Position papers
  • 15-Jan
  • 2021

The President's office has sanctioned Law No. 14,119/2021 establishing the National Policy for Payment for Environmental Services. After a long 13-year journey of the course of the matter in Congress, Brazil has a legal framework that represents a step forward for the valuation of efforts capable of driving the sustainability agenda in the country. Economic incentives such as Payment for Environmental Services (PES) are fundamental to foster agricultural production in balance with the conservation and recovery of natural resources.

The document sent by the Congress to the President’s sanction at the end of 2020 was the result of a wide process of dialog in recent years both in the Chamber of Deputies and the Federal Senate, with the participation of all sectors of society, including the Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture, movement composed of over 260 representatives of agribusiness, civil society, financial sector and academia. One of the goals of this network’s contributions is to help adopt a law capable of bringing legal certainty and a favorable environment to various public and private PES schemes in the country. This goal was achieved and the Brazilian Coalition celebrates this important advancement.

The upcoming challenges entail the vetoed sections related to key aspects to ensure transparency and incentives that will make the Federal PES Program (PFPSA, in the Portuguese acronym) provided for in the law more robust. They are:

1. Collective Body (veto in Sub-clause 8 of Article 6 and Article 15) – This excerpt, which is extremely important for PFPSA transparency control, sets out that a collective body should be created for program assessment and lists its tasks, such as: Propose priorities and criteria for applying PFPSA resources; monitor PFPSA investments compliance with PNPSA (National PES Program) objectives and guidelines, among others. It also provided for the composition of the collective body. The vetoes overthrew civil society participation and compromised transparency on the use of public resources.

2. National Register of Payment for Environmental Services (veto in Articles 13 and 16) – This section guarantees the registration of PES contracts, under the PFPSA, involving both public and private agents. The registration would ensure transparency by recording the potential areas and the respective environmental services provided, the methodologies, information on plans, programs and projects forming the PFPSA. This section also provided for the integration of data in different levels (federal, state and municipal), as well as public access to this information.

3. Incentives to PES schemes (veto in Articles 17, 18 and 19) – by vetoing these articles from the PFPSA document, not only tax benefits and tax incentives were withdrawn, but also the opportunity to promote: 1. Special interest credits for activities that recover degraded areas and restore ecosystems in priority areas for conservation, in Legal Reserve and Permanent Preservation Area and in river basins considered to be critical; 2. Technical assistance and credible incentives for sustainable management of biodiversity and other natural resources; 3. Environmental education program aimed especially at traditional populations, family farmers and rural family entrepreneurs, 4. Purchases of sustainable products associated with conservation actions and the provision of environmental services on the owned or possessed plot of land.

The Brazilian Coalition thanks and congratulates all society players, Congress and Executive Branches representatives who contributed to this great achievement, which is the National PES Policy. However, in the name of the long process of dialog that has taken place in recent years, we call on the National Congress to overthrow the vetoes, because they weaken the work that has been built by so many hands and are not aligned with the vision of a participatory and transparent public policy.

  • 22-Dec
  • 2020

Bill 5028/2019, which institutes the National Policy of Payments for Environmental Services (PES), was approved yesterday by the Chamber of Deputies. The Bill is the result of a broad process of dialogue between parliamentarians and representatives of different sectors, including the Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forestry and Agriculture, a movement composed of more than 260 representatives of agribusiness, civil society, the financial sector, and the academy.


In the last few weeks, the Bill was ruled by the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, concluding its process, and demonstrating that the matter is a priority for National Congress. For this reason, Brazilian Coalition congratulates the parliamentary leaders involved in this process: authors, rapporteurs, parliamentary fronts, deputies, and senators who voted for the approval of the Bill.


Congressional approval of the National Policy of PES is the embodiment of Brazilian Coalition vision, principle, and commitment to a low carbon agroforestry economy. At a time when the main economies of the world are looking to incorporate a green recovery, this approval is an example of Brazil's alignment with the future.


Now, the text goes on to presidential sanction, where it is expected to be sanctioned without veto, given the broad agreement formed in parliament and in society. Home to one of the largest biodiversity in the world, Brazil is one step closer to have a PES policy that matches its standards.

  • 21-Dec
  • 2020

The approval of the Bill 5028/2019, which institutes the National Policy for Payments for Environmental Services (PES), by the Federal Senate on December 16, 2020 was an important milestone in the role of Congress on the environmental agenda. The approved text also reflects a broad process of dialogue and consensus between parliamentarians and representatives from different sectors, including contributions from the Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture a movement composed of more than 260 representatives of agribusiness, civil society, the financial sector, and the academy, that were very well received by the Bill’s rapporteurs in the two Houses.


The approval of this Bill is a step forward, in that it allows the adoption of good practices is as important as the repression and punishment for illegal actions.


Among the benefits of the Bill are recognition of individual or collective initiatives that favor the maintenance, recovery, or improvement of ecosystem services, such as the protection and recovery of native vegetation and the conservation of water resources, soil, biodiversity, genetic heritage and associated traditional knowledge. In addition, the proposed national policy seeks to ensure legal security and a favorable environment for various PES initiatives, public and private, national, state or river basins, capable of attracting investments and valuing rural producers who contribute to the protection of nature, indigenous peoples, traditional communities, and family farmers. The Bill also strengthens the implementation of the Forest Code, since the PES is part of Article 41 of this legislation.


As a result of an agreement between the Parliamentary Fronts of Agriculture and Environmentalism, the Bill has all the conditions to be quickly approved on its return to the Chamber of Deputies in the last sessions of this year. However, if left to the next Parliament runs the risk of being indefinitely shelved.


Bill 5028/2019 represents an unprecedented step forward in valuing efforts capable of boosting the country's sustainability agenda and, for this reason, Brazilian Coalition expects the final approval of the text in 2020 to be one of the priorities of National Congress. It is a great chance to show the country and the world that we can establish robust policies that lead to the recovery of degraded areas and the reduction of deforestation, with development and economic well-being.

 

About Brazilian Coalition
The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture is a multi-sector movement formed with the objective of proposing actions and influencing public policies that lead to the development of a low-carbon economy, with the creation of quality jobs and the fostering of innovation, Brazil’s global competitiveness and generation and distribution of wealth to the entire society. More than 260 companies, business associations, research institutes and civil society organizations have already joined the Brazilian Coalition - coalizaobr.com.br/en

  • 15-Dec
  • 2020

Some years ago, Brazil's contribution to the world in controlling its deforestation rates, between 2004 and 2012, was considered the largest ever made by one of the parties to the Climate Convention. This prominent role has been slipping away. For this reason, the Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture, a movement composed of more than 260 representatives from agribusiness, civil society, the financial sector, and the academy, expresses its concern about the review of the NDC (climate goal) presented by the Brazilian government to the United Nations, which jeopardizes global efforts to keep the planet's average temperature rise at a maximum of 1.5 ° C until the end of this century.


The lack of dialogue in the NDC review process also worries the Brazilian Coalition. Brazilian society was fundamental for the country to present an ambitious goal at the Climate Conference (COP) 21, in 2015, which resulted in the signing of the Paris Agreement. In the review, the tradition of dialogue and listening to society has not been respected.


With the revision of the NDC, Brazil changed relevant parameters that raise doubts about its level of ambition and planning capacity. The lack of clarity may hinder the country in attracting investors. Market mechanisms, emphasized by the new document, may indeed be important, but they need to be coordinated with different instruments and policies. It is fair that the country can receive external support for its mitigation efforts, but if it is in exchange for effective progress. It is essential for the country to achieve a significant reduction and work to eliminate illegal deforestation in its biomes and combat illegality. However, the mention of public policies as part of the strategy for meeting the climate goals was removed in this review of the NDC, generating uncertainties and legal unreliability.


The percentage reduction (of 37% and 43%, compared to 2005, in 2025 and 2030, respectively) remained the same in the review and the reduction of 43% in 2030 was confirmed, which until then had been done only as an indication. However, the mention of the absolute goal in giga tons of carbon was removed, which draws attention, since Brazil stood out for being the only emerging country to have a goal of absolute reduction of greenhouse gases.


It is positive that Brazil has announced a goal to neutralize its emissions by 2060 (carbon neutrality), even if indicative, but the parameters used for this purpose are not clear. Greater engagement with various actors in civil society could point to directions and means of implementation, including possibilities to anticipate the deadline for compliance. It should always be remembered that the land use and forest sector play a crucial role in the country's carbon neutrality, considering not only the challenges of containing deforestation but also the vast potential for carbon removals, whether through restoration activities or agricultural and forest production.


The commitments under both the Paris Agreement as the National Policy on Climate Change (NPCC) will only be met if the country establishes a climate governance that is effective and that promotes adequate means of implementation, which is not yet a reality. The NPCC, for example, brings goals for 2020 that have not yet left the paper.


The Paris Agreement's ambition-building mechanism was inspired by a Brazilian proposal. The idea was for countries to present voluntary goals if they are always progressive, gradually seeking to make climate commitments more ambitious. Therefore, the Brazilian Coalition reaffirms that the ambition in this climate agenda must be no going back and that Brazilian society must remain in the prominent role of a new economy.

 

About Brazilian Coalition

The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture is a multi-sector movement formed with the objective of proposing actions and influencing public policies that lead to the development of a low-carbon economy, with the creation of quality jobs and the fostering of innovation, Brazil’s global competitiveness and generation and distribution of wealth to the entire society. More than 260 companies, business associations, research institutes and civil society organizations have already joined the Brazilian Coalition - coalizaobr.com.br/en

  • 19-Nov
  • 2020

One of the main concerns of the Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture, a movement composed of over 250 representatives across agribusiness, civil society, financial sector and academia, is the fight against illegality in rural activities, including deforestation and predatory forest exploitation.

Recent studies show that over 90% of the deforestation in the Brazil is carried out illegally, and forest exploitation has similar rates. In addition to the environmental impact and tax damage, unpunished illegality creates unfair competition for those operating within the law.

In this scenario, Brazil misses out on an enormous opportunity, not only to guarantee a business environment in which the law is actually enforced, but to promote an economy that generates benefits far beyond the economic, such as, for example, forest concession models, that make wood production possible while preserving plant cover and generating green jobs. But the greatest obstacle to this model is precisely the legal uncertainty caused by the lack of supervision and command and control by the State. Other models that combine conservation and production of tropical timber are the silviculture of native species and agroforestry systems, which still need a special look to gain scale.

Unfortunately, the concern about this scenario is not new. For decades, illegality has been one of the main causes of violence in the field and of an environment that is out of business and the attraction of capital. However, with the increased deforestation rates observed in recent years, the fight against crime is even more urgent today.

Most of the Brazilian wood is consumed in the country. According to the Imaflora (Institute of Agricultural and Forest Management and Certification), in 2018, Brazilian states consumed 91% of all wood produced in the Amazon. The main producer states are Mato Grosso, Pará and Rondônia, with most of the wood from Mato Grosso and Rondônia supplying the South and Southeast regions, while Pará supplies much of the Northeast region.

No part of the production chains, both inside and outside the country, can be declared free from this issue, be it a company, trade, consumer and, of course, the government. If these parties bet on a solution and joint action, they win. But if one of these bonds does not fulfill role, everyone loses.

For this reason, the Brazilian Coalition is hopeful to see the manifestation of several voices from society that have become known to express their concern and commitment to sustainability. However, the crucial role of public authorities must be highlighted, as companies and investors are not – and should not –be a police force that deals with invasions, timber theft and other illegalities that contaminate the production chain, while affecting national and international markets and reinforcing other illegal activities.

Identifying the origin of Brazilian products and seeking traceability tools are daily challenges of the private sector, government and civil society that need to be accompanied by complete transparency of data, technology for better utilization and productivity (crop, extraction, sawmill, use, etc.), market development, diversification of uses and types of wood, as well as innovative mechanisms to finance the timber chain.

Brazil has sufficient knowledge, information and experience to immediately end the illegality of its production and to go beyond. But this will only be possible when all sectors, both public and private, integrate efforts, cooperate and take responsibility to face this challenge.

 


About the Brazilian Coalition
The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture is a multi-sector movement formed with the objective of proposing actions and influencing public policies that lead to the development of a low-carbon economy, with the creation of quality jobs and the fostering of innovation, Brazil’s global competitiveness and generation and distribution of wealth to the entire society. More than 250 companies, business associations, research institutes and civil society organizations have already joined the Brazilian Coalition - coalizaobr.com.br/en

  • 15-Sep
  • 2020

The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture, movement formed by 200+ representatives from agribusiness, financial sector, civil society and academia, presents strategic actions seeking fast, permanent reduced deforestation, especially in the Legal Amazon.

This short-term reduction - in a few months’ time - is critically important for Brazil. Not only because of the advanced social and environmental losses involved, but also due to the threat that forest destruction in the region poses to national economic issues. There is a clear, growing concern from different national and international society sectors with the advanced deforestation.

In the past few weeks, unprecedented mobilizations by investors and entrepreneurs have been announced. For example, Brazilian Embassies in eight countries received a statement of international investors about their concerns with environmental issues in the country. In addition, CEOs and sectoral entities also addressed Vice-President Hamilton Mourão, the Parliament and the Supreme Court with a statement requesting an end to deforestation in the Amazon. Those demonstrations were also followed by a letter of former finance ministers and former Central Bank presidents to President Jair Bolsonaro. Brazil’s three largest private banks sent the government a plan for the Amazon.

Since its foundation in 2015¹, the Coalition has been working to halt forest destruction in the Legal Amazon. Given the seriousness of the current situation, its members propose a set of actions for the effective reduction of deforestation in the short term. There is a total of six proposed actions that seek to intervene in the advanced deforestation causes.

 

• Action # 1: To resume and enhance surveillance, with rapid and exemplary accountability of identified environmental illegalities.

In order to resume and enhance enforcement actions, it is necessary to support and expand the use of intelligence and expertise of Ibama (Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources), ICMBio (Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation) and Funai (National Indian Foundation), aiming at holding offenders accountable for environmental crimes through agile, broad and efficient punishment. In this sense, full compliance with applicable law, including in-field destruction of equipment used by environment criminals is important. The use of technology to implement this action is also crucial. Resuming Ibama's Remote Control Operation², successfully implemented in 2016 and 2017, should be strongly considered.

Rationale: The government's performance, in its task of enforcing environmental law, has historically resulted in rapid and regional reduced deforestation in the Amazon. The environmental enforcement agencies have had successful experiences. Operation Remote Control, for example, is efficient in remote notification of rural landowners and squatters who illegally deforest. Notifications and embargoes can be carried out simply and almost automatically, by crossing deforestation data with information from official databases, such as: the Rural Environmental Registry System (SICAR, in the Portuguese acronym) or Land Tenure records (which allow the identification of the land holder) and Vegetation Suppression Authorizations (ASV, in the Portuguese acronym). There are over 70,000 reports available that apply this methodology in the system MapBiomas Alerta, which was developed in cooperation with Ibama . The methodology used in this operation is similar to that recently proposed by the Ministry of Agriculture for land settlement in the Amazon, an even more complex issue than the remote embargo on illegally deforested areas and the accountability of violators.


• Action # 2: To suspend Rural Environmental Registry (CAR, in the Portuguese acronym) covering public forest and accountability for any illegal deforestation.

To proceed with the immediate suspension, in the Rural Environmental Registry System (SICAR), of records overlapping public forests areas (conservation units, indigenous lands, unsettled public forests, etc.) listed in the National Registry of Public Forests (CNFP, in the Portuguese acronym) of the Brazilian Forestry Service.

Rationale: According to Law No. 11,284/2006, forests in public areas can only be used for sustainable use by allocating them to protected areas (indigenous lands, Conservation Units etc.) and to community use (such as quilombola territories³) or forest concession through bidding. The CAR records on public forests are therefore irregular and must be suspended until it is fixed or canceled by SICAR. There are over 11 million hectares of CARs4 declared over public forests that are eventually used to legitimize land grabbing processes. Classifying these CAR records on public forests as “suspended” will allow all actors in both public and private sectors to clearly distinguish these records from those classified as “pending”, which would be subject to approval or confirmation by the system. Such change will also allow the CAR declarants on public forests to be held accountable for any illegal deforestation that occur in the registered area.


• Action # 3: To reserve 10 million hectares for protection and sustainable use.

To select, within 90 days, from the National Register of Public Forests, a 10 million hectare area that can be assigned as a protected area for restricted and sustainable use in regions under strong deforestation pressure.

Rationale: An action to allocate a volume of forests as proposed may have three immediate results: 1) A clear signal to the land grabbers that government action is underway and that the invasion of public land will not be tolerated; 2) It has already been scientifically demonstrated that the creation of protected areas results in a general fall in the rates of Amazonian deforestation and permanent forest protection5; and 3) Reduced emissions from deforestation and maintenance of carbon stocks. This was the case, for example, with the creation of 24 million hectares of protected areas in the Terra do Meio region, in the Brazilian state of Para. About 40% of the drop in rates that occurred between 2005 and 2008 are attributed to the destination of these areas6.


• Action # 4: To grant financing per social and environmental criteria.

The National Monetary Council must require that rural and agricultural credit institutions adopt stricter practices and criteria for checking environmental risks, such as proof of the absence of illegality in properties, including the CAR check and other requirements related to compliance with the Forest Code and overlapping in public lands. When any CARs with deforestation after July 2008 is observed, their credit operations must be blocked until the individual responsible for the CAR presents the financial institution with the vegetation clearing authorization related to the deforested area issued by the responsible agency. The authorization is valid for the period of time the deforestation took place. Properties that have deforested beyond the limits of the Forest Code, before July 2008, must inform adherence to the Environmental Regularization Program (PRA, in the Portuguese acronym) and submit a plan to recover the environmental liability to the financial institution.

Rationale: More demanding actions (associated with due compliance with legislation) for granting credit have already shown good results in the past in curbing illegal deforestation in private areas7.


• Action # 5: Full transparency and efficiency to vegetation clearance authorities.

State-level environmental agencies must make data on vegetation clearing authorizations public. Therefore, such authorizations must be shared at the Sinaflor (National System for the Control of the Origin of Forest Products). In addition, the federal government must suspend the controversial Ministry of Environment’s Normative Instruction (IN 03/2014) which limits access to information critical to the identification (Individual or Corporate Taxpayer Id. – CPF or CNPJ, respectively) of those responsible for the CAR linked to deforestation and which clearly conflicts with the Access to Information Act and other legal frameworks associated with transparency.

Rationale: Transparency of information helps to tell apart producers who follow the law from those who engage in wrongdoing. Such action results in two basic benefits: The positive reinforcement of legal and deforestation-free production, and both monitoring and identification by society, the private sector and illegal deforestation control bodies. In this sense, transparency for the identification of the CAR holder is key for market actors to point out farmers who follow the law and single out illegal ones.

 

• Action # 6: To suspend all land settlement processes for properties that have deforested after July 2008.

To suspend all land settlement processes for irregularly deforested areas after July 2008 until the areas are fully recovered. Those who deforest in an unregulated area commit environmental crimes and should not benefit from land settlement.

Rationale: Land grabbing is one of the main drivers of deforestation. When the settlement processes in public land cease, the main incentive to land grabbing and, consequently, to deforestation is eliminated.


The Brazilian Coalition is fully available to the Government, either to provide information, help to articulate with different sectors, or any additional support that can speed up the solution of this serious scenario.

 

The PDF document can be found here.

 

1 The fight against deforestation was the subject of several public manifestations of the Coalition and is also addressed in the main documents of the initiative, including the 2030-2050 Vision: The Future of Forests and Agriculture in Brazil.
2 Loss, H.F.N, R.L. de Oliveira, W.R. Rocha, A.P. Rodrigues. 2020. Teoria da Fiscalização Integral: uma ferramenta de combate ao desmatamento na Amazônia. Mongaby
3 They are the descendants and remnants of communities formed by fugitive enslaved people (the quilombos), between the 16th century and 1888 (when slavery was abolished) in Brazil.
4 Azevedo-Ramos, C. P. Moutinho, V. L. da S. Arruda, M.C.C. Stabile, A. Alencar, I. Castro, J.P. Ribeiro. 2020. Lawless land in no man’s land: The undesignated public forests in the Brazilian Amazon. Land Use Policy 99 (2020) 104863.
5 Walker, W. S. et al. 2020. The role of forest conversion, degradation, and disturbance in the carbon dynamics of Amazon indigenous territories and protected areas. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, v. 117, n. 6, p. 3015–3025.
6 Soares-Filho, B., Moutinho, P., et al. 2010. Role of Brazilian Amazon protected areas in climate change mitigation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, v. 107, n. 24, p. 10821–10826.
7 Assunção, J., C. Gandour, R. Rocha. 2013. Crédito Afeta Desmatamento? Evidência de uma Política de Crédito Rural na Amazônia. Climate Policy Initiative, Rio de Janeiro, Núcleo de Avaliação de Políticas Climáticas, PUC-Rio; http://climatepolicyinitiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Does-Credit-Affect-Deforestation-Executive-Summary-Portuguese.pdf.