Brazil is the world's largest tropical forest country and one of the most important partner countries for the Norwegian climate and forest project. Around 30 per cent of the world's remaining forests are located in Brazil. Most of Brazil's forests are a part of the enormous Amazon rainforest. More than 25 million people live in the Brazilian Amazon, and many of them are dependent on the forest for survival.

The Amazon is the world's largest rainforest. Here from Manaus in northern Brazil. (CIFOR/Neil Palmer)

Brazil and deforestation
According to the UN Panel on Climate Change, the destruction of forests in developing countries contributes to around 10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Unless these emissions are reduced, it will be impossible to reach the target of a maximum temperature increase of less than two degrees – the so-called two degree target. In Brazil, deforestation is responsible for the major portion of the country's combined emissions of greenhouse gases.

At the climate summit in Copenhagen in 2009, Brazil launched targets for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. Brazil's climate target is an 80 per cent reduction of deforestation in its Amazon region by 2020. Brazil has reduced deforestation by almost 75 per cent (forest year 2014) compared to the average annual deforestation rate in the period 1996-2005.

Avskogingstall 2014

Rainforest cooperation with Brazil
In 2008 Norway and Brazil signed aLetter of intent, also called MoU, for the climate and forest project. Norway pledged to contribute up to 1 billion US$ to the Amazon Fund in Brazil until 2015, if Brazil could show that deforestation in the Amazon went down.

From forest year 2008 (August 2007-July 2008) to forest year 2014 (Aug 2013-July 2014), Brazil reduced deforestation in the Amazon by around 60 percent. By the end of 2015 Norway fulfilled its 2008-commitment to contribute one billion USD to the Brazilian Amazon Fund in recognition of Brazil's massive reductions of deforestation in its Amazon region.

During the climate summit in Paris on November 30th 2015 the Governments of Brazil and Norway announced that they will continue the fight against deforestation in Brazil through the extension of their climate and forest partnership until 2020. The results-based partnership will be based on the further increasing ambition on reducing deforestation and forest degradation in line with Brazil's stated goals.

How is the money being spent?

  • Norway's payments to Brazil for reduced emissions from deforestation are transferred to the Amazon Fund, launched by Brazil in 2008, according to the Brazilian Decree nr. 6.527 of 1st August 2008 (only in Portuguese).    
  • The payments are made based on the methodology of the Amazon Fund while recognizing since 2014 Brazil's Forest Emission Reference Level submitted and assessed under the UNFCCC.  The certificates for every payment made from Norway to Brazil can be found here.
  • The Amazon Fund is administered by the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES). A board of directors has been established for the Amazon Fund, consisting of representatives for state authorities in the Amazon, various ministries, BNDES and civil society.

See Brazil's own video about the Amazon Fund:


The Amazon Fund is open for contributions from countries, private individuals and businesses.

Norway was the first contributor to the Amazon Fund, and has contributed USD 1 billion to the Amazon Fund in the period 2008-2015, based on the results delivered by Brazil.  

Norway's contract with the Brazilian Development Bank BNDES, which administers the Amazon Fund, was signed in 2009.

The Amazon Fund projects
All the projects supported by the Amazon Fund are a part of Brazil's general plan to reduce deforestation, while also promoting sustainable development in the Amazon region. A total of 88 projects worth 614 million USD had been approved by April 2017. 

The projects have broad scope. They can range from supporting indigenous peoples to continue to take care of the forest, land planning at the municipal and state level, sustainable and more efficient agricultural practices, improved fire protection, enforcement of legislation, knowledge and technological development, etc.

Several projects also concern property registration/surveying with assessment of environmental status. Improvements in this area will be a precondition to maintaining control of who is actually responsible for deforestation at the local level.

The Amazon Fund has entered into agreements with governmental institutions in Brazil, universities and research institutions and NGOs. In addition, the Amazon Fund approved its first international project at the end of 2013 under the auspices of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization.

See video of the Bolsa Floresta project, one of the projects receiving support from the Amazon Fund:

Brazil has achieved very good results. Reduced deforestation in the Amazon is probably the greatest individual climate measure the world has seen in recent years. Reductions in 2010 were estimated at almost 1 billion tons of CO2 by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Norwegian support is given according to the following guidelines:

a)    Incentive structure for reduced deforestation: Deforestation in the Amazon is measured annually. The result for a given year (previous year) is compared with the average deforestation over a ten-year period. This period is called the reference level. When calculating support from Norway, we use so-called conservative figures for the carbon content of the forest to be certain that one does not pay for more carbon than what is saved due to reduced deforestation. For Brazil we calculate 132.2 tons of carbon per hectare of forest, and we calculate USD 5 per ton of reduced emissions.

b)    The Norwegian contribution: Brazil's annual emission reductions through reduced deforestation in recent years have been huge. Norway pays only for a certain percentage of the emission reductions.  

c)     Use of paid funds. The Amazon Fund is administered by the Brazilian Development Bank, BNDES. The central government, local authorities and civil society may apply for funds for reduced deforestation and sustainable development within seven project areas: 

  • Management of public forest areas and protected areas;
  • Environmental surveillance and control mechanisms, enforcement of environmental legislation;
  • Sustainable forestry management;
  • Financial activities based on sustainable use of the forest
  • Economic-ecological zoning and land planning
  • Preservation and sustainable use of biological diversity
  • Restoration of deforested areas.

How has Brazil managed to reduce deforestation?

  • Brazil has laid down a plan of action to combat deforestation from 2004
  • Stricter enforcement of environmental legislation using real time monitoring of forest areas, greater presence of “environmental police” and taking action against illegal logging
  • Lenders must prove that the earth they are farming has not been illegally logged
  • More and larger areas are protected
  • Municipalities with the highest deforestation rates are blacklisted
  • The largest soya producers have imposed a moratorium on newly deforested land
  • The largest meat producers have started to require environmental licences from their suppliers
  •  Reduced raw material prices has led to less pressure on the rainforest
  • Active and influential NGOs have contributed to putting reduced deforestation on the political agenda
  • The Norwegian contribution has helped strengthen those working to reduce deforestation in Brazil. Read more about Norwegian support here

How does Brazil measure deforestation?

Brazil has developed one of the world's most advanced satellite systems for monitoring rainforest. The system has two components:

  • DETER – which provides an overview of deforestation every two weeks. This system is used as an alarm system to detect logging in real time, and provides opportunities to take action against illegal logging. DETER only detects logging of areas larger than 25 hectares (0.25 km2).
  • PRODES – which detects logging areas as small as 6.5 hectares (0.065 km2), but which requires far more time for analysis and interpretation. PRODES is used to produce annual overviews of deforestation.

All data from Brazil's forest monitoring systems are available at the website of Brazil's National Institute of Space Research, INPE.

Deforestation in Brazil and payment from Norway  

The Norwegian contributions are adjusted once Brazil's annual deforestation figures are presented and confirmed. A deforestation year is calculated from August to July the following year. The figures are presented in November/December and confirmed in April the following year. Deforestation in Brazil's part of the Amazon has declined since the Amazon Fund was established. For the 2014 forest year (August 13 until July 14) deforestation was 5,012 km2. The preliminary figure for forest year 2015 (1st August 2014 to 31th July 2015) is 5.831km2. These figures will be verified later this year.

Norway's result payments to Brazil (based on Brazil's reduced emissions from deforestation) 

Forest year

Payment year

Norwegian contribution (NOK millions)

2006 and 2007
























Norway's combined contributions to the Amazon Fund are now at NOK 6.49 billion.

In line with the principle of paying for verified results, the annual Norwegian contribution to the Amazon Fund is determined on the basis of the results Brazil achieved the previous year, meaning the reduced deforestation. According to a pledge in 2008 from the then Prime Minister Stoltenberg, Norway committed to pay up to USD 1 billion in the period up to 2015, if deforestation results should indicate this. 

The deforestation figures for the 2014 forest year indicates a reduction in deforestation of almost 75 per cent compared to the Amazon Fund's original reference level (average deforestation 1996-2005, 19,559 km2).

The current reference level is the average deforestation in 2001-2010). 

Forest and carbon facts in Brazil
Forest area: The total forest area in Brazil is 5.2 million km². Our cooperation with Brazil focuses on the Amazon rainforest, which comprises approximately 4 million km² (somewhat less than have of Europe's land area).

Carbon storage: The carbon storage in Brazil's Amazon region was estimated at 51 gigatons (resulting in 187 billion tons of CO2 in the event of deforestation) in 2006. 

Reduced deforestation: A record low 5012 km² in the 2014 forest year entails a reduction of almost 75% from record high deforestation, 27,772 km², in the 2004 forest year.

Sources: FAO and Brazil's National Institute of Space Research (INPE)

Facts on the Amazon Fund 

  • The Amazon Fund was launched in 2008 by Brazilian authorities. Administered by the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES).
  • Can accept contributions from countries individuals and businesses.
  • Incentive-based fund where contributions may only be received in line with the reductions in deforestation achieved by Brazil. This creates an economic incentive to reduce deforestation.
  • Norway was the first contributor to the Amazon Fund and may contribute a total of USD 1 billion by the end of 2015 if Brazil succeeds in reducing deforestation.
  • Germany (KfW) signed a contract for a contribution of EUR 21 million in Cancun in December 2010. Brazilian oil company Petrobras has so far contributed 7.93 million reais (approx. NOK 21 million). 
  • There is an updated overview of the Amazon Funds projects at

Facts about the Amazon rainforest

  • The world's largest rainforest.
  • 60% of it lies in Brazil.
  • Brazil is the world's largest forest country with 30% of the world's remaining rainforest.
  • More than 25 million people live in the Brazilian Amazon, and many live from it. Brazil's rainforests also contain a large proportion of the world's biological diversity, including 40,000 plants and more than 5,000 mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian and fish species


The Brazil-Norway Agreement with Performance-Based Payments for Forest Conservation: Successes, Challenges, and Lessons.  By Nancy Birdsall, William Savedoff and Frances Seymour:




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