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A high-level delegation of officials from Myanmar visited Brazil in early July 2017 to learn about how Brazil successfully reduced deforestation in the Amazon, the largest contiguous tropical forest area in the world.

By Khin Hnin Myint, Programme Coordinator, UN-REDD/Myanmar

To support the process of developing a national REDD+ strategy for Myanmar, a high-level delegation of officials from five ministries visited Brazil in early July 2017 to learn about how Brazil successfully reduced deforestation in the Amazon, the largest contiguous tropical forest area in the world.

H.E Ohn Winn, Union Minister of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MONREC), and head of the delegation, said, “Since REDD+ involves many sectors, we gained a lot through many discussions with relevant entities during this trip. For example, we learnt how the agriculture sector managed to boost productivity while also helping to reduce deforestation rates, and how the private sector could help farmers to adapt to climate change-related issues.”

Myanmar Visit Brazil

Besides Union Minister H.E Ohn Winn and other officials from MONREC, the Ministries of Home Affairs, Planning and Finance, the State Counselor’s Office, and Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation were represented in the delegation.

The nine-day visit focused on how public and private institutions have coordinated their actions to fulfill cross-sectoral goals and the roles and responsibilities of different actors at different levels, to attain the ultimate goal of reducing deforestation.  Meetings were held with the Brazilian Cooperation Agency, Ministries of Foreign Affairs; Environment; Science, Technology, Innovation and Communication; and Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply; the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources, the National institute of Spatial Research, the Brazilian Development Bank, the National Confederation of Agriculture, and offices of the government of the State of Para.

H.E U Ohn Winn, Union Minister for Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MONREC) led a delegation to Brazil to learn from the country's experience of reducing deforestation. Photocredit: UNDP Myanmar.

Key Brazilian experiences of interest to the Myanmar delegation: 

  • Efforts to control and reduce deforestation go back more than 30 years and started formally with the establishment of a land monitoring system in the Amazon beginning in 1988. Since then, Brazil has been able to set up an environmental management system coordinated horizontally (cross sectoral) and vertically (administrative levels), and where the policy and strategy level is strongly linked with law enforcement, forest control, environmental licensing, and property registration.
  • Action plans for curbing deforestation in the Amazon were initiated in 2004 during the presidency of Mr. Lula de Silva, who gave strong political support to the cause of reducing deforestation.
  • The backbone of implementing the action plan is targeted actions in critical areas of deforestation and priority municipalities, for which timely and continuously up-to-date information provided by the monitoring and information system is crucial.
  • An Action Plan covering the Cerrado-Savanna forests has been in place since 2010 and has four main pillars of action, namely: (1) Land tenure and territorial planning, (2) Environmental monitoring and control, (3) Incentives for sustainable activities, and (4) Regulatory measures and economic tools.
  • Private sector and local government involvement at all stages of the action plans has been critical. The productivity of grain production (soya, maize) has increased since the focus of production has been on avoiding deforestation.
  • The importance of vertical and horizontal integration in implementing action plans across sectors, scales and administrative levels;
  • The need to identify hotspots and priority areas for actions including definition of suitable criteria for prioritization;
  • The importance of high level political commitment and the need for a suitable support structure within public and private institutions at the operational level;
  • The need for research and technology development in Agriculture and Forestry including Agroforestry and Climate Smart Agriculture complementing REDD+ policies;
  • The potential for the agricultural sector to contribute to low carbon development and maximization of productivity in the existing agricultural and pasture land;
  • The vast potential of freely available open-source and web-based instruments and tools for forest and land monitoring; and
  • The need for a long-term financial mechanism (including identification of concerned institutions) for REDD+ and Environmental Funds (e.g. Amazon Fund).

Considering the differences in historical development, natural conditions, land management and administrative structures, the most relevant lessons from the visit were:

  • The importance of vertical and horizontal integration in implementing action plans across sectors, scales and administrative levels;
  • The need to identify hotspots and priority areas for actions including definition of suitable criteria for prioritization;
  • The importance of high level political commitment and the need for a suitable support structure within public and private institutions at the operational level;
  • The need for research and technology development in Agriculture and Forestry including Agroforestry and Climate Smart Agriculture complementing REDD+ policies;
  • The potential for the agricultural sector to contribute to low carbon development and maximization of productivity in the existing agricultural and pasture land;
  • The vast potential of freely available open-source and web-based instruments and tools for forest and land monitoring; and
  • The need for a long-term financial mechanism (including identification of concerned institutions) for REDD+ and Environmental Funds (e.g. Amazon Fund).

The visit was supported by UNDP Myanmar, UNDP Brazil, the Brazilian Agency of International Cooperation (ABC), and funded through the UN-REDD National Programme, Myanmar. To read more about the study visit, see here.

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