalists.
The Minister of the Environment, Ricardo Salles, affirmed that the budgetary supplement will partly serve to make viable the actions of the National Force. The company is formed by state military police officers and is currently commanded by Antônio Aginaldo de Oliveira, husband of the deputy of the Bolsonarista Carla Zambelli (PSL-SP), who, in turn, chairs the Commission of the room environment.
Speaking at a press conference after President Jair Bolsonaro’s participation in the Climate Summit, Salles said it was not yet possible to determine the amount of the contribution to the current budget.
“Either way, the president will double the resource. It is important because he supports this payment that I mentioned earlier, the National Force teams – which can increase considerably – and because ‘they add to what they already have teams and logistics from Ibama, ICMBio and the federal police, “he said.” Having the logistical support of the armed forces in the Amazon is very important.”
According to Salles, to increase the volume of environmental teams and battalions with the National Force “you have to have additional resources, because in addition to the daily rates and the payment of logistics, you have very high travel costs”. Part of the resource is providing this action, ”he added.
The minister said it is still not possible to reveal the values due to negotiations between the executive and Congress on the budget. The Planalto has until Thursday to publish the sanction to the finance law. The inspection and prevention actions against deforestation and fires contained in the 2021 budget approved by Congress amount to 152.4 million reais.
However, an increase of 115 million reais, as planned by the government, is not enough to restore the level of funds intended for environmental inspection of previous years. In 2020, around 580 million reais were foreseen, including Operation Verde Brasil, which authorized the use of the armed forces for the guarantee of public order (GLO). In 2019, the amount was around 508 million reais, mainly due to the money collected by Operation Lava-Jato that was intended for the region. The 2021 forecasts promised by the government would therefore only exceed the 2016 to 2018 average of 200 million reais.
The use of the National Force for enforcement measures is criticized by environmentalists. For Marcio Astrini, executive secretary of the Climate Observatory, Salles’ objective is “to have a sort of official militia to order the inspection in Brazil”. “The country already has an environmental security force called Ibama. [Salles] he doesn’t like Ibama because he can’t intervene, ”he adds.
Even within the government, the idea of Salles met with resistance. On Thursday, MP Hamilton Mourão (PRTB), who heads the Amazon Council, said the proposal is complicated and it is easier to act in other ways. “It is not that simple. The National Force is made up of police officers from the states which are giving in, that is to say they are losing their troops. It is therefore not so easy to put it back on its feet.”
The pledge to double the funds available for environmental monitoring was made by Bolsonaro at the international event hosted by US President Joe Biden. “Command and control measures are part of the response. Despite the government’s budgetary limits, I have determined the strengthening of environmental agencies, by doubling the resources allocated to inspection actions,” he said.
The Brazilian leader also appealed to receive international contributions, in line with what Salles defends. Given the scale of the obstacles, including financial ones, it is essential to be able to count on the contribution of countries, companies, entities and individuals willing to act immediately, real and constructively to resolve these problems. “, He spoke.