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Brazil announces restoration and low-carbon agriculture target: 22 million hectares by 2030

Brazil took a significant step on Saturday (December 3) towards a low-carbon economy and recovery of degraded areas. In a joint effort between the Ministries of Environment and Agriculture, in alignment with the work of several partners engaged in the Bonn Challenge and Initiative 20x20, the Brazilian federal government announced its strategy for restoration, recovery and low-carbon agriculture for 22 million hectares – an area larger than Uruguay – by 2030. The statement was made during the Thirteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP13), which runs until December 17, and is part of the United Nations Biodiversity Conference in Cancun, Mexico.

Of the 22 million hectares, 12 million hectares are for restoration and reforestation as provided by the Brazilian NDC (Nationally Determined Contribution), and 10 million by the Low-Carbon Agriculture Plan (ABC Plan), being five million through integrated crop, livestock and forest management and five million through recovery of degraded pastures.

“We are a country of forests. The national strategy for the restoration of forests and degraded areas positions Brazil as one of the global leaders in the development of a forest economy. We have all the conditions – ecological, economic and material – to be internationally competitive, improving technical knowledge and creating jobs”, notes Rachel Biderman, the WRI Brasil Country Director.

The restoration advances

The Brazilian commitment is fundamental for restoration of forests, conservation of biodiversity and the global climate agenda, and reaffirms the political will to comply with agendas related to climate, such the Forest Code, the ABC Plan and the goals of the UN Biodiversity Conference, including the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

“By participating in the governance structure of global efforts, Brazil has the opportunity to incorporate lessons learned from other countries and to share its experiences, expanding its leadership within the international biodiversity and climate agenda”, highlights Aurelio Padovezi, the WRI Brasil Forests & Water Program Manager. In addition to the ABC Plan, the proposals for the National Plan for Recovery of Native Vegetation (Planaveg) and the Rural Environmental Registry (CAR) are genuinely Brazilian examples of such efforts.


Porção de floresta amazônica desmatada próxima a Manaus (AM). (Foto: Neil Palmer/CGIAR-CIAT)

Bonn Challenge and Initiative 20x20: Global and Regional Alliances

The Bonn Challenge, a global alliance, and Initiative 20x20, a regional effort, propose the restoration and conservation of forests, avoidance of deforestation and promotion of sustainable land usage practices.

The Challenge was launched in 2011 in Germany with the goal of restoring 150 million hectares of deforested and degraded land worldwide by 2020. The New York Climate Summit’s Forestry Declaration, signed in 2014, has increased the target to a total of 350 million hectares by 2030. In December of the same year, Initiative 20x20 was launched at COP20 in Peru. The Initiative, which reinforces the Bonn Challenge, emerged as an effort by countries and organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean to restore 20 million hectares of degraded areas in the region by 2020.

“Brazil is becoming a part of the global network of partners and leaders committed to landscape restoration and the use of good agricultural practices on a large scale”, says Miguel Calmon, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Senior Manager of the Global Forests and Climate Program. Calmon says that the Brazilian presence on global and regional platforms provides increased visibility and international leadership for the country and therefore broadens access to financiers interested in restoration, reforestation and low-carbon agriculture initiatives.

The Initiative 20x20 currently has 12 investors who together have jointly earmarked 1.15 billion dollars for investments in functional and productive recovery in the Latin American and Caribbean region. It is expected that restoration of forests and degraded areas in the region can yield net benefits of at least 23 billion dollars over the next 50 years, equivalent of roughly 10 percent of the value of food exports in the region.

Eleven countries are currently part of Initiative 20x20, and have declared their ambition to recover 27.7 million hectares. Prior to the announcement of the Brazilian target, the states of Espírito Santo, Mato Grosso and São Paulo were already participating in the 20x20. The commitment for restoration of these states, of 3.28 million hectares of degraded areas, was incorporated into the Brazilian goal presented in Mexico.

The Brazilian commitment also includes the target for Pacto pela Restauração da Mata Atlântica, which is committed to restoring one million hectares for the Bonn Challenge. The Pact is a movement within Brazilian society for restoration of its Atlantic Forest, which is the most threatened biome in Brazil.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) plays an important role in driving and implementing a global agenda for restoration and recuperation of degraded areas. Also playing a crucial role is the Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture, a multi-sector movement composed of actors ranging from Brazilian agribusiness leaders to academics and representatives of civil society. Additionally, WRI Brasil plays a key role in relations with public power and private initiative in developing technical studies that present opportunities for the restoration of forest landscapes through natural regeneration, with a focus on natural infrastructure or on an economic perspective. An example is the VERENA Project, which advocates for the economic, social and environmental viability of large-scale reforestation with native trees.

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The WRI Brasil Forests & Water Program Manager, Aurelio Padovezi, is in Mexico for the UN Biodiversity Conference.

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