Mexico and Brazil Share Experiences on Sustainable Rural Management Policies

During the second week of November 2015, a delegation of sustainable development officials and professionals from Chiapas, Mexico participated in an exchange visit to the Green Municipalities Program (PVM) of the Government of the State of Para, Brazil.

Launched in 2011, the PMV is part of a comprehensive strategy of the Government of Pará to combat deforestation, conserve Amazon environmental resources, and enhance sustainable rural production through strategic planning and environmental land management. It focuses on local pacts against deforestation, and the implementation of the Brazilian Rural Environmental Registry (CAR) and Municipal environmental management structure. The PMV sets a maximum rate of deforestation, and publishes a list those municipalities that have taken steps in controlling illegal logging, encouraging sustainable production, and enforcing rural monitoring. To date, the PMV has helped Pará see a 39% reduction in state deforestation, representing a 24% reduction in the Amazon region.

During the visit to the municipality of Paragominas–the first of the 107 municipalities to participate in voluntary Green Municipalities Program–the Chiapas delegation was able to learn about the process of bottom-up land management, promoted by the Municipal Secretary of the Environment, property owners, and civil society. The delegation also learned about Pará’s Territorial Management Plan, the Sustainable Production Plan of the Municipal Secretary of Environment, and the monitoring system, which uses about 18 satellites with heat detection systems and fire alerts. The system helps enforcement bodies know whether sustainable agricultural and forestry concessions are operating within environmental regulations.

At the end of the exchange, the two sub-national jurisdictions signed a Memorandum of Understanding intended to give rise to an International Technical Cooperation Agreement that will be signed at the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force meeting during the UN Climate Conference in Paris this December. The MOU aims to generate a mutual exchange of ideas and models of public policies, fiscal policy tools, compensation for environmental services, Low-Emission Rural Development, municipal-level environmental management, and rural monitoring systems (such as CAR).

The exchange was made possible thanks to support from the Project of Low-Emission Rural Development promoted by the Sustainable Tropics Alliance. STA partner Pronatura Sur participated in the knowledge exchange as part of the Chiapas delegation.