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New Study Reveals Weaknesses in Brazil’s Forest and Environmental Funds

Brazil is a big investor in environmental stewardship, including several government-managed funds meant to protect the Brazilian Amazon rainforest. However, new analysis published by two civil society partners of WRI’s Governance of Forests Initiative in Brazil shows that in many cases, these funds aren’t being properly managed.

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New Palm Oil Production Maps Mark a Milestone in Transparency

A new initiative from WRI and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) aims to shed light on how oil palm concessions affect forests.

Global Forest Watch Commodities (GFW-Commodities) combines the RSPO’s maps of certified sustainable palm oil production sites with global forest data—information that can empower companies to manage their forests and supply chains more sustainably.

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What Will it Take to End the “Resource Curses?”

The “resource curse" describes the paradox where countries rich in oil, gas, and minerals remain largely impoverished. Better transparency—both in how governments spend extractive revenues and how natural resource decisions are made—could help tackle this problem. While some new initiatives are making progress on this front, more needs to be done to ensure that drilling and mining doesn’t come at the expense of communities and the land, water, and wildlife they rely on.

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4 Reasons Assessing Governance Matters for Forests and People

The world’s forests and the people who depend on them face a host of challenges—including deforestation, rural poverty, and degradation of critical ecosystem services. These negative outcomes are often exacerbated by weak forest governance, including low levels of transparency and participation in forest decision-making and as well as poor oversight of forest activities. To tackle these issues, decision-makers need better information about the institutional, political, and social factors that drive governance failures.

An updated tool from WRI’s Governance of Forests Initiative aims to help policy-makers, civil society organizations, and other forest stakeholders evaluate governance of their countries’ forests. Assessing Forest Governance: The Governance of Forests Initiative Indicator Framework updates the original GFI indicators, which were published in 2009 and piloted by WRI’s civil society partners in Brazil, Cameroon, and Indonesia. Using the indicators, stakeholders can identify strengths and weaknesses in forest governance and develop reforms that benefit both people and planet.

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Open Government Partnership: It’s Time for Deeper Engagement with the Environment Sector

The Open Government Partnership (OGP)—which held its most recent summit about three weeks ago—has made tremendous progress in its two years of existence. The OGP, a voluntary partnership between governments and civil society, aims to make governments more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens. Discussions at the summit made it clear that the partnership is already demonstrating impact. Sixty-two governments have now joined OGP, making 1,115 commitments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.

The Summit provided a real sense that there’s a growing community who really “gets” the importance of open government to meeting development goals. Yet there was still a gap in the discourse in one particular area—the environment.

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Through a process of robust analysis and global engagement, ACT 2015 will develop a proposal for designing a new international climate agreement in 2015 that can catalyze climate action and move the world onto a low-carbon and climate resilient pathway.

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