Amazon nations to tackle rainforest crime together in donor-funded new office

The $1.8 million Centre for International Police Cooperation will be built in the Brazilian Amazon city of Manaus and funded by the Norwegian-backed Amazon Fund

Brazil is moving ahead with the creation of a donor-funded new international security center in Manaus that will bring together Amazon nations in policing the rainforest, sharing intelligence and chasing criminals, a senior Brazilian police officer said.

A building has been rented and equipment is being purchased for the center that will have police representatives from the other seven countries of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO).

The Center for International Police Cooperation (CCPI), now scheduled to be up and running in the first quarter of this year, will be financed with 9 million reais ($1.8 million) from the Amazon Fund, a multinational donation effort started by Norway to help finance sustainable development in the Amazon.

The center will fight drug trafficking and the smuggling of timber, fish and exotic animals, as well as deforestation and other environmental crimes, Humberto Freire, head of the Federal Police’s Environment and Amazon department, said in an interview on Friday. Illegal gold mining on protected reservations of Indigenous peoples like the Yanomami, will also be a priority, he said.

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Uniting the Amazon countries against criminal activity in the world’s largest tropical rainforest is key to President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s effort to restore Brazil’s environmental credentials after four years of soaring deforestation under his hard-right predecessor, former President Jair Bolsonaro.

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