REDD in Brazil
There are currently several governmental agencies engaged in the design and implementation of Brazil’s REDD strategy that are operating at different levels and with different roles. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Science and Technology are leading the REDD agenda in Brazil. At the state level, many Brazilian Amazon states are now designing or implementing programs to prevent deforestation that include the establishment of state level targets to reduce deforestation. Since 2008, seven of nine Amazon states - Amazonas, Para, Mato Grosso, Acre, Tocantins, Rondonia and Amapa - have initiated plans for reducing deforestation and the states of Amazonas, Para, Mato Grosso, and Acre have established their own voluntary targets for reducing deforestation. In 2010, the Ministry of Environment led a process to formulate recommendations for the construction of a National REDD Strategy. The discussions were divided into themes on institutional arrangements, mechanisms of benefit distribution, safeguards and financial mechanisms. The goal of this process was to gather recommendations from civil society that could be presented to the government and in the future, integrated into a future national REDD Regime.
Stakeholder engagement and participation
Brazil has coordinated several processes at the national level to engage stakeholders in the national REDD agenda. Of particular interest is a multi-stakeholder dialogue initiated in July 2010 to discuss possible pathways for a Brazilian REDD regime. The main objective of this process was to create a set of recommendations from different sectors of Brazilian society to the government across various themes including mechanisms of benefit distribution and safeguards, financing and institutional arrangements to feed into the design and implementation of Brazil’s National REDD regime. The process was coordinated by the Ministry of Environment and had wide participation from civil society. Another process involving Brazilian civil society organisations was conducted from 2009 to 2010, led by representatives from indigenous groups, rubber tappers and traditional communities, as well as small households in settlement projects. The result was the creation of “Social and Environmental Principles and Criteria for REDD” that sets out guidelines to minimize the risk in the design and implementation of REDD projects and programmes, and to help them to effectively reduce deforestation, conserve biodiversity, increase social benefits and respect indigenous peoples’, traditional communities’ and local farmers’ rights. Following this process, an institutional arrangement, called “Observatório do REDD” was created in August 2010, that aims to track and monitor public policies and REDD initiatives, both at the federal level - with a focus on the Amazon Fund, and at the sub-national level - focussing on state programs and projects under private and public initiatives of limited scale (Gomes et al. 2010).
Land tenure arrangements and carbon rights
Brazil has a complex land tenure framework that includes public land (federal, state and municipal), protected areas, private and indigenous lands that are owned by the federal government but have possession and usufruct rights by the indigenous populations, other private lands, quilombolas (recognized by traditional populations), and military lands. Currently, whilst there aren’t any specific regulations in Brazil that address rights and tenure, there are ongoing discussions to address this issue. For example, the Terra Legal Programme, which aims to facilitate the registration of private properties up to a size of 15 fiscal modules is making some progress on the registration of private possessions. The programme establishes five phases: registration of possessions, georeferencing, surveying (in some cases required by law), granting of titles and monitoring following land titling. In the first year of the program whilst challenges remain in georeferencing, surveying and land titling, many lessons have been learnt that should expedite the process in future years.
The Brazilian Forest Code stipulates that landholders in the Brazilian Amazon forest region must maintain 80% of their land as forest, those in the Cerrado must maintain 20% as native vegetation, and those in the Atlantic Coastal Forest are prohibited from clearing any forest on their land. Compliance with the Code is low, especially in the Amazon region where the requirement was raised in 1996 from 50 to 80% of the total area of the property. This has been raised as one of the principal arguments for the necessity of changing that Code in recent years. This has become a polemic debate, as many environmental organizations claim that some of the changes proposed have the potential to significantly increase deforestation in some areas and generate other environmental negative impacts.
The Plan for Prevention and Control of Deforestation in the Amazon (PPCD-Am), for the period 2004 - 2007, was initially comprised of 13 federal ministries, the federal police, federal highway police and armed forces that aimed amongst other things to improve the enforcement capacity in the Amazon (Moutinho and Lima, 2009). The plan continues, under the direct coordination of the Chief of Staff from the Presidency of Republic. Under the PPCD-Am, 148 new protected areas were created covering 640,000 km2 (Soares et al. 2010) and over 700 people - including government employees - were imprisoned for illegal logging. Steps were also taken to restrict the market in illegally occupied public lands. The PPCD-Am further aimed to improve the technology of remote monitoring of deforestation. Investments in environmental education, improvement of infrastructure and capacity building of institutions, among others, are also being implemented in Brazil as means to improve the compliance with existing forest policies.
The Sustainable Amazon Plan (PAS), established by the federal government in partnership with the Amazon states, was established to define guidelines for sustainable development in the Brazilian Amazon, emphasizing the environmental potential of the region. The Plan promotes the creation of new jobs and a reduction of social inequalities for local populations living in the forest through the implementation of new and sustainable economic activities in the region. The Plan has five lines of action: sustainable production with innovation and competitiveness, environmental management and land-use planning, governance, social inclusion and citizenship, implementation of infrastructure for development, and the establishment of a new economic standard. These goals aim collectively to construct a technical and economic basis for sustainable development, whilst solving the territorial irregularities existing in various parts of the Amazon. The Plan also aims to treat regions with forests and savannah within the Amazon differently by establishing Ecological and Economic Zoning (ZEE). The Plan currently encompasses several projects under the co-ordination of the Ministry of Environment that include participation from states, municipalities, NGOs and local communities. The projects in progress include: the Regional Sustainable Development Plan for the Area of Influence of the BR-163, the Sustainable Land-use Development Plan for the island of Marajo, and the Regional Sustainable Development Plan of Xingu.
Brazil’s National Plan on Climate Change uses a rolling average historical deforestation rate for the national reference level. This average is calculated using deforestation rates over a 10-year period and is updated every five years. Using this approach the average deforestation rate for the first reference period in the Amazon (from 1996 – 2005) is 1,95 million hectares per year. In the next period, the deforestation rates for the years 2001 to 2010 will be used to form the reference level to be adopted for the next 5 years (2011-2015), and so on for further periods. The Amazon Fund has also adopted this methodology. At the project and state level, reference levels based on both projected and historical rates of deforestation are being used. The majority of state-level programmes use a historical reference level, some of them choosing to use a development adjustment factor for subsequent periods. For example the states of Mato Grosso and Para State present a progressive cut on the deforestation rate for each period of the plan. At the project level a variety of reference levels including both projected and historical baselines are used. The Juma Project, for example, in the state of Amazonas uses a projected baseline based on the SimAmazonia I model (Soares et al 2006) to predict the deforestation rate over the next 44 years. This model incorporates assumptions such as population growth, infrastructure improvements and other parameters to estimate future deforestation rates for the project area.
Brazil does not yet have a common or formal system for addressing safeguards at the national or state level. The Ministry of Environment, however, recently organised a series of working groups to engage civil society and other governmental agencies to establish criteria for the implementation of safeguards. Many of the projects and activities being developed subnationally aim to deliver additional environmental and social benefits and are using voluntary standards such as the CCB Standards to guarantee that their projects deliver more than just climate benefits. Civil society organizations have presented to the Ministry of Environment the Social and Environmental Principles and Criteria for REDD+ as a minimum requirement that public and private REDD activities should comply with. Due to the broad consultation process and multi- stakeholder involvement, the Ministry of Environment was receptive to include the principles and criteria as part of the National REDD Regime under development.
Brazil’s capacity to monitor deforestation is advanced. The National Institute for Space Research (INPE), through its Brazilian Amazon Forest Monitoring Program (PRODES), has been monitoring and producing annual data on deforestation rates in the Brazilian Amazon since 1989. The main objective of PRODES is to monitor human interferences in the Brazilian Amazon and to calculate annual rates of deforestation. This information is then made freely available alongside maps and other relevant information on deforestation through their website. The images generated by PRODES are widely used by many private institutions and NGOs that work with deforestation issues; for example, Imazon has developed a technique to detect, quantify and monitor deforestation, forest degradation by logging and other forms of anthropogenic pressures through the analysis of satellite imagery. Other research groups (e.g. IPAM in collaboration with Stanford University) are able to now detect forest degradation by fire (Costa et al. 2010). Amazon States, especially Mato Grosso, Acre, Amazonas, Pará and Amapá, are also investing in their capacity for MRV as a support for policy development planning, land tenure regulation and for REDD purposes.