Brazil is an incredibly diverse country – when mentioned, the country’s name instantly conjures images of a multi-ethnic, culturally diverse society, not to mention its art, beaches and the Amazon rain forest. Seldom does the Cerrado (savanna, pronounced say-ha-dough) make an appearance in popular imagery regarding Brazil.
Yet, it should be impossible to disregard the importance of an area that is equivalent in size to Western Europe, contains the second largest biome in South America and is the world’s most biodiverse savanna
It is in the Cerrado, this richly diverse part of central Brazil that two particularly interesting IDB projects are taking shape: the National Forest Inventory and “Inhotim: Global Change,” support for the Instituto Inhotim, located in the state of Minas Gerais, in a transition zone between the Atlantic Forest and the Cerrado. The first project builds government capacity, while the latter raises awareness on issues related to climate change, biodiversity and adaptation.
The expansion of agricultural frontiers and the unsustainable exploitation of timber for charcoal production in the last four decades have led to a progressive and severe loss of thousands of km2 of the Cerrado. This continuous degradation makes the biome even more vulnerable to the adverse effects of global warming.
Together with the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply, our hope is that implementing a National Forest Inventory and consolidating the National Forestry Information System will generate effective instruments of public policy. Good quality and updated data of the Cerrado Biome will be key to support the climate change policies and GHG emissions reductions committed to by Brazil, filling the information gap about this Biome and promoting the definition of effective policies for central Brazil.
Raising public awareness of both the importance of the Cerrado and the possible effects of climate change, the Inhotim project seeks to build upon the institute’s innovative programs as sustainable development models that include biodiversity adaptation and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, and bringing together the public and private sectors.
Projects developed in Brazil with climate change and sustainability at their core offer huge potential to promote substantial emissions reduction and to provide lessons and good practices that can be replicated throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. One of the missions of the Inter-American Development Bank is to support our borrowing member countries’ efforts to reach their Sustainable Development Goals and climate-related commitments such as the iNDCs, which, in Brazil’s case includes reducing 43 percent of 2005’s GHG emissions level by 2030.
Let’s talk about climate change and sustainability in the comments below, or on Twitter @BIDcambioclima.
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