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Government Dialogue Best Practice: Brazilian Assessment of Ecosystem Services to Inform Indigenous Communities


This Project started in 2012, and the main objective was to foster biodiversity and ecosystem consideration in public policies planning and decision making in Brazil.

In 2016, the project supported an Integration of Ecosystem Services training. The training aimed to empower key actors involved in regional development for the recognition, demonstration and integration of the values of ecosystem services in decision-making.

One of the outcomes of the process was the development of a study in the Fazendinha’s Environmental Protection Area. The study explored local land use, activities and economic sectors in the region and identified priority ecosystem services for protection and investment.

The organization/ department in brief

The Secretary of Biodiversity from the Ministry of the Environment – MMA, supports the development of policies for the conservation and sustainable use of ecosystems, biodiversity and forests in Brazil, in an articulated and agreed manner with public actors and society for sustainable development in Brazil. Brazil and Germany have a history of cooperation of almost 50 years, in biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of ecosystems. Considering this scope, both countries joined together the project “Regional-Local TEEB Project: Biodiversity Conservation through the integration of Ecosystem Services into Public Policy and Business Action“, also known as TEEB Regional-Local, or TEEB R-L.

This project is jointly implemented by the Brazilian government, under the coordination of the Secretary of Biodiversity, of the Ministry of the Environment, and by the German government, though the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), applying funds from the International Climate Initiative (IKI) and through its cooperation agency, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

The Project started in 2012, and the main objective was to foster biodiversity and ecosystem consideration in public policies planning and decision making. To accomplish this, project focused in activities to strengthen the dialogue between public and private actors, and activities focused on the development and implementation of study cases at local and regional levels to provide knowledge and models to influence broader scales decision making. Strategic processes (e.g. policies, plans, programs, instruments) at regional and local levels, that could contribute with innovative approaches in the valuation and conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and that could produce information for decision-making were selected and used as demonstrative cases for broader scales and national policies.

The Regional-Local TEEB Project was originally scheduled to run until October 2016 but was extended until May 2019 through the inclusion of a new component, the support of the Brazilian government to the development of environmental economic accounts. More info here.

Why was this undertaken?

The Regional-Local TEEB project, together with the Brazilian Agricultural Research Enterprise (Embrapa-Amapá) and the State Secretariat of the Environment of Amapá  have been working, since 2015, in a set of activities in the state of Amapá promoting spaces for dialogue and cooperation for the integration of ecosystem services in planning and public policies.

In 2016, the project supported an Integration of Ecosystem Services training in Amapá, which resulted in the elaboration of a study to evaluate the sustainable management of the ecosystems of Fazendinha’s Environmental Protection Area (APA) – one relevant Conservation Unit. The study was made by a partnership between Regional-Local TEEB project team, Conservation Strategy Fund specialists and the Embrapa-Amapá. The Fazendinha Environmental Protection Area has no management plan, and this study aimed to contribute with relevant information to the construction of this instrument.

Today, the Conservation Unit suffers great anthropic pressure because it is within an urban area. At the same time, the activities developed in the area (production of açaí, fish, shrimp, andiroba oil, tourism, etc.) are being developed without taking into account the support capacity of the ecosystems. Thus there is a demand to analyze the pressures on these ecosystems and how these pressures put at risk the provision of the ecosystem services on which the productive and economic activities depend upon.

What was the scope?

The training aimed to empower key actors involved in regional development for the recognition, demonstration and integration of the values of ecosystem services in decision-making. The objective was to strengthen local development processes in the state of Amapá, focusing on the Environmental Protection Area – APA of Fazendinha, located in the urban area of the municipality of Macapá.

One of the outcomes of the process was the development of the study entitled “Socioeconomic analysis of the biodiversity product chains, valuation of ecosystem services and elaboration of socio-environmental development strategy for the Fazendinha Environmental Protection Area.” The study aim to i) analyze the productive chains that represent the main sources of livelihood and income in the community; ii) guide the raising of resources with focus on the consolidation of production chains and the maintenance of ecosystem services; iii) contribute to the construction of territorial development strategies based on these chains; and iv) elaborate subsidies to compose Fazendinha’s Environmental Protection Area management plan, promoting the consolidation of the theme of ecosystem services in the agendas of diverse sectors.

The study carried out an overview of Fazendinha’s Environmental Protection Area territory and its residents; made a characterization of land use, activities and economic sectors in the region; selected the priority ecosystem services in a participatory process; analyzed the conditions of the main value chains; and finally proposed actions and prioritization of investments.

What was the role of the Government?

The Secretary of Biodiversity from Ministry of the Environment supported the case for study through TEEB Regional-Local Project giving the technical necessary support. The local governmental are involve through their Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa-Amapá) and their State Secretariat of the Environment of Amapá. These different instances of government were articulated to promote the integration of ecosystem services in Amapá using a case study with Fazendinha Environmental Protection Area as pilot plan.

What were the results?

The ecosystems and biodiversity present in Fazendinha’s Environmental Protection Area provide a wide range of ecosystem services. The ecosystem services prioritized in this study were: quantity of water (provision); water quality (regulation); erosion control and soil fertility (regulation); scenic beauty and recreation (cultural). Four main economic activities: residential use, education and research, recreation and tourism and extraction– and their relations of dependence and impact on ecosystem services were analyzed.

In addition to the impact and dependence of activities on ecosystem services, opportunities for investment prioritization were also analyzed. The result of the investment prioritization exercise showed that basic sanitation and solid waste management are the priority issues to be addressed. As long as these priority issues are not resolved, investments in other areas are unlikely to have the expected positive impacts.

One of the greatest potential of Fazenda’s Environmental Protection Area is to be strategically located in a commercial region, so it is proposed to encourage the commercialization of what is already produced by Fazenda’s Environmental Protection Area community, such as handicrafts, shrimp, açai and oils, in a permanent organized event that can be combined with tourism initiatives to enhance sales.

The management of an Environmental Protection Area involves the interaction between social objectives and the limitation of financial, human and natural resources. An efficient management approach is able to focus efforts and energy on more urgent issues and should make it clear how these resources interact with each other to prioritize and avoid wasted resources. It is only after guaranteeing the basic conditions of the resources and the organization of activities by the Management Plan that  others steps to develop new structures for the value chains become efficient.

Next steps

Natural capital is a key piece for the development of the Fazendinha Environmental Protection Area. Scenic beauty and water quality, as they are being threatened and deteriorated, put at risk the ability of other initiatives and investments to be successful. Therefore, investments in the maintenance of these forms of natural capital through investments in sanitation and waste management are priorities. The elaboration of the Management Plan for the Environmental Protection Area appears also is as a priority, being the main management tool to minimize conflicts related to territorial management and promote the implementation of sustainable activities.

Sources of financial resources external and internal (environmental compensation resources or budgetary resources of the State Secretariat of the Environment of Amapá itself) should be sought. There are some opportunities to obtain resources to finance the management plan and the necessary investments. Results in territorial management and natural resources also depend on partnerships with other sectors, the involvement of the environmental manager and the resident community. It is also interesting to strengthen the territorial management outside the Environmental Protection Area with the establishment of the Municipal Basic Sanitation Plan for example, which would directly and indirectly benefit the Environmental Protection Area with the improvement of its environmental and sanitary condition.

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