On December 3rd, 2019, the Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture sent an email to the office of the Minister of the Environment with the suggestion of a strategic agenda to implement the proposals of the movement.
The agenda was created based on converging topics between the Ministry of the Environment (MMA) and the Brazilian Coalition, identified in a hearing that occurred on October 22th, 2019, with the participation of some members of the movement and the Minister.
Since the Minister expressed interest in knowing more about the specific actions supported by the Coalition, we forwarded to his office the proposals below. This reinforced the movement’s interest in keeping a dialogue with MMA and was a way of suggesting the most urgent actions to be implemented. In addition to MMA, the proposals also regard the Ministries of Economy and Agriculture.
See the complete document below:
STRATEGIC AGENDA PROPOSED BY THE BRAZILIAN COALITION TO THE
MINISTRIES OF ENVIRONMENT, AGRICULTURE, AND ECONOMY
FOUNDATION OF THE BRAZILIAN COALITION TO HAVE A DIALOGUE WITH THE GOVERNMENT
The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture gathers more than 200 representatives of agribusiness, environmental defense entities, and academia that seek to promote the sustainable use of the land in the country. The reunion of these diverse sectors has as its foundation dialogue and collective participation around common goals. The Brazilian Coalition defends policies and economic incentives that seize Brazil’s comparative advantages and place the country as a global player of a new development model, in which agricultural production and environmental conservation move together, side by side.
Over its almost five years of existence, the Brazilian Coalition has always pursued the establishment of a bridge of dialogue with the Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary powers, focusing on a climate, forests, and agriculture policy.
The following premises guide the dialogue between the Brazilian Coalition with these powers:
• Balance of services to all sectors of society (private, third sector, and academia);
• Strengthening of participation spaces in public policies to contribute to governmental decisions;
• Opening of the Brazilian government to dialogue and transparency regarding its commitments.
Given the current crisis scenario in the Amazon, the response of the State and Brazilian society is urgent to safeguard our heritage and recover the country’s reputation with investors and the market. This response should have the reduction of deforestation and the improvement of the business environment for sustainable production as its final goal. For this reason, the Brazilian Coalition proposes an initial strategic agenda to the Brazilian government to stop deforestation, organize national territory (by land tenure legalization and Ecological-Economic Zoning), and to create the necessary incentives for the sustainable use of the land, based on the economic value of forests and bioeconomy.
The strategic agenda below is structured in four lines of action that are considered a priority at the present moment, but it does not lessen the importance of other actions proposed by the Brazilian Coalition in the documents available at the website (coalizaobr.com.br/en).
ILLEGAL DEFORESTATION AND LAND TENURE LEGALIZATION
According to data from Mapbiomas, most of the deforestation in Brazil is a result of illegal activities. The country needs to establish implementation means to meet its commitments, according to NDC’s climate goals, internationally recognized as one of the most ambitious among developing countries. It is necessary to adopt an assertive and effective attitude regarding the problem and put into practice policies and strategies that allow fighting illegality in all its dimensions.
Illegal deforestation is also associated with the complex challenges of land tenure legalization and land-use planning in Brazil. These challenges need to be addressed by aiming to consolidate a land-use model that guarantees legal security for investments, traditional communities, and biodiversity conservation.
Urgent actions to fight illegal deforestation and solve land tenure legalization:
• Support Amazon’s Task Force, created on August 22th, 2018, by the Federal Public Ministry, by allocating exclusively dedicated prosecutors, more part-time dedicated prosecutors, and expanding support staff.
• Install a task force to promote the destination of the 65 million hectares of undesignated public forests in existence in the Amazon for conservation and sustainable use.
• Suspend access to credit and support of land tenure legalization to all properties identified with illegal deforestation based on data from Mapbiomas and INPE.
• Establish a National Task Force involving Justice, the Executive and Legislative Powers and Public Prosecution to promote the resolution of land tenure conflicts, prioritizing areas of rural violence and those where grabbing of public lands and/or deforestation occur – assuring rights of indigenous territories, quilombolas, traditional communities and never legalizing occupations that happened irregularly.
• Guide human and financial resources towards guaranteeing the full implementation of the Forest Code, without proposing changes to this law, as the most efficient path to guarantee rural properties environmental regularization, which includes the validation of the Rural Environmental Registry (CAR) and the regulation and effective implementation of the Environmental Regularization Program (PRA) and Environmental Reserve Quotas (CRA).
• Eliminate the production from areas with illegal deforestation or illegal exploitation from Brazilian production chains by instituting mechanisms and procedures to establish the principle of co-responsibility with buyers and financers, and establishing a robust and transparent traceability program for the main agricultural and forestry products.
• Produce an annual report on deforestation, restoration, and reforestation of all Brazilian biomes.
• Reactivate and expand the Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Deforestation in Legal Amazon (PPCDAM) and Action and Prevention Plan of Deforestation Control in the Cerrado (PPCERRADO).
• Reactivate the Amazon Fund and expand its scope, intake, and timeliness of implementation, and use part of the resources to implement the above-mentioned measures.
ECOLOGICAL-ECONOMIC ZONING (EEZ)
One of the most important tools for the agro-environmental agenda is ecological-economic zoning (EEZ). It facilitates the identification and classification of different land use according to the land’s agricultural aptitude and productive potential, as well as highlights areas essential to conservation. Despite the existence of EEZ legislation since the ‘80s, there have only been a few situations when Brazil has used this planning and territorial management tool. As a consequence, the occupation of the territory does not follow parameters that guide an economic development of those areas compatible with their characteristics and natural potential, and that guarantee their socio-environmental safeguards.
Urgent actions to implement the Ecological-Environmental Zoning (EEZ):
• Promote a study on landscape and land-use planning in all national territory to support an EEZ proposal open to public debate;
• Implement EEZ in states that already have it in a 1:250,000 scale and conduct a task force to finalize the EEZ (in the same scale) where it is not yet available;
• Reestablish zoning for sugar-cane crops that assures the non-expansion of this cultivation over native vegetation areas and adopt similar regulation for other large-scale crops, such as soy and cotton.
RECOGNITION OF THE ECONOMIC VALUE OF FORESTS
The concept of sustainability needs to be connected to a business and economic logic, beyond socio-environmental benefits and the search for the proper inducer channels is necessary for this to occur. Systems of payment by results and carbon markets are important strategic drivers in this agenda to reach the valuation of the standing forest, restoration, and reforestation for multiple purposes.
Urgent action to value standing forest:
• Immediately implement the Brazilian Market on Emission Reduction (MBRE), considering not only the reduction in emissions but also the removal of carbon from the atmosphere – as predicted in the National Policy on Climate Change (PNMC) – and signal Brazil’s interest in participating of results-based payments and carbon markets. This would create a work agenda that stimulates synergies between the market and the valuation of forest assets;
• Foster the progress of National REDD+ Strategy, reactivating the participation of civil society and the business sector in the National Commission for REED+ (CONAREDD+);
• Support the regulation of the National Policy for Environmental Services (PSA) by the Congress that recognizes the economic value of the remaining native vegetation and induces additionality regarding the law’s parameter – guaranteeing legal security to PSA initiatives already implemented in the country;
• Regulate Article 41 of the Brazilian Forest Code, about the incentives to environmental conservation and restoration in private properties, as well as other legal dispositions to value the capture, conservation, maintenance, and increase of natural carbon fixation.
Brazil should also explore opportunities related to bioeconomy, an area that gathers all the sectors that use biological resources with a focus on sustainability and technology. To this end, there will be the need for R&D policies and economic incentives, besides regulatory frameworks that allow the productive sector to advance towards sustainable and more affordable productive systems – especially promoting a largely decentralized bio-industrialization. Brazil, in particular the Amazon, has all it needs to become a great socio-biodiversity power.
Urgent actions to stimulate the bioeconomy:
• Place Brazil in the global bioeconomy agenda, with a distinctive focus on the maintenance and restoration of our tropical forests;
• Include mechanisms that simplify and exonerate products of the bioeconomy in the proposal for tributary reform, in particular, those originating from the sustainable collection and management of forests and native vegetation;
• Invest public and private resources in Research and Development (R&D) for the use, conservation, and restoration of natural resources, and seize the great biological and biomimetic assets of Brazilian biodiversity. This would solidify the foundations of science, technology, and innovation to a strong bioeconomy;
• Support collaboration nets between the private sector and academia to speed R&D on bioeconomy and create innovative bio-industry models widely spread throughout Brazil to add value to products, processes, and biological knowledge of countless species of the Brazilian biodiversity;
• Set bioeconomy as the strategic focus of public policies, based on the regulatory framework, promotion programs, and market instruments that boost the sustainable production of products with innovative aspects of bio-industrialization.