Head of the Amazon Fund Department at Brazilian Development Bank, Juliana Santiago speaks at the high-level closing plenary session from the second day of the Global Landscapes Forum 2015, in Paris, France alongside COP21.

The closing ceremony takes a closer look at some of the initiatives that emerged through the Forum and offers a space for tracking progress as well as outlining next steps.

Juliana Santiago speaks about the achievements of the Amazon Fund to reduce deforestation in Brazil.

Sunday, 6 December 2015
Global Landscapes Forum, Paris, France
#GLFCOP21 #ThinkLandscape


Ladies and gentlemen, in the past years, we could observe a significant reduction of deforestation rates in the Amazon region. Deforestation rates have reduced by 80 percent.

To maintain this rate and to go further, to reduce more, even more efforts need to be done. The turning point in Brazil’s efforts to curb deforestation was the implementation of the national strategic plan to prevent and control deforestation in the Amazon region. This policy was built as a pact and joint effort between the federal government ministries, the Amazonian states, civil society and the scientific community. And this might be one of the main reasons for the results we have seen.

In this contest of deforestation reduction, the Brazilian Government and society created the Amazon Fund – a pioneering initiative to reward the results obtained by Brazil and REDD+. And which aims to support implementation of further actions to reduce deforestation and emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. The Amazon Fund was formally established in 2008, having the Government of Norway as its first donor, and followed by the Government of Germany.

To date, the fund has donations to the tune of $1 billion and a portfolio of 77 projects in the total amount of more than half-a-billion dollars. Over this past seven years of operation, the fund has shown that it’s possible to: build a significant portfolio of projects that includes a wide range of activities and institutions with operations in the Amazon region; to ensure a robust and transparent process of selecting projects with special attention to the rise of traditional of indigenous populations; to prioritize the most effective actions to confront the deforestation vectors, and; to develop efficient mechanisms of resource distribution to communities and small institutions through other partners’ organizations.

The existence of the fund has helped to consolidate support for forest protection, raise their profile, and improve the governance of relevant environmental institutions. And also provide adequate resources to initiatives that were under-funded or not funded at all.

The Amazon Fund has also supported capacity building to governmental institutions and civil society that works in the Amazon region. Likewise, it can be said that the Amazon Fund has raised further awareness of the Brazilian Development Bank, the manager of the fund, to the enormous challenge of reconciling the development agenda with forest conservation. The efforts to reduce deforestation must also be aligned with fostering a sustainable and more efficient use of the land so that rural economic growth contributes to the protection of the environment instead of being one of the deforestation drivers.

In the long term, sustainable forestry that integrates the traditional and indigenous populations, the private and institutional markets, is indispensable if we are to succeed in the endeavor of protecting the planet’s forests. The importance of reducing deforestation goes beyond the climate agenda, and a reduction of the systemic risk associated with rising global temperatures. Because, reducing deforestation also means sustainable development, with social inclusion and respect for other forms of life that share this planet with us.

Brazil has delivered a relevant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by curbing deforestation. Other countries are also concerned with the rising of global temperatures and are contributing with financial and technical resources. The benefits for reducing deforestation are global.

The resources that have been applied so far have managed to reduce deforestation, but have not succeeded yet in establishing a new economic model that coexists with the biggest tropical forest in the world.

On behalf of the Brazilian Development Bank and the Amazon Fund, we are proud to be part of this global process. And we are optimistic that, based on the recent announcements of new financial commitments to forests that some countries made last week, plus further mobilization of other rich and developing tropical forest countries, we can achieve even better results.

The motto of the Amazon Fund states: “Brazil protects it, the world supports it, and everybody wins.”

Inspired by Salina, I hope that the future history books might say something like: “Some countries and people have joined efforts to protect the planet for future generations.”

2015 Global Landscapes Forum: Juliana Santiago – Closing Keynote

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