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Amazon soya agreement extended until year’s end

Amazon soya agreement extended until year’s end

Brasília, 31 January 2014 - A landmark moratorium on Brazilian soya that was set to end today has been, after long negotiations, renewed for one last year. The initiative prevents major traders selling soya that may be linked to deforestation in the Amazon, which has recently been increasing.

The extension of the moratorium comes just a couple of months after the Brazilian government announced a 28 per cent increase in Amazon deforestation rates. This was the first official data on Amazon deforestation to come to light since Brazil controversially changed the Forest Code in 2012. This move, backed by the country’s powerful farmers’ lobby, weakened legislation on forest conservation and land use.

Paulo Adario, Senior Forest Advisor for Greenpeace International tentatively welcomed today’s decision:

"By agreeing to extend the Soya Moratorium, traders are responding to their customers’ demands for Brazilian soya without deforestation, as well as listening to the Brazilian government and civil society. Although they have committed to keep the upcoming soya harvest free from Amazon deforestation, the challenges ahead remain enormous as long term protection is still to be secured."

The Soya Moratorium monitors 62 municipalities responsible for almost all of the soya produced in the Amazon. In this immense region, over 8 million hectares are covered by forested lands suitable for soya cultivation, and lack any official protection. The moratorium has been keeping bulldozers away from here - an area three times the size of Belgium (1).

Central to Brazil’s amended Forest Code is the Rural Environmental Registry (CAR), which is still being developed. Fast-tracking this registration of rural properties is essential for bringing further governance to the Amazon and monitoring those responsible for deforestation. The Soya Working Group (GTS) has agreed to design a mechanism to replace the moratorium once it expires. This is to be developed and tested over 2014 and will be focussed on the implementation of the Federal CAR (SiCAR).

“Deforestation on the rise again and new soya export infrastructure is in the pipeline at the heart of the Amazon, so the discussions ahead are critical. Today is the start of those negotiations. Only the talks - and the actual steps taken - over the next year will define how seriously the soya traders take their industry and clients. A new agreement must be even more robust than the current moratorium,” said Adario.

Greenpeace will continue to work to end deforestation as it strives to prevent catastrophic climate change - the two major threats to the planet’s largest remaining rainforest.

ends

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