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Agriculture and Environment Ministries merger announcement concerns the Brazilian Coalition

The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture received with concern the news that the president elect, Jair Bolsonaro, and his team are considering merging the Environment and Agriculture Ministries.

According to the letter published on October 24, addressed to the candidates of the Brazilian presidential elections’ second round, the Brazilian Coalition highlights that the merger of these ministries can threaten the necessary power equilibrium that has to be respected in the context of public policies. A regulatory agency cannot be submitted to a regulated sector, as a matter of coherence and governance.

In the past few years, the Brazilian Coalition has been working with these ministries with the goal of contributing to public policies synergy and complementarity of these areas. Both agendas (environment and agriculture) are essential to guarantee the balance between environmental conservation and sustainable production and need to be equally weighted in government’s decision making.

Moreover, the Ministry of Environment’s actions go beyond agricultural and forest issues, because they also involve licensing, pollution control, the use of chemical products, water safety, among others. The strengthening of federal institutions, such as IBAMA (Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources) and ICMBio (Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation), is an essential condition to assure the government’s role in these agendas. Therefore, the environmental agenda is much broader than only agriculture’s issues.

The members of the Brazilian Coalition – representatives of agribusiness, environmental defense entities, academia, and the financial sector – are at the elected government’s disposal to present more details of the risks associated with this fusion, as well as to present the countless opportunities the country has in taking advantage of a low carbon economy. The Brazilian Coalition is a nonpartisan movement that presented 28 proposals to the main candidates of this year’s election and that continues open to contribute to the sustainable development of the country.

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