Brazil – Emergency Fire Prevention and Control Project D: Project Rationale/Justification:

Emergency Fire Prevention and Control Project

D: Project Rationale/Justification

The project is justified in that:

  • The greater Amazon River basin is the world’s richest repository of biodiversity and is currently under serious threat from fires;
  • The Deforestation Arc is highly vulnerable to widespread fires during the 1998 dry season due to the climatic phenomenon El Niño;
  • Capacity to control the spread of fires in the region is weak, as illustrated by the Roraima fires of February-March, 1998;
  • Potential economic, social, and environmental losses from widespread forest fires are enormous and much larger than the proposed project cost.

1. Project alternatives considered and reasons for rejection:

The project team considered the option of a long-term project (as fires are a recurrent problem), focusing on institutional strengthening, capacity building and training activities. This alternative was rejected because the longer time frame needed for project preparation, implementation and the procurement of goods and services would not meet the needs of the impending emergency during the 1998 dry season. The project does, however, allow for longer-term studies to be initiated.

2. Major related projects financed by the Bank and/or other development agencies (completed, ongoing and planned):

Sector issue


Latest Supervision (Form 590) Ratings

(Bank-financed projects only)

Implementation Progress (IP)

Development Objective (DO)


  • Strengthening of main environmental institutions, and development of the legal and regulatory framework.

Brazil – National Environmental Project FY’90



  • Help reduce the loss of human life and deterioration of living standards that may result from the floods and/or droughts; and
  • Assist in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of infrastructure facilities damaged by floods.

Bolivia- El Niño Emergency Assistance Project

under implementation

under implementation

  • Rehabilitation and repair of infrastructure damaged by the floods and prevent potential damage major rains.

Brazil- Rio Flood Reconstruction and Prevention Project



  • Environmental Institutional Strengthening and Capacity Building

Brazil – Rondonia Natural Resources Management Project (PLANAFLORO)
FY’ 92



  • Promoting the development and dissemination of environmentally, economically and socially sustainable natural resources management and conservation systems by local communities in the Amazon.

Brazil-Rain Forest Pilot Program, Demonstrative Projects (PDA)



  • Strengthen the policy analysis, regulatory and implementation capacity of state level Amazonian environmental agencies

Brazil-Rain Forest Pilot Program,
Natural Resources Policy Project (NRPP)

Not available

Not available

Other development agencies

  • Strengthening Civil Society

Brazil-National Environmental Fund (IBD)


IP/DO Ratings: HS (Highly Satisfactory) S (Satisfactory) U (Unsatisfactory) HU (Highly Unsatisfactory)


3. Lessons learned and reflected in the project design:

Lessons from previous experience indicate that the rapidity of response and a simple, focused strategy with few add-on components is critical. Likewise, an ongoing process of training in preparedness for forest -fires has been identified as a critical step in building the basis to counterattack future disasters. International experience (such as the fires in Indonesia, Mexico, California, and Central America), has yielded valuable lessons which have been considered in project design. These lessons concern the effectiveness, reliability and availability of equipment; fire-fighting strategies and action plans; inter-agency arrangements; successful fire preventiveon measures; monitoring systems; training, educational and publicity campaigns; adequate exchange and dissemination of information, etc.

It is expected also that the project would generate sufficient information that would contribute to the improvement capacity ofto prevent and controlling future fires. In addition, experience illustrates that effective project implementation requires a strong coordinating agency with clear authority and legitimacy. The proposed project takes this into account.

Some lessons were learned from the experiences of the firefighters trained in the PREVFOGO program to combat wildfires. Some of the firefighters who went to Roraima from other states commented on: (a) delays in deployment which allowed small fires to develop into big ones; (b) small number of firefighters that have wildland and forest fire training and experience; (c) lack of sufficient hand tools appropriate to tropical forest conditions; (d) inadequate air-support for firefighters on the ground; (e) lack of constructive evaluation of firefighter performance in meeting objectives; and (f) lack of adequate communications systems. Lessons derived from the forest fires in Roraima have been incorporated into the project design, such as the significance of (a) early detection systems; (b) rapid mobilization of trained personnel; (c) timely delivery of appropriate equipment; (d) adequate communications systems; (e) monitoring and evaluation of project activities and timely dissemination of such information; and (f) effective inter-agency coordination.

Additional important lessons learned from Bank–financed projects in Brazil and elsewhere include:

  • environmental management improvements are best achieved through partnerships between federal, state and local levels and through private/public sector collaboration;
  • top-down generic institution-building is not effective unless tied to concrete commitments and results;
  • education and training campaigns must address concrete issues and be tailored to local conditions and culture;
  • public disclosure and dissemination (especially of violations and violators) is key to encouraging compliance with fire/environmental regulations.

Project design embodies the following features learned from past project experiences:

  • the project would decentralize coordination from IBAMA’s headquarters to the states, allowing transparency and local stakeholders to influence the project through local participation mechanisms;
  • local stakeholders would partially absorb costs and risks, and in turn receive the potential benefits from the project, underlining the local ownership of the project;
  • an ongoing process for monitoring and evaluating results would be incorporated into the project design.

4. Indications of borrower commitment and ownership:

Indicators of project ownership and commitment have been:

  • GOB has made this project a high priority and has approved the request of international support on a priority basis in response to the lessons learned in Roraima;
  • Effective mobilization by participating agencies to prepare for a possible emergency situation;
  • Strong response to environmental projects at the local level, specifically PDA, PED, FNMA, PROBIO.

5. Value added of Bank support to this project:

Bank involvement in this project would add value in the following areas and ways:

  • Bank global experience with technical assistance projects;
  • Bank access to worldwide environmental information and experience and its capacity to mobilize resources;
  • Bank experience with promoting decentralized environmental management in Brazil;
  • Bank recent experience in assisting other countries address emergency situations.



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