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Brazil spent billions of dollars on World Cup infrastructure, and many are understandably questioning the long-term benefits these investments will bring to local communities.

While many of these criticisms are justified, if one looks beyond the shiny new stadiums—namely, to the city streets—a more positive story emerges. World Cup-related investments helped finance sustainable transport systems that will benefit Brazilians long after the final whistle blows.

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Brazil’s farms are major, global producers of beef, soybeans, sugarcane, coffee, rice, and more. Yet they’re also major producers of greenhouse gas emissions.

Two new resources aim to reduce the emissions intensity of Brazil’s agricultural sector. The guidance offers an emissions accounting framework for all companies with agricultural operations—whether they produce animals or plants for food, fiber, biofuels, drugs, or other purposes. The calculation tool drills down into specific practices and emissions-intensive subsectors like soy, corn, cotton, wheat, rice, sugar cane, and cattle.

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As the struggle continues to protect forests around the world, REDD+ implementers should look to cultivate and strengthen institutions and mechanisms of accountability.

Though REDD+ includes an international accountability mechanism, case studies in Brazil and Indonesia, where civil society participated in and challenged land-use decisions, demonstrate that this will probably be insufficient for achieving REDD+ goals.

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Improving developing cities’ traffic safety is a critical task for ensuring that these growing urban centers become safe, equitable places to live. A key part of achieving this safety? Sustainable urban design.

The connection between safety and justice is a major theme of the upcoming World Urban Forum (WUF7), organized by UN-HABITAT, which this year focuses on “urban equity in development—cities for life.” At the event, EMBARQ experts will host a Cities Safer by Design for All networking session. The event will convene key experts and explore ways that urban design can improve safety—and in turn, justice—in developing cities around the world.

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The global effort to save forests in developing countries, known as “REDD+,” would benefit from a set of tools that hold governments to account for their commitments. These accountability tools need to be integrated into national REDD+ programs.

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Brazil has developed a suite of sector-specific greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation actions that it estimates will result in a reduction of 36.1 percent to 38.9 percent below a projected hypothetical baseline in 2020.

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It is not possible to effectively address climate change without substantive [greenhouse gas] GHG emission reductions by the transport sector. But putting the pieces together – especially in developing countries – will require fine-tuning transportation climate finance readiness to match growing demand.

A new report for the German International Cooperation (Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)) outlines seven routes governments in the developing world can take to accelerate investment in low-carbon transport.

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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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Staples, Inc., the world’s largest reseller of office products, is in the midst of adapting its sourcing practices to ensure that its products meet not only its own sustainable procurement policy, but the requirements of the U.S. Lacey Act. Under the Lacey

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Brazil is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world. What is less known is that the country is the fourth largest industrial roundwood (timber left as logs, not sawn into planks) and wood pulp producer and ninth largest paper producer in the world. Brazil’s forest sector contributed 5 percent to the national gross domestic product in 2012. Brazil’s forests are not only home to communities and a haven for biodiversity, they are also part of the country’s economic backbone.

Brazil’s government has made impressive progress towards balancing forest protection and production. In 2012, deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon dropped to its lowest rate in more than two decades. Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research has pioneered the use of satellite data to prevent illegal logging. And the forest sector uses the Forest Source Document system (Documento de Origem Florestal, DOF), a sophisticated electronic system to track the wood flow throughout the supply chain.

Despite these positive steps, illegal logging and associated trade in the Amazon continues. Beyond the negative social and environmental impacts, illegal logging poses a serious problem for businesses producing legal wood products. With a price difference of up to 40 percent, legal wood simply cannot compete with cheaper illegal wood.

To reduce illegal logging and support the legal actors in the forest sector, Brazil must strengthen its forest control systems and policies.

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The world's cities are about to get a lot busier. Today, more than 50 percent of the global population lives in cities; by 2050, that figure will have risen to 75 percent.

This mass migration to cities could result in crowded streets rife with air pollution, traffic accidents and congestion. Or it could see a boom in clean, compact urban centres with safe, healthy communities. The way the world's cities operate in the future will be shaped by how they are designed and developed now.

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WRI Brasil will be hosting an international seminar on corporate mobility and sustainable cities in Sao Paulo. The recent riots in Brazil demonstrate societal demand for improved transportation, as well as its value to Brazilian citizens. Solutions to these issues are complex, particularly in big cities, and require the participation of the private, public and civil society sectors. As part of WRI's Sustainable Cities Initiative, this event discusses the role of the private sector in potential partnerships that promote more sustainable urban transport options.

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