New WRI research shows that bringing life back to degraded lands in Latin America and the Caribbean would yield $23 billion in net benefits over 50 years.
Degraded lands—lands that have lost some degree of their natural productivity through human activity—account for over 20 percent of forest and agricultural lands in Latin America and the Caribbean.
A new satellite alert system on Global Forest Watch tracks weekly tree cover loss throughout Brazil. The tool can help government officials, law enforcement agencies and even the public keep an eye on the country's forests.
Now that the Olympic torch has been extinguished after the 2016 Summer Games, a question that faces every Olympic host city now can be posed to Rio de Janeiro: was it worth it for its residents? While some overall long-term benefits may be in doubt, the answer is definitely yes when it comes to public transport.
Natural infrastructure, strategically managed natural and open spaces like forests or wetlands, can direct more clean water to cities by controlling water flows, preventing sediment buildup and absorbing pollutants before they flow into waterways.
Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil's sixth-largest state and a major agricultural producer, recently committed to go carbon-neutral. The initiative will help the country meet its national and international goals to reduce its overall emissions 37 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.
These new commitments, part of Initiative 20x20, already fulfill a quarter of the restoration goal set forth in Brazil's national climate plan to restore and reforest 12 million hectares by 2030.
WRI worked with Brazil’s Ministry of Cities on technical guidelines for Caixa, the Brazilian federal funding agency, which led to $4 billion in investment for 63 high-quality urban mobility projects in 56 Brazilian cities. The guidelines will be applied to transform car-oriented streets into corridors that prioritize non-motorized and public transport, fostering sustainable urban development.
Brazil wants to invest in projects that transform transportation arteries through its Growth Acceleration Program (PAC), but in most cities municipal staff in charge of developing projects lack the necessary training. Likewise, the evaluation of technical standards for Ministry projects is scattered across numerous Caixa municipal offices, where technical staff rarely have the expertise to analyze projects that will shape sustainable urban development in the coming decades.
Building on a decade of cooperation with the Ministry of Cities, WRI’s cities team in Brazil was chosen to lead the development of first-of-its-kind guidelines for Caixa, the agency responsible for providing loans and monitoring project implementation, to assess the quality of all urban mobility projects and to target federal funds only to those that meet the guidelines’ criteria. The 107 criteria now consolidated into a Ministry of Cities document are grouped into nine modules that cover issues such as priority bus lanes, sidewalks, bicycle paths and road safety standards.
WRI then piloted the guidelines in four large cities – Florianópolis, Joinville, Juiz de Flora and Pelotas – and offered recommendations that these cities followed to improve their projects. The guidelines were launched at an event co-hosted by the Ministry of Planning and Caixa, and distributed at an event on urban sustainable mobility that drew over 160 people from 40 cities.
The guidelines have led to $4 billion in investment in 63 high-quality urban mobility projects in 56 cities and are on track to become mandatory for all new urban transport projects that seek federal funding. The team will refine the guidelines based on feedback from the Ministry of Cities as the projects proceed, helping designers and decision-makers to plan the next generation of urban mobility projects across Brazil.
Success Stories for Brazilian Cities
This paper explores strategies and approaches that effectively minimize risks for private investors in Brazil’s transport sector.