Despite its critical role in protecting the Amazon rainforest, Brazil will not endorse a global anti-deforestation initiative being announced at the U.N. climate summit, complaining it was left out of the consultation process. A U.N. official disputed that claim.
Brazilian Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira said Brazil was "not invited to be engaged in the preparation process" of the declaration. Instead, she said Brazil was given a copy of the text and asked to endorse it without being allowed to suggest any changes.
"Unfortunately, we were not consulted. But I think that it's impossible to think that you can have a global forest initiative without Brazil on board. It doesn't make sense," Teixeira said in an interview Monday with The Associated Press.
Charles McNeill, a senior environmental policy adviser with the U.N. Development Program, said "there were efforts to reach out to Brazilian government people but there wasn't a response."
"There was no desire to exclude Brazil," said McNeill. "They are the most important country in this area. An effort that involves Brazil is much more powerful and impactful than one that doesn't."
The forest declaration has not been publicly released but it is expected to be endorsed by many countries, corporations and major environmental groups, as one of the centerpieces of Tuesday's U.N. climate summit.