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Dilma's partial veto not enough to protect Brazil's forests

27 May 2012

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff has neither fully approved nor completely vetoed the bill attempting to weaken the country's forest protection. Despite massive national and international social mobilisation in favour of a full veto, the president opted to reject 12 of 84 articles in the bill. This attempt to break up elements of an already complicated piece of legislation will make the revised Forest Code extraordinarily difficult to implement - and Brazil's forests may well suffer as a result.

President Rousseff's unfortunate decision comes just weeks before Brazil hosts the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20.

It means she's sent a very unclear message about Brazil’s commitment to environmental protection, which will make it difficult for her to speak credibly about sustainable development when heads of state gather in Rio.

The changes to the Forest Code legislation have been backed by powerful agribusiness interests, but loudly condemned by Brazilian society and social and environmental organisations worldwide.

WWF director general Jim Leape says: “For the last decade, Brazil has been on a path of economic and environmental progress. President Rousseff’s statement creates an uncertain future for Brazilian forests, considering that Congress could still cut forest protections even further.”

We'll have more reaction and proposals for next steps soon...

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