From business to the environment
On his third day in Brazil, His Royal Highness The Crown Prince travelled to Belém – the capital of the State of Pará and the gateway to the Amazon. The change in location also entailed a shift in focus, from business to the environment.
The State of Pará is located in northern Brazil, and most of its territory is covered by the Amazon rainforest. Almost 30 per cent of the world’s remaining rainforest is found in Brazil, and the country has taken significant steps towards reducing deforestation.
Preservation of the rainforest
The Brazilian rainforest has an enormous impact on the global climate, and the efforts to stop deforestation are critical in the battle to prevent climate change. Norway’s most important international climate measure is rainforest preservation – not least in cooperation with Brazil.
Brazil established the Amazon Fund in 2008, and donations are accepted from all sources – countries, organisations, companies and private individuals. As of today, Norway is the fund’s largest contributor, with roughly USD 1 billion in donations between 2008 and 2015. The fund provides support to projects that prevent, monitor and combat deforestation and that promote preservation and sustainable use of the rainforest. The fund’s motto “Brazil protects it. The world supports it. Everybody wins.” aptly captures the essence of the measure.
Environmental seminar at the Goeldi Museum
The collections at the Goeldi Museum in Belém are among the most important sources for research on biodiversity and anthropology in the Amazon, and the museum also cooperates with Norwegian research groups. On Wednesday, a Brazilian-Norwegian environmental seminar was held here under the auspices of the Biodiversity Research Consortium Brazil-Norway. Both Brazilian and Norwegian scientists gave presentations on biodiversity and global climate change in relation to the Amazon. Crown Prince Haakon spoke at the conclusion of the seminar, praising Brazil for its efforts to prevent deforestation and protect the biodiversity of the Amazon region:
“Brazil has delivered amazing results in reducing deforestation here in the Amazon forest. It has delivered the largest reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from reduced deforestation in tropical forests of any country in the world.
“The main lessons I draw from what Brazil and Norway are doing nationally and internationally are these: we must set ambitious goals, and we must engage in joint efforts – between countries, civil society, the scientific community and the private sector. Only then will we be able to achieve our ultimate goal: To hand this world over to the next generation in a better condition than it was handed over to us.”
Following the seminar, Crown Prince Haakon visited the zoological park and botanical garden surrounding the museum. As the Crown Prince strolled through the grounds he was given more information about the museum’s collaborative activities with Norwegian research groups. The Crown Prince planted a local variety of tree known as Pequiá in the garden. He also had a close encounter with some of the area’s special fauna - a drowsy baby sloth had no objection to being carried by a crown prince.
Later in the evening local time, representatives of the State of Pará and the Research Council of Norway signed a Memorandum of Understanding on expanded cooperation on research and education. The Crown Prince oversaw the ceremony in which the Governor of the State of Pará, Mr Simão Jatene and Norway’s Ambassador to Brazil, Ms Aud Marit Wiig, were among those signing the agreement. Governor Jatene also hosted the dinner that followed.
Concludes on Thursday
On Thursday, Crown Prince Haakon will visit Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research to learn about its work with satellite monitoring of developments in the Amazon. The Crown Prince will also take a tour of the nature reserve on Combú Island before concluding his visit to Brazil with a press conference.
Congratulations are presented today from His Majesty King Harald to His Excellency Mr Egils Levits, President of the Republic of Latvia.
World Heritage at Vega
In 2004, UNESCO inscribed the Vega Archipelago on the World Heritage List. Today His Royal Highness The Crown Prince was in attendance to open the new Vega Archipelago World Heritage Centre – Norway’s first authorised centre of its kind.