Brazil’s environment minister has sought $1bn in foreign aid to help reduce deforestation in the Amazon between 30% and 40%.

In an interview published on Saturday in the O Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper, the minister Ricardo Salles said “the plan is $1bn over 12 months”.

“If those resources were available to be used in that way [to fight deforestation], we can commit to a reduction of between 30% and 40% in 12 months.”

The US and Norway have been approached for funding.

Alternative opportunities

Brazil has been widely criticised for its reluctance to curb deforestation in the world’s largest rainforest.

The minister said that a third of the money would be used to fund actions to combat deforestation directly, while the remaining would be used for economic development.

The funding is hoped to give people who have benefited from the rainforest alternative opportunities.

The military would remain in charge, as it is cheaper to pay their daily rates than to hire full-time staffers at the environmental agency Ibama, Salles said.

The agency has also suffered budget cuts under president Jair Bolsonaro.

“If we don’t get the money, we will do the best we can with our resources, but I cannot commit to a specific percentage of [deforestation] reduction,” Salles said.