Civil society calls attention to the Cerrado biome for the climate balance at COP27

04 novembro 2022

In two side events, organisations discuss the role of local people in protecting one of the largest carbon stocks and biodiversity of the world and address responsibility to the EU
In two side events, organisations discuss the role of local people in protecting one of the largest carbon stocks and biodiversity of the world and address responsibility to the EU


The Brazilian Cerrado, the world's most biodiverse savanna and the second-largest front of deforestation and conversion of the planet after the Amazon, has already witnessed deforestation and ecosystem conversion of half of its territory for massive commodity production. The objective of two side events in the 27th Climate Conference is to create an understanding of the protection of the Cerrado biome, emphasizing the solutions that local peoples and traditional knowledge bring to this global challenge. The 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference will take place from 6 to 18 November in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
On the opening date of COP27, Panda Hub will hold the event The role of local people to protect one of the largest carbon stock and biodiversity: the Cerrado, with the participation of Ane Alencar, Director of Science at IPAM (Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazônia); Sandra Braga, representative of the Coordenação Nacional de Articulação de Quilombos (Conaq); Jean Timmers, Policy and Advocacy Manager for Deforestation and Conversion-free supply chains at WWF; and Tiago Reis, representing Trase. The debate is scheduled for 3pm, Sharm-el-Sheik local time.
On Thursday, the 10th, at 5h15 pm, a second side event will be held at Brazil Hub, organized by the Institute for Society, Population and Nature (ISPN) in partnership with Fase, WWF-Brasil, IPAM, Instituto Cerrados e Rede Cerrado. This time, the focus will be on the EU-Mercosur Association Agreement, the deforestation-free products due diligence, and the challenges for Cerrado. With the agreement's implementation, the risks of forest-only-focused approaches may create an even more considerable rebound pressure of destruction on non-forest ecosystems, their local communities, and indigenous peoples.
“The Cerrado is a strategic biome for Brazil. It is a giant in the production of food, but also a giant in the production of ecosystem services”, emphasizes Ane Alencar. “The destruction of the Cerrado not only threatens life in a broader sense, including that of traditional peoples and communities, but also food production,” she adds.
Tiago Reis, who shares the debate table with Alencar on the 6th, highlights the importance of including the Cerrado in the scope of European legislation against deforestation. “In regions in the Cerrado where the EU sources from, 20% of recent agricultural conversion would not be covered if only forests and other wooded lands were included. Therefore this scope of the EU regulation needs to be expanded to all types of native vegetation”, he says.
The Cerrado is the second largest biome in Brazil and Latin America. It corresponds to about 24% of the Brazilian territory, occupying a total area of more than 2 million km², more extensive than France, Portugal, Spain, and Italy combined. Rich in water, it contains springs of important hydrographic basins in Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay.

Letters to EU

The events will highlight a letter sent to the political institutions of the European Union from local communities organized through a national network called rede Cerrado, recognising its efforts in building legislation to curb deforestation in the Global South and demanding three actions not yet regarded in the document approved by the European Parliament in September. For local communities from the Brazilian savanna, legislation must include natural ecosystems (adding non-forest ecosystems), guarantee transparency to the source of the products and demand respect for human rights.
Maria de Lourdes de Souza Nascimento, the coordinator of the Rede Cerrado, expects to see strict legislation passed by the European Union. “Unbridled deforestation wants to destroy the air we breathe. I know the importance of this biome in our lives. With the inclusion of the Cerrado in European legislation, we will all be strengthened. We need to contain deforestation in Brazil’s water tank,” she says. The conservation of the Amazon also depends on the Cerrado’s health. 
ISPN’s public policy advisor, Guilherme Eidt, highlights that the Cerrado is at risk and needs attention as much as the Amazon. “It is important that European regulations ensure the inclusion of other natural ecosystems in their scope. The European Parliament approved an ambitious text that must be guaranteed in the dialogue with the other European institutions. We believe in another development model that generates income from environmental conservation”, suggests Eidt.


Savanna deforestation

For decades, the Cerrado has witnessed accelerated deforestation and ecosystem conversion for commodity production[3] . Nevertheless, the protection of the Cerrado is essential for the conservation of global biodiversity and climate, as well as for local food security, welfare and water supplies.
Recent data released by the Tamo de Olho initiative revealed that deforestation authorisations have been issued by an environmental agency in the state of Bahia, in the northeast region of Brazil, even if applicants do not comply with legal requirements. This means that even legal deforestation in Brazil can present some degree of illegality.
The crop area in Brazil tripled between 1985 and 2020, from 19 million hectares to 55 million, according to data from Mapbiomas. Out of these, 36 million hectares are dedicated exclusively to soy, in an area larger than Italy. More than half of this area is located in the Brazilian savanna, the Cerrado, which concentrates 65% of the soy associated with deforestation in the country. There were 17 million hectares deforested for soy in the last 36 years. Of the total production, almost 15% of the soy imported by the European Union is produced in the central biome of Brazil. In this sense, what happens in traditional Brazilian territories is directly impacted by the decisions taken in Brussels.
Rich in natural resources and crowded with local communities, the most important savanna in the world holds a pivotal role in alternative development. However, it faces threats that are result ing rivers deaths and high figures of rural conflicts.
With these side events, the organizations want to contribute to the debate on human rights, territorial rights and compliance with the Glasgow Declaration on Forests and Land Use in relation to the climate challenges. It also has the objective to create a dialogue with representatives of the private sector and (sub)national governments.


The role of local people to protect one of the largest carbon stock and biodiversity: the Cerrado

6th November at 3pm
Panda Hub
Link para a transmissão:


EU-Mercosur Association Agreement and the deforestation-free products due diligence: challenges for the Cerrado and safeguards debate

10th November at 11am
Brazil Hub
Centenas de espécies vegetais do Cerrado estão protegidas no Parque Grande Sertão Veredas
© Bento Viana/WWF-Brasil
Cerrado de Pé Association collected 29 tons of seeds in the last 5 years, positively impacting the lives of over 100 families in Chapada dos Veadeiros, in Goiás
© Marcio Sanches / WWF-Brasil
Frutos do Cerrado geram renda para comunidades locais
© Bento Viana/WWF-Brasil