The Amazon will be a model for sustainable development

Comments Off | 11-29-2011

The Government will invest in strategies that ensure growth, social inclusion and a low-carbon economy

After achieving a reduction in rates of deforestation in the Amazon over the last decade, the Brazilian government begins to concentrate efforts on promoting a new phase in the development for the region, which brings together forest conservation, social inclusion and a low carbon economy.

Brazil’s goal, according to official authorities, is to add value to the forest, make it an asset, make it be seen as an area that generates economic dividends, if it is preserved. The strategy includes investment in forest management, ecotourism, biodiversity studies for pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, among others.

This process is part of the Plan of Action to Prevent and Control Deforestation in the Amazon (PPCDAm), launched in 2004 as a government response to increasing rates of deforestation. While the plan aims to promote reduction of the rate of deforestation through an integrated set of regional planning actions as well as environmental monitoring and control, it also aims to foster sustainable production activities, involving partnerships between Federal agencies, State governments, municipalities, civil society organizations and the private sector.

“The policy directive and control worked. Now we need to improve the quality of production activities to ensure farmers desist from illegal deforestation”, said Director of Policy for Combating Deforestation at the Ministry of Environment, Mauro Pires. “The next step is to invest in a sustainable economy, in alternatives such as forest management, ecotourism and other economic activities that are based on the conservation of forests,” he said.

Another challenge for Brazil, according to Pires, is related to areas that are already deforested where there is grazing land and agricultural activity, or those near urban areas. “The challenge is to make them more productive than they are today, as well as recuperating the soil”, he says. As an example, according to experts it is possible to multiply the number of cattle by a factor of three, without increasing the deforested area.

Allies

The ABC program (Low Carbon Agriculture), coordinated by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA), has the same aims. The program has R$ 3.1 billion of funding available for the 2011/2012 crop season, aimed at promoting sustainable farming techniques that help to mitigate and reduce emissions in the field.

On a further front, the Sustainable Amazon Plan (PAS) is comprised of a set of goals and guidelines, developed from an updated diagnosis of the Amazon as it is today and the challenges that it faces. The purpose is to provide guidance for a new development model, in which economic solutions are environmentally sustainable.

The strategic guidelines for sustainable development of the Brazilian Amazon as proposed in the Plan are grouped under four themes:

1. Regional Planning and Environmental Management.

2. Sustainable Production with Innovation and Competitiveness.

3. Infrastructure for Development.

4. Social Inclusion and Citizenship.

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