France, NGOs pledge 100 milion euros to protect tropical forests

In this file aerial view taken on 7 June, 2022 the Manicore river is pictured, deep inside the Amazonia rainforest, Amazonas state, Brazil.AFP

France and two nonprofits will contribute to an "action plan" for preserving the world's tropical forests with an additional 100 million euros, President Emmanuel Macron said during a trip to Africa.

The French leader unveiled the new outlay at the close of the One Forest Summit in Gabon on Thursday, saying he wanted "to put natural capital at the heart of our economies."

Massive clearing of tropical forests for agriculture or timber is a growing threat worldwide, threatening to worsen climate change and destroy critical biodiversity.

"We are going to make an additional 100 million euros ($103 million) available for countries that want to accelerate their strategies for protecting these vital carbon reserves and biodiversity," Macron told the conference.

France will put up half the new funds, Macron said, with the remainder coming from the US-based nonprofit Conservation International and the Walton Foundation, created by the founders of retail giant Walmart.

He also called for a system of "biodiversity certificates" to compensate countries for keeping forests intact or restoring them, which could be exchanged between countries or the private sector.

They could be a salutary response to the "failing" markets for carbon emission credits that have allowed companies to buy credits for "greenwashing" activities that have "devalued the price of carbon", Macron said.