Brazil Emergency Fire Prevention and Control ProjectB: Strategic Context1. Sector-related Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) goal supported by the project (see Annex 1):
CASdocument number: 16582-BR Date of latest CAS discussion: June 2, 1998.
The project is consistent with the CAS for Brazil which identifies natural resource conservation as a key objective of the Bank’s assistance for Brazil. The CAS emphasizes the importance of reduced deforestation rates, improved enforcement of environmental regulations and decentralization.
2. Main sector issues and Government strategy:
Sector issues are:
Uncontrolled logging occurs on a inlarge scale in the Amazon and comprehensive forest management systems are rarenot common;
Large foreign (mainly Asian) logging companies have arrived in the Amazon to take advantage of the worlds last and largest old-growth tropical forests;
Fire is used throughout the Amazon as a tool to clear fields and renew grazing landscontrol weeds. . These fires often escape to neighboring fields and forests;
Logged forests are especially fire-prone, and logging roads with debris make a pathway for fires;
The occurrence of accidental wildfires is becoming common in dry years, including sub-canopy forest fires;
Sub-canopy burning also increases the likelihood that forests will catch fire again in subsequent years;
Landless rural people continue to be settled in inappropriate areas in the Amazon;
Some Amazonian states are promoting soybeans as a model for development, which will probably result in more deforestation. .
Government strategy is moving towards adopting environmentally friendly policies for sustainable development. They include:
The “Green Protocol” initiative, requiring lending agencies to incorporate environmental considerations into the projects they finance;
Environmental Crimes Law (February, 1998) allowing criminal charges and penalties to be brought against environmental violators;
Presidential Decree n. 2.662, (July 8, 1998) 1) gives power to SEPRE to declare state of emergency in States and Municipalities within the Amazon region where climatic and/or vegetation conditions could arise leading to potential fires; 2) establishes PROARCO; and 3) creates a Federal Task Force to coordinate fire suppression activities; .
Increased enforcement of environmental legislation in the Amazon region;
Commitment to place around 10% area of Amazon forests under effective protection by the year 2000
Presidential Provisional Decree n. 1.511, (July 25, 1996), raising the amount of private land parcels to be maintained in “legal forest reserves” on private holdings in the Amazon from 50% to 80%;
Presidential Provisional Decree n. . 1.963, (July 25, 1996), declaring a temporary ban on extraction of mahogany from Amazon forests;
The ICMS Verde (or “Green VAT”) initiatives, under which some states reallocate value-added tax transfers as a function of municipal improvements in water quality and land protection;
Ratification of Agenda 21 at the National level and adoption of for the country and Agenda 21 principles for the Amazon;
Ratification of the Convention on Biodiversity;
Improvements in the management of state and federal and state protected areas;
Special programs with international financing for environmental programs such as the G7 Pilot Program to Conserve the Brazilian Rain Forest, the Rondônia Natural Resources Management Project (PLANAFLORO) and the Mato Grosso Natural Resources Management Project (PRODEAGRO);
Promoting the gradual devolution of environmental management to the states and municipalities.
3. Sector issues to be addressed by the project and strategic choices:
The proposed project would focus specifically on preventing and controlling wildfires in the Amazon forests in order to protect human life, infrastructure, biodiversity and watersheds, particularly in the southern part of the region.
The project strategy is to:
Focus on priority areas identified as being at high risk to fires;
Support a decentralized, participatory approach to social mobilization. . The project would support GTA, in using its networks in the field to convey the importance of fire prevention to local populations, and to organize, train and equip voluntary brigades;
Support creation and organization of a Strategic Nucleus to rapidly and effectively respond to civil variousemergencies;
Support close collaboration between public sector agencies and other stakeholders at all levels.