U.N. Chief Calls for Meeting on Amazon Fires… at End of September

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 12: Newly sworn-in Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres speaks to reporters at UN Headquarters, December 12, 2016 in New York City. Guterres will replace Ban Ki-moon of South Korea on January. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Drew Angerer/Getty

The head of the United Nations on Thursday called for a meeting of key countries late next month to tackle the Amazon forest fires, which he called a “very serious situation.”

Speaking on the sidelines of an African development conference in Yokohama, Antonio Guterres urged the international community to do more to quell the more than 83,000 fires set this year, the greatest example of which are raging in the massive Amazon basin.

“We are strongly appealing for the mobilisation of resources and we have been in contact with countries to see whether, during the high level session of the General Assembly, there could be a meeting devoted to the mobilisation of support to the Amazon,” Guterres told reporters.

World leaders are expected to gather in New York for the annual U.N. General Assembly from Sep 23 to Sep 30.

“I believe that the international community needs to be strongly mobilised to support the Amazon countries to do those things: stop the fires as quickly as possible with all means possible and then have a consistent reforestation policy,” said the UN chief.

“Until now, we have not done enough, we need to do all together more than we have done in the past,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil has decried environmentalist panic over fires sprawling across the Amazon, noting, “I would like there to be fewer fires, of course, but they are under the average of the past few years.”

AFP contributed to this story

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