Position papers
  • 12-Feb
  • 2020

The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture – which gathers more than 200 representatives, of agribusiness, environmental defense entities and academia, that seek to promote the conservation and sustainable land use in the country – understands that the land ownership legalization of public lands occupied for decades is an essential step towards eliminating conflicts, providing legal security, allowing the economic inclusion of rural producers, promoting social justice, and allowing good governance in Brazilian territory. Land ownership legalization also promotes efficient land use, stimulates owners to do long-term investments, and allows the identification and punishment of those responsible for environmental infractions.

However, instead of proposing measures to update and improve the management of land ownership bodies in order to promote an efficient legalization that respects safeguards, the government has chosen to present Provisional Measure 910 of 2019 (MP 910) to the Congress. This measure regards “land ownership legalization of occupations located in areas of the Brazilian Federal Government.”

The changes in current legislation promoted by this Provisional Measure go in the opposite direction of what is expected in the process of land ownership legalization in the country, especially in the Amazon. By authorizing that recent illegal occupations (until December of 2018) are legalized, including the occupation of large areas (up to 2,500 hectares), MP 910 is validating criminal practices of land grabbing and stimulating its occurrence in the future. It is sending criminal groups the clear message that crime pays off.

The justification presented by the Federal Government to extend the deadline from 2008 to 2014 or 2018 has no foundation since it disregards Forest Code’s time marker for environmental regularizations, which is July 22, 2008¹. Also, the Provisional Measure intends to give more advantages to those who already received the property title but haven’t been paying what they owe for the land or are not compliant with the obligations imposed. In predicting soft billing rules for defaulting owners and changing once more renegotiation deadlines, the provisional measure discredits that such rules will continue to exist or be enforced. This stimulates more defaulting and rural violence.

Another serious problem is the stimulation of public land grabbing generated by the expectation of obtaining titles for recently occupied areas and through the trade of lands below market value. The illegal expansion over public lands means a loss of over 70 billion reais to public funds². MP 910 practically annuls the possibility of stopping the expansion of the agricultural frontier over native vegetation areas. Currently that is a very serious problem. According to MapBiomas, more than 90% of the deforestation happening in the Amazon is illegal. Also, according to data from the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM), 35% of the deforestation in the Amazon (2018-19) occurred in public lands subjected to land grabbing³. The profitability of the invasion business, deforestation, and the trade of public lands will continue to induce a disorderly expansion, one without agronomic or environmental reasonability, based on power, and not following the best project for land use. In the short term, this scenario will drive away investors and buyers of our agricultural commodities⁴, and, in the medium and long term, it will create problems to agricultural production by interrupting natural cycles that guarantee rainfall in most of the country. Therefore, in addition to the agricultural sector itself, it harms Brazilian society as a whole.

In extending titling by self-declaration to properties of up to 15 fiscal modules – without the need for an inspection by public authorities – MP 910 will facilitate fraud and increase land ownership conflicts. The example of the Rural Environmental Registry (CAR), which is self-declared and encompasses more than 90% of rural properties in the country, shows what can happen if this alteration is approved: 95% of registered properties present some kind of overlap with other properties⁵. Therefore, to promote titling without an inspection, in this scenario, will aggravate the current situation. Tools such as the use of satellite images are not able to verify who is promoting the occupation, or if the occupation is tame and peaceful. According to the Tribunal de Contas da União (2014)⁶, the Brazilian federal accountability office, although occupations above 4 fiscal modules represent only 4% of all the properties titled by the Program Legal Land, they account for 30% of all titled area.

For these reasons, we understand that MP 910 cannot be approved as it is written. The changes it brings do not help land ownership legalization and the proper use of the Brazilian territory, but lead to an increase in land grabbing and the speculative deforestation associated with it.

For this reason, we consider that it is essential to guarantee the following:
a) Deadlines to regulate public land ownership are not altered, maintaining, at least, the same as the one of the Forest Code – July 22, 2008;
b) The possibility of legalization without the need of inspection is maintained only for the occupation of areas of up to 4 fiscal modules and mandatory inspections are determined for all properties in which the CAR is: i) canceled, or ii) with partial or total overlap with another registered property;
c) Before the legalization of land ownership of areas with deforestation, the legality of such deforestation has to be proved and, in case it is illegal, regardless of previous sanctions, the legalization can only occur after inspection. Besides, they will need to adhere to the Environmental Regularization Program (PRA), in which case, the title will have to be issued with conditions regarding the implementation of the PRA;
d) The deadline for defaulter renegotiation is not extended, maintaining this possibility only to titles issued until December 22, 2016, as it is established in the recently approved Federal Law 13.465/17. Also, in default cases, the rules of debt execution predicted by the Central Bank are applied, with the execution after 90 days of default of only one installment.

 

About the Brazilian Coalition
The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture is a multisectoral movement that was established with the goal of proposing actions and influencing public policies that would lead to the development of a low carbon economy, with the creation of quality jobs, stimulus to innovation and Brazilian global competitiveness, and generation and distribution of wealth for the whole society. More than 200 companies, businesses associations, research centers and civil society organizations have joined the Brazilian Coalition - coalizaobr.com.br/en

 

¹ CHIAVARI, Joana; LOPES, Cristina Leme. Nota Técnica. Medida provisória recompensa atividades criminosas: Análise da MP 910/2019 que altera o marco legal da regularização fundiária de ocupações em terras públicas federais. Rio de Janeiro: Climate Policy Initiative, 2020.
² BRITO, Brenda et al. Stimulus for land grabbing and deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. Environmental Research Letters, v.14, n.6, p.064018, 2019
³ Available at: https://ipam.org.br/35-do-desmatamento-na-amazonia-e-grilagem-indica-analise-do-ipam/
⁴ Available at: https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/mercado/2019/12/investidores-boicotam-o-brasil-por-preocupacoes-com-desmatamento-na-amazonia.shtml
⁵ SPAROVECK, G. et alii. Nota Técnica preliminar sobre o anúncio de Medida Provisória de regularização fundiária autodeclarada.
⁶ TRIBUNAL DE CONTAS DA UNIÃO. Relatório de Auditoria de Conformidade no Programa Terra Legal Amazônia, TC 015.859/2014-2, Fiscalização 402/2014, Relator: Ministro Weder de Oliveira.

  • 29-Aug
  • 2019

Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture Manifesto to the President of the Republic, Jair Bolsonaro.

 

The more than 200 members of the Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture, a group that brings together representatives of agribusiness, environmental protection, the financial sector, and academia, express their concern about the escalation of deforestation and illegal activities in the forest. We ask the government to use all the necessary instruments to curb these practices.


Today, over 90% of deforestation in the Amazon is illegal. Other crimes are associated with this grave scenario, such as drug trafficking and tax evasion. The current government must take the necessary measures, since it has at its disposal the military and police apparatus and, therefore, should be a reference in the fight against illegality.


It is necessary to regain control of deforestation. We have already experienced periods when a significant drop in deforestation occurred amid a cycle of leaps in agricultural productivity. This history shows that deforesting is not necessary to increase agricultural production.


Agribusiness is being hampered by illegal gangs, tarnishing the industry's reputation, increasing legal uncertainty and unfair competition for producers and companies.


Field security also involves fighting forest fires. Although fire is regularly used in some agricultural practices, it is also used as a means to illegally open areas in the forest. The relationship between deforestation and fire is particularly strong in 2019. More fires in a milder drought year indicate that deforestation may be a driving factor of the flames. Combating illegal deforestation also involves curbing invasions of indigenous lands or protected areas, including for the purpose of illegal mining.


The government should create incentives for law enforcement, controlling criminal actions and increasing vigilance over clandestine activities. This is a common agenda between agribusiness and climate and environmental organizations.


It is also an agenda of interest to investors, as agricultural activities are directly linked to the climate issue, which affects a wide range of economic sectors. Climate change could cause significant financial losses, such as the California drought in 2015, which resulted in an estimated $ 2.7 billion in agricultural losses. On the other hand, Brazil has a great opportunity to attract new resources from national and international investors if it is able to monetize its environmental assets. In addition to remunerating the maintenance of the standing forest, these resources can have direct effects on our economy, for example, by incorporating the value of Brazilian environmental assets into the country's GDP.


Science corroborates the urgency of actions to combat climate change. The latest IPCC report makes it clear that there is no shortage of evidence on the urgency of the issue. Brazil, the global leader in remote sensing technologies, increasingly needs to use its scientific data to improve its public policies.


The challenge is great, but the country has a lot to gain. With its strong and competitive agribusiness, Brazil needs to secure the post of agri-environmental power, as it is home to the largest rainforest in the world, the highest biodiversity rates and 12% of the planet's freshwater. To this end, government policies need to focus efforts on addressing the climate crisis, controlling deforestation and illegality in the field and promoting sustainable agribusiness, enabling not only the fulfillment of the Paris Agreement, but also increasing the ambition of its goals to ensure the planet's climate, water and food security.


The Brazilian Coalition, on behalf of the sectors it represents - agribusiness, environmental protection agencies, academia and the financial sector - wants to help the government advance this agenda in a participatory and collaborative manner. The movement has a set of proposals that have been presented to various ministries and legislative representatives. Beyond administrations, this is a long-term state agenda and the path to sustainable development for Brazil.

 

About the Brazilian Coalition
The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture is a multisectoral movement that was established with the goal of proposing actions and influencing public policies that would lead to the development of a low carbon economy, with the creation of quality jobs, stimulus to innovation and Brazilian global competitiveness, and generation and distribution of wealth for the whole society. More than 200 companies, businesses associations, research centers and civil society organizations have joined the Brazilian Coalition.

 

  • 26-Aug
  • 2019

August 23, 2019 – The year of 2020 will be a milestone in the recovery of carbon markets around the world. Starting this year, the main international agreements aiming to stop climate change and reduce the global emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) will come into effect. Some main treaties signed include: The Paris Agreement and The Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).


In addition to these treaties, there are many ongoing initiatives in Brazil. The National Policy on Climate Change (PNMC), established by law in 2009, promoted the development of a Brazilian Market of Emissions Reduction (MBRE). Since 2015, the country has been internally developing the Project Partnership for Market Readiness (PMR). The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture supports the immediate implementation of the MBRE, which considers not only emissions reduction, but also, the removal of carbon from the atmosphere as predicted in the PNMC. Thus creating a work agenda that stimulates synergies between the market and the valuation of forest assets.


In the context of international initiatives, both the Paris Agreement and CORSIA predict the structuring of market mechanisms, which should be operating in the next 10 to 15 years. Such mechanisms are expected to generate incentives that are important to emissions reduction and removal in different countries and regions. Brazil is one of the countries with the highest potential to attract international investments to mitigate its emissions, especially focusing on land use, forests, and agricultural sectors.


However, in order for Brazil to successfully attract international investments, the private sector and the federal and state governments must have an active dialogue with the organized groups of Brazilian society. This dialogue would allow for an understanding of Brazil’s potential to produce and manage mitigation results and would build a balanced process that contributes to the global reduction of GHG emissions.

It is worth remembering the goals set by Brazil within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Brazilian Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) [1] aims to reduce emissions in 37% by 2025 and 43% by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. Most of this reduction is anticipated to come from the forest, land use and agricultural sectors, presently responsible for 70% of national GHG emissions [2].


The sectorial target to eliminate illegal deforestation in the Amazon (that is presently responsible for 90% of all the deforestation of the biome [3]) should represent the largest contribution to fulfilling the Brazilian NDC. However, due to the current trend of returning to previous deforestation rates [4] (mostly in the Amazon and Cerrado), Brazil is at risk for falling short of its national goals of GHG reduction. Other crucial targets that Brazil is at risk for falling short of include: to strengthen the compliance with the Forest Code at federal, state, and municipal levels, and to restore and reforest 12 million hectares of forests for multiple uses by 2030.


Resuming the reduction and control of deforestation in the Amazon and Cerrado, as well as reforestation, will demand large volumes of financial resources and a permanent commitment from the government, private sector, and society in general. Different, yet complementary mechanisms are necessary to facilitate Brazil to reach its emissions reduction targets. Mechanisms that focus on structuring new financing strategies via market and results-based payment, capable of attracting investors, governments, and companies on behalf of the harmonic, inclusive and sustainable use of the land in Brazil, are essential to reach the national targets and promote large-scale reduction of emissions in the country.


Therefore, it is essential that Brazil implements initiatives which incentivize forest conservation and sustainable use, as well as, reforestation and restoration through a clear and effective program of forests’ environmental services valuation. It is also crucial to mobilize additional financial resources to complement the existent resources, such as, resources from international carbon markets, as predicted in the Paris Agreement (Article 6), in CORSIA/ICAO, and in the REDD+ systems.


The Brazilian Coalition defends structuring results-based payments systems and carbon markets based on four pillars. These pillars are meant to guarantee the environmental integrity of the global climate system, while promoting additional efforts to reduce emissions in countries and jurisdictions.


Carbon markets and results-based payments are a means of strategic implementation of most varied mitigation efforts. In this context, they also act as a structural incentive for sustainable efforts in order to increase ambition, which is crucial to an increased target in the Paris Agreement.


Pillar 1: Carbon markets should promote the additionality of the efforts to reduce GHG emissions. In other words, to reach respective targets, countries must primarily adopt public policies and national measures that lead to the decarbonization of their economies [5]. After reaching a certain level countries will then be able to complement these measures through GHG mitigation programs financed via carbon markets.


Pillar 2: National programs of net emissions reduction must rely on national systems of monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) in order to participate in international carbon markets. These systems will allow a sectorial performance analysis, in addition to mitigating risks of “leaks” and double counting.


Pillar 3: The supply and demand for emissions reduction in international carbon markets should be managed in a way that they won’t abruptly affect the price of other mitigation options. However, if properly administered, the inclusion of forest credits should allow more ambitious reductions to be implemented, involving all sectors of the economy.


Pillar 4: Investments deriving from results-based payments and international carbon markets regarding the forest sector should be invested in integrated rural development. To maximize results, it is important to achieve a balance between the resources coming from deforestation reduction and the protection and restoration of forests, with the resources designated to assuring the environmental, social and economic sustainability of the landscape as a whole, for example, such as resources that consider other activities of sustainable use of the land, such as reforestation, livestock intensification, and low carbon agriculture.


Conclusion


Brazil has a unique opportunity to become prominent in a low carbon economy. A system of carbon pricing via market pricing could incentivize the country to exploit the value of its forests, thereby, generating economic assets that can contribute to the sustainable development of Brazil. However, in order to obtain this result, it is necessary to find new mechanisms that promote the forest sector to attract a new influx of investments that mitigate emissions in the country, in synergy and complementarity with existing mitigation efforts.


If activities responsible for emissions reduction in the forest sector are not supported, the fulfillment of NDC will be more difficult, take longer, and be much more costly. Additionally, this lack of support would preclude Brazil from attracting the investments needed to generate emissions removals and reduction in large scale, and to promote activities linked to the standing forest economy, such as, but not limited to: the destination of undesignated public areas, low carbon agriculture, reforestation, forest restoration, and recovery of degraded areas.

 

Notes:


[1] See: Brazilian NDC aiming to reach the goals of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, submitted to UNFCCC in 2015.
[2] SEEG, 2017
[3] Mapbiomas
[4] INPE, 2019
[5] Examples: public policies to promote energy efficiency, renewable energy, improvement in industrial processes and transportation, etc.


About the Brazilian Coalition
The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture is a multisectoral movement that was established with the goal of proposing actions and influencing public policies that would lead to the development of a low carbon economy, with the creation of quality jobs, stimulus to innovation and Brazilian global competitiveness, and generation and distribution of wealth for the whole society. More than 200 companies, businesses associations, research centers and civil society organizations have joined the Brazilian Coalition.

  • 30-Apr
  • 2019

May 1st, 2019 – The intensive discussions about the legislation Brazil should have in place to allow for the conciliation of the agricultural production with native vegetation’s protection took almost five years. The process that resulted in the approval of the new Forest Code, in 2012 (Federal Law 12,651/2012), was one of the most vivid debates that ever took place in the Brazilian Congress, with large mobilization and participation of the different interest groups.


After seven years since its publication, the Forest Code has already reached important results, such as the more than four million records in the Rural Environmental Registry (CAR) – equivalent to almost 100% of the area required to be registered – creating one of the most relevant geographic information systems on land use and occupation.


However, a constant scenario of legal insecurity prevents greater advances. Until last year, the deadline to register with CAR had been postponed four times consecutively, causing a delay of approximately four years in the conclusion of the registration phase. One of the consequences of this is the low adherence to Environmental Regulation Programs (PRAs); stage in which producers present their plans to solve the environmental liability they identified.


In December 2018, with the end of successive extensions of the deadline to register with CAR, it was expected that the legal security necessary to move to the regularization stage would have been installed. However, a series of Bills and Provisional Measures aiming to change mechanisms that are essential to implementing the Forest Code are being presented at Congress. These initiatives keep the legal insecurity environment and harm the efforts to implement the law.


Among the more than 190 members of the Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture, gathering representatives of agribusiness, the forest sector, environmental defense entities, and academia, there is a clear consensus: the implementation of the Forest Code, in its current configuration, is the first step to strengthen the agricultural production and, at the same time, the environmental conservation of the country. This moment has arrived and it can no longer be postponed.


The implementation of the Forest Code is also part of a set of measures against illegal deforestation and represents a way to value the efforts of rural producers that obey the law and are harmed by the unfair competition with violators. Great part of the deforestation of the Amazon is illegal. Fighting illegality should be any government’s priority. Strengthening legal agriculture contributes to the image of the sector abroad, guaranteeing access to the most demanding international markets.


Crosschecking land ownership data with land cover and use data shows us that the country has the second largest forested area in the world. One third of the native vegetation area of the country is found in private properties. This happens due to the legal requirement to keep areas of Legal Reserve and Permanent Preservation on their properties along with the excess kept by some rural producers that are above the percentage required by law.


At the same time, Brazil has the third largest agricultural production area in the world. Both experts on the subject and the Ministry of Agriculture itself agree that there is no longer the need to convert native vegetation into agricultural or livestock production areas.


The agricultural sector is the main beneficiary of conservation since its productivity is highly dependent on climatic conditions. Forests act as Brazilian agriculture’s “sprinkler”. Besides water, there are countless ecosystem services, such as pollination of the crops, that directly benefit agriculture.


Lastly, the implementation of the Forest Code is crucial to meet goals established by Brazil in the Paris Agreement. The Brazilian Coalition has already highlighted the gains the country has in remaining in the Paris Agreement, in view of its historic leading role on the topic.


It is imperative to uphold the law; we cannot waste time with new modifications on its mechanisms. For this reason, the Brazilian Coalition recommends to the National Congress and the Brazilian government that they concentrate their efforts on the next stages necessary to the effective implementation of the Forest Code. Some of the actions that urgently need to be implemented are: to direct resources to speed up CAR’s validation, to advance in PRAs regulation, to implement the instruments necessary to create a real demand for Environmental Reserve Quotas (CRA), and to regulate the article of the law regarding financial incentives to protect native vegetation – including payment for environmental services and the creation of the Brazilian Market on Emissions Reduction.


The Forest Code is the instrument essential for the sustainability of the agribusiness, for the development of the country, and for the welfare of all Brazilians. Its effective implementation can wait no more.


About the Brazilian Coalition


The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture is a multisectoral movement that was born with the goal of proposing actions and influencing public policies that lead to the development of a low carbon economy, with the creation of quality jobs, stimulus to innovation and Brazilian global competitiveness, and generation and distribution of wealth for the whole society. More than 190 companies, businesses associations, research centers and civil society organizations have joined the Brazilian Coalitioncoalizaobr.com.br/en

  • 14-Dec
  • 2018

The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture and its more than 180 members that represent agribusiness, environmental protection entities and academia believe that the country has a lot to gain from staying in the Paris Agreement: the main international commitment on climate change.


The Paris Agreement represents an agenda of extensive opportunities. For rural producers, the commitment is seen as an important incentive to create mechanisms that are able to compensate producers that have a surplus of preserved areas in their properties, as a way to pay for the environmental service provided by these areas.


For forests and agriculture, the Agreement represents a clear sign towards a low carbon economy. A relevant part of the Brazilian economy is based on agribusiness, responsible for 23.5% of the National GDP and 19% of the formal jobs in the country. The sector is highly dependent upon climatic conditions to guarantee its productivity. Forests act as “sprinklers” of the Brazilian agriculture and to protect them is the best path to guarantee the sector’s continuity.


In global trade, Brazil, which today is responsible for 7% of the agricultural products in the planet, can attract more distinguishing features and competitiveness to its products. This would value its image and reputation and open new doors in international markets, which have been increasingly demanding producers to meet sustainability criteria.


All of these gains are possible results of Brazil’s support for the Paris Agreement combined with a national policy for the low carbon economy and coherent with the country’s trajectory as one of the leaders in international climate negotiations. The country has the obligation of keeping its leading role, out of respect for its history and responsibility to the planet.


Therefore, the Brazilian Coalition requests that the government considers the gains that the Paris Agreement can represent to many sectors of society. Thinking about the importance of this agenda, the Brazilian Coalition recently launched a vision for the future for forests and agriculture, in which the group members indicate goals for 2030 and 2050. For this reason, we believe that, in addition to continuing to support the global effort in reducing emissions, the country has to advance in this agenda as a long-term State policy for Brazil and the world.

 

About the Brazilian Coalition


The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture is a multisectoral movement that was born with the goal of proposing actions and influencing public policies that lead to the development of a low carbon economy, with the creation of quality jobs, stimulus to innovation and Brazilian global competitiveness, and generation and distribution of wealth for the whole society. More than 180 companies, businesses associations, research centers, and civil society organizations have joined the Brazilian Coalitioncoalizaobr.com.br/en

  • 08-Nov
  • 2018

November 8, 2018 – 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.


About the Brazilian Coalition


The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture is a multisectoral movement that was born with the goal of proposing actions and influencing public policies that lead to the development of a low carbon economy, with the creation of quality jobs, stimulus to innovation and Brazilian global competitiveness, and generation and distribution of wealth for the whole society. More than 180 companies, businesses associations, research centers, and civil society organizations have joined the Brazilian Coalition coalizaobr.com.br/en