Brazil is a biologically megadiverse country. Approximately 15% to 20% of the world’s 1.5 million species are found within its borders. The country faces complex challenges to control deforestation, fires, pollution, invasive alien species, and unsustainable production and consumption. More than 600 animal species are threatened with extinction in Brazil.
“Avoiding the loss of Brazilian biodiversity will have enormous local, national and global benefits in terms of environmental services such as disease and pest control, crop sustainability, sustainable economic use of biomes by native populations, biomedical research and a healthy global genetic pool,” said Adriana Moreira, World Bank Biodiversity Specialist and Project Manager. “With the loss of habitats in key biodiverse areas such as the Atlantic Forest, and to an increasing extent in the Cerrado, the Caatinga, and the Amazon, a large stock of biodiversity is in danger of disappearing in the future.”
The conservation of Brazilian biodiversity will require significant efforts from both the public and private sectors. Barriers for mainstreaming biodiversity concerns into policy and development in Brazil include a lack of information and priority among key stakeholders, unsustainable development initiatives, and deficient coordination among public and private players. The difficulties are compounded by Brazil’s huge geographical size and ecological differences, and a generally low public awareness of the issues.
“Brazil has taken an increasingly active role in the world debate and has taken effective steps towards the sustainable management of its natural resources. This project is very much consistent with this effort,” said Alexandre Abrantes, Acting World Bank Director for Brazil. “If this ground-breaking project is successful, it will support the reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss, and increase Brazil’s contribution to the 2010 goals and targets of the International Convention on Biological Diversity.”
Responsibility for managing biodiversity in Brazil is extensive, with numerous ministries, institutes, secretariats, and departments holding responsibility for environment and biodiversity issues within the government. The project will promote the mainstreaming of biodiversity at national level in key government and private sector planning strategies and practices; and consolidate and strengthen institutional capacity to produce biodiversity information relevant to the mainstreaming.
To achieve this, the project will have three technical components: (1) mainstreaming biodiversity into selected government and economic sectors; (2) mainstreaming biodiversity into the private sector; and (3) institutional strengthening and generation of biodiversity information for policymaking.
The project will be implemented in partnership with the Ministry of the Environment and the Brazilian Biodiversity Fund (FUNBIO), and numerous government, private and NGO partners, including the Instituto Chico Mendes for Biodiversity Conservation, the Ministries of Agriculture, Agrarian Development, Health, Science and Technology, which will provide an estimated US$75 million in cofinancing funds.
On GEF and the World Bank
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is an instrument for providing grant and concessional funding to achieve global environmental benefits in the six focal areas - climate change; biological diversity; international waters; persistent organic pollutants; land degradation; and ozone layer depletion. GEF also supports the work of the global agreements to combat desertification.
The World Bank Group is one of GEF’s implementing agencies and supports countries in preparing GEF co-financed projects and supervising their implementation. The Bank plays the primary role in ensuring the development and management of investment projects. The Bank draws upon its investment experience in eligible countries to promote investment opportunities and to mobilize private sector, bilateral, multilateral, and other government and non-government sector resources that are consistent with GEF objectives and national sustainable development strategies.