LatinNews Daily - 09 May 2023

BRAZIL: Lula secures UK donation to Amazon Fund

On 5 May, Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva met UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in London, after which Sunak announced a donation of R$500m (US$99.81m) to the Amazon Fund, a mechanism focussed on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.


The diplomatic engagement with the UK over issues such as environmental protection signals the Lula government’s more general commitment to strengthening ties with western partners, such as the US, the UK, and the European Union (EU). Lula’s visit to London, to attend the coronation of King Charles III on 6 May, offered a further chance for a diplomatic reset, especially given Lula’s recent rhetoric which had suggested closer alignment with Russia, a major source of concern for the US and European allies which support Ukraine in its efforts to repel the ongoing Russian invasion. It suggests that Lula is seeking to regain the favour of Ukraine’s western allies by appealing to mutual interests such as trade and efforts to tackle the climate crisis.

  • Climate diplomacy and environmental protection can still be a key area where Lula can push for Brazil’s prominence on the world stage, as many western leaders have welcomed his government’s efforts tackle deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.
  • Suspended during the presidency of Lula’s right-wing predecessor Jair Bolsonaro (2019-2023), the Amazon Fund is mainly backed by the US and European countries, having been set up originally by Norway and Germany. The UK’s contribution will add to the commitment from the US, announced on 20 April, to invest US$500m. Spain and France are also considering donations.   
  • Improving the prospects for deeper economic cooperation with the UK and western allies was another objective for Lula on this trip. Speaking to journalists after the coronation, Lula stated his intention to increase the Brazil-UK bilateral trade balance to US$8.6bn, up from the current balance of around US$6bn.  
  • Lula is set to continue his diplomatic charm offensive, as he will meet the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, in Brasília later today (9 May), accompanied by a Dutch business delegation.   

Looking Ahead: Lula will meet Sunak again in Japan next month: Brazil has been invited as an external partner to the G7 leaders’ summit which is taking place from 19-21 May, where he can push for more climate financing and economic cooperation.

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