The minister said Brazil has achieved impressive results in the Amazon the last decade.
"In total, the reduced deforestation equates to about 5 billion tons of CO2 not being emitted into the atmosphere. This is in comparison almost 100 times more than Norway's annual emissions," said Elvestuen. Norway has paid for about 220 million tons of this.
Annual deforestation i Brazilian Amazon is now about 60% lower than it was in det decade before the country implemented major forest reforms and the partnership with Norway was established.
"The reductions in deforestation since 2005 have been among the world's most important climate and environmental measures in the last decade," said Elvestuen.
In the forest years 2015 and 2016, (a forest year stretches from august to july) deforestation increased somewhat compared with the record low years between 2011 and 2014. This triggered concern that a negative and upward trend was developing. The fact that deforestation numbers are now falling again is therefore very positive, said the minister.
"The previous two-year increases in deforestation gave cause for concern and a lot of work still remains to be done. But these figures show that the Brazilian government has responded well by implementing countermeasures. Also Norway's support through the Amazon fund, has had a positive effect," said Ola Elvestuen.
The decline in deforestation in 2017 occurred despite a turbulent political situation in Brazil and high prices of commodities contributing to deforestation. According to the leader of Brazil's environmental policy Ibama, an important reason for the reduction in deforestation is that the organization has received funding from Norway through the Amazon Fund. This has enabled greater efforts to intervene against extensive illegal deforestation by, among other things, gold diggers and unlawful property developers.
"Environmental crime is a global problem, and a central cause of deforestation and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions globally. In this sense Norway has contributed directly to combating environmental crime and reduced deforestation, which is very positive," said minister Ola Elvestuen. "In the future, we will further strengthen this work, both in our cooperation with Brazil, in partnership with other countries, and through global initiatives."