The Summary for Policymakers aims to support decision making in the public and private spheres by outlining the main results consolidated in the ‘First Brazilian Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Assessment’ by the Brazilian Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.
According to the authors of the ‘Diagnosis’ of the Assessment, governance of biodiversity and ecosystem services in Brazil is “bipolar”: on the one hand, the country has strong and capable institutions; on the other, there are problems of infrastructure, slow processes, legal, social and ecological conflicts and inefficiency in actions.
Given that Brazil is the holder of the greatest biodiversity on the planet, the country’s decline of biological wealth has a large impact beyond its borders.
8 November 2018: The first Brazilian assessment of the country’s biodiversity and ecosystem services shows why conservation and sustainable use of Brazil’s environmental assets should be central, transversal and strategic elements – not appendices or obstacles – in the socioeconomic development of the country. The document was signed by more than 120 scientists, and represents the most complete survey on the theme ever carried out in Brazil.
The press release notes that the Summary for Policymakers of the ‘First Brazilian Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Assessment’ was launched on 8 November 2018, nine days before the start of the 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), held in Egypt from 17-29 November, and two months before the new Brazilian president and State governors take office. The press release emphasizes that the launch marks “a moment as critical as appropriate for the sustainable development agenda in the international and domestic conjuncture,” given that Brazil is the holder of the greatest biodiversity on the planet and the country’s decline of biological wealth has a large impact beyond its borders.
The Summary for Policymakers aims to support decision making in the public and private spheres by outlining the main results consolidated in the First Assessment prepared by a group of more than 120 researchers gathered in the Brazilian Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (BPBES).
The document mentions that the Brazilian territory hosts about 42,000 plant species and 9,000 vertebrate species, including high rates of endemism, and almost 130,000 invertebrate species known to science. Of these, 1,173 animal species and more than 2,118 plant species are endangered. According to the assessment, the country is home to 305 indigenous peoples, totaling almost 900,000 people speaking 274 languages. Five million Brazilians belong to traditional knowledge communities that occupy one fourth of the national territory. “Family agriculture” produces 70% of the food consumed by the Brazilian population, and 85 out of 141 economically important cultivated species depend on pollinators.
Contrary to the principles established in the Aichi Targets, Paris Agreement and SDGs, Brazil is systematically dismantling its environmental policy.
According to the authors of the ‘Diagnosis’ of the Assessment, governance of biodiversity and ecosystem services in Brazil is “bipolar”: on the one hand, the country has strong and capable institutions; on the other, there are problems of infrastructure, slow processes, legal, social and ecological conflicts and inefficiency in actions. With regard to international agreements, the authors highlight that Brazil is a “protagonist abroad,” as was the case in Nagoya, when the Aichi Biodiversity Targets were agreed, and in the negotiations of the Paris Agreement on climate change and the SDGs. However, they stress, internally the country does exactly the contrary to the principles established in those agreements by “systematically dismantling its environmental policy.”
The Summary for Policymakers points out that the window of opportunity to consolidate the basis for a sustainable future in Brazil is limited. The text explains that this would require placing biodiversity and ecosystem services immediately at the center of the economic discussions, in a cross-cutting way, together with a discussion on how to mitigate the threatening drivers.
The Assessment comprises five chapters: introduction of the assessment, its conceptual framework and definitions; nature and quality of life; trends and impacts of drivers of biodiversity and ecosystem services degradation and restoration; current and future interactions between nature and society; and governance and decision-making options across scales and sectors. The assessment was developed in close consultations with representatives of the federal government, civil society, the private sector, and indigenous peoples.
Inspired by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), BPBES was created in 2015. It comprises an independent group of about 120 authors, including university professors, researchers, environmental managers, and decision makers. BPBES aims to produce periodic syntheses of the best available knowledge, generated by academic science and traditional knowledge, on biodiversity and ecosystem services and their relationship with human welfare. In doing so, the Platform is considering six continental biomes (Amazon Forest, Atlantic Forest, Caatinga, Cerrado, Pantanal, Campos Sulinos), as well as coastal and marine areas. [Publication: First Brazilian Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Assessment: Summary for Policymakers (in Portuguese)] [BPBES Press Release] [BPBES Launch Announcement]