Civil organisations send to the UN a report on deforestation in Brazil

06 abril 2022

By Apib, ISA, Conectas, OC e WWF-Brasil 

Five Brazilian civil society organizations - Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB), Conectas Human Rights, Socio-environmental Institute (ISA), the Climate Observatory Laboratory and WWF-Brazil - filed on March 30th a report to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reporting on the status of non-compliance with commitments on reducing deforestation in the Amazon.

The action, which takes place on the same day as the “green trial” of the Federal Supreme Court (STF, in Portuguese), addresses issues that will be on the STF's agenda, such as the stoppage and abandonment of the Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Deforestation in the Legal Amazon (PPCDAm, in Portuguese) and the emptying of the Amazon Fund.

The report also addresses the impact of bills aimed at regularising land grabbing in the Amazon as one of the factors driving deforestation. The work also includes specific recommendations for the building of a consistent public policy to reduce deforestation rates.

The choice of the UN High Commissioner is due to the fact that in 2022 the 4th Cycle of Universal Periodic Review (UPR, in Portuguese) of Brazil will begin at the UN Human Rights Council. Held every four and a half years, this soft law mechanism aims to generate diplomatic and political pressure to favour the implementation of human rights at the national level. Member States assess the status of implementation of human rights in the country under review and make recommendations on concrete measures that should be taken. Assessments are based on a “cycle” logic: in current cycles, countries being evaluated are held accountable for implementing recommendations adopted in previous cycles.

In November, the country will be evaluated by the other UN member states and will be held accountable for all its international commitments, especially on the recommendations voluntarily adopted in the 3rd Cycle of the UPR of Brazil (2017) – which includes to “continue its efforts to implement the National Climate Policy to reduce deforestation in the Amazon”. In 2023 (probably in the first half), Brazil will need to comment on the recommendations received from member states in the 4th Cycle, informing whether it will adopt or reject them – in a public and televised session of the UN Human Rights Council.

The organizations' proposals are inserted in a context of environmental dismantling in which actions that were successfully developed have been paralysed. For example, the Amazon Fund, which for many years was the main source of funding for actions aimed at keeping the forest preserved and which is currently paralysed, without approval of any new project since January 2019, even with almost BRL 3 billion available.

Given this scenario of environmental dismantling, the proposals are well targeted, especially with regard to deforestation, and recommends refusing legislative changes, such as Bill 191, which weaken environmental protection. “Do not promote legislative changes that facilitate or encourage deforestation, especially in the Amazon and Cerrado” and “do not reduce the limits of indigenous territories that have already been demarcated”, are some of the recommendations present in the document.