By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Less than fifteen days after announcing that it wanted to host the United Nation’s 25th Climate Conference, to be held in 2019, Brazil’s Foreign Service Ministry (better known as Itamaraty) released a statement that it was backing down from the candidacy.
“In view of the current fiscal and budgetary constraints, which are expected to remain in the near future, and the transition process for the newly elected administration, to start on January 1st, 2019, the Brazilian government was forced to withdraw its candidacy to host COP 25,” says the Itamaraty note.
At the beginning of November the Ministry of Environment had announced that the candidacy confirmed Brazil’s leading role in sustainable development issues, especially in relation to climate change, and ‘reflected the consensus of Brazilian society on the importance and urgency of actions that contribute in combating climate change’.
“Brazil is strongly committed to sustainability and the cause of climate change and has a strong tradition of hosting major international events related to the environment and sustainable development,” said Environment Minister Jose Sarney Filho at the time.
The Environment Ministry did not comment on the announcement of withdrawal made by the country’s foreign service.
One of the country’s most important environmental NGOs, Observatorio do Clima, criticized the latest decision, “Brazil is thus abdicating its role in the world in one of the few areas where, more than relevant, the country is needed. Ironically, this is by ideology, something the president-elect and his chancellor promised to ‘extirpate’ from the public administration.”
“With the abandonment of international leadership in this area, lost are also opportunities for business, investment and job creation,” continued the NGO.
“By ignoring the climate agenda, the federal government also fails to protect the population, hit by a growing number of extreme weather events. These, unfortunately, do not cease to occur just because some doubt their causes,” said the note on OC’s website, criticizing some of the members of the new Bolsonaro Administration.
Nominated to be the new Foreign Service Minister, Ernesto Araujo, has stated that he believes that the entire climate change issue is a ‘Marxist plot’.
Brazil hosted Rio-92, also known as the Earth Summit, which served as a launching pad for the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Twenty years later, the country also hosted the UN’s Rio+20 Summit. Both summits were held in Rio de Janeiro and brought together world leaders, civil society and NGOs to discuss climate and environmental issues.