From what is stipulated by the Forest Law No. 26,331, only 6.5% will be allocated for the protection of all the forests of Argentina. Article 16 of the "Draft Law on the General Budget of the National Administration for the Fiscal Year 2018" details the allocation of 556 million pesos to the National Fund for the Enrichment and Conservation of Native Forests, by virtue of what is established by Law No. 26,331.
But what does the Forest Law say?
Forests concentrate more than half of the planet's terrestrial biodiversity. At the same time, they function as a reservoir for carbon dioxide (one of the main gases that cause the greenhouse effect), to the point that nearly 20% of global emissions of these gases come from deforestation and the degradation of forests. In turn, they provide nearby populations with sources of protein, medicinal plants, building materials and fuel directly. And, indirectly, they contribute to the conservation of water sources, flood prevention and protection for soils.
In its article 31, the Law of Forests stipulates that the National Fund for the Enrichment and Conservation of Native Forests will be made up of budget items that may not be less than 0.3% of the national budget. That 0.3% for 2018 should be 8,700 million pesos, a figure much higher than the 560 million stipulated in the project presented by Dujovne. The Fund should also receive 2% of the total withholdings on exports of primary and secondary products from agriculture, livestock and forestry, corresponding to the previous year of the year under consideration.
But the Argentine government eliminated the withholdings on Mining and partially on Agriculture, and issued an external debt for more than 27,000 million dollars, once again leaving the native forests with little financial resources.
Fundación Vida Silvestre expressed concern about the situation
"The only thing we are asking for is that Law 26,331 on Minimum Budgets for the Environmental Protection of Native Forests be complied with. Without the adequate financial stimulus provided by the Forests Law, the provinces are unable to properly strengthen their capacity to supervision, control and surveillance. On the other hand, the owners of areas with native forests do not receive incentives to develop sustainable use or compensation for the areas that should be used exclusively for conservation. While the government of the day ignores the request of society, the deforestation continues, forests, biodiversity, environmental services and opportunities for real sustainable development are lost ”, explains Manuel Jaramillo, General Director of Fundación Vida Silvestre Argentina.
Argentina has about 50 million hectares of native forests, declared by the sum of the Argentine provinces in their land use laws, it is unthinkable that with the budget assigned by the project presented in Congress, the forests could be cared for at a rate of 10 pesos per hectare per year.
Since its implementation, the Forest Law could never have its full budget, and received less than 10% of the budget that would correspond to them.
"Between 2010 and 2017 the forests received 2,481 million pesos instead of the 27,440 million that corresponded to them. Just 9% of what is stipulated by law. The 2018 Budget project continues with this trend, allocating only 6.58 of the 8,700 million of pesos that would correspond to it.While the General Budget Bill of the National Administration for the 2018 fiscal year is being discussed, it is essential that the claim for our forests be heard and that they can count on the budget that the law stipulates for the first time The advantage of this bill is that in its article 53 it creates the Trust Fund for the environmental protection of native forests that should contribute to the agility of implementation of the scarce funds assigned, "says Jaramillo.
"The National Government has the responsibility of implementing the Forest Law and allocating the total of the legally foreseen fund, thus giving a clear signal to Argentine society of the importance that the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity should have as a State policy. ecosystem services for the well-being of present and future generations ", concludes Jaramillo.