Brazil: US$ 13 million GEF Grant for Biodiversity Conservation in the Cerrado Savanna

March 18, 2010

WASHINGTON, March18, 2010 – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved today a US$ 13 million grant from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) for the Sustainable Cerrado Initiative, which seeks to guarantee the conservation of the most biodiverse savanna in the world, which covers nearly 25% of the Brazilian territory. The grant will be implemented by the federal and state governments, with World Bank support.

"The Sustainable Cerrado Initiative is a good opportunity for the environment. This US$ 13 million grant from GEF for the first phase of the initiative will be crucial for the Brazilian Environment Ministry to monitor the Cerrado, implement sustainable policies for the entire  biome and  for the States of Tocantins and Goiás , and for the Chico Mendes Institute to create  and implement protected areas. For all these initiatives there will be US$ 29 million in co financing from the Governments and other agencies", said Carlos Minc, Environment Minister.

The Minister added that "this initiative comes at a time when the Ministry released the Cerrado deforestation data, based on which, the climate policy established a target for reducing deforestation in the Cerrado. This is a target announced at COP15 of UNFCCC  by Brazil and detailed when we launched the  plan to combat fires and deforestation in the Cerrado".

"Therefore, this GEF grant comes in a good juncture. The programs are ready; there are several initiatives, such as management practices, with 400 trained farmers. Nearly  10% of farms will already participative in the   rural environmental registry. Hence, these funds came at a right time, and will certainly be put for good use. We want Brazil to protect all biomes, not just the Amazon", said the Minister.

The Cerrado is a unique type of tropical savanna which harbors over 12.000 species of plants and a couple of thousands of species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and freshwater fish. Recent studies, however, have shown that the biome is under stress due to high deforestation rates, an average of 1.4 million hectares yearly (a rate of 0.7%/year). It is estimated that about 48% of the Cerrado has already been lost. If the current trend continues, the biome could disappear by 2085.

"The Sustainable Cerrado Initiative will effectively contribute to Brazil’s conservation policy for the biome by increasing the number of protected areas, promoting the sustainable use and the conservation of rural landscape, and contributing to a more sustainable land management, to the protection of forests and biodiversity and to greater social inclusion,” said Makhtar Diop, World Bank Director for Brazil.

The Initiative will support four coordinated projects: The Cerrado Policy and Biome Monitoring Project of the Brazilian Environment Ministry (US$ 4 million); the Tocantins Sustainable Cerrado Project, with the state of Tocantins (US$ 3 million) which were approved today and  the Goiás Sustainable Cerrado Project, with the state of Goiás (US$3 million), and the Cerrado Biodiversity Protection Project of the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation – ICMBio - (US$ 3 million) which will be approved over the next weeks

“The Sustainable Cerrado Initiative brings an innovative approach to the conservation and sustainable use of this biome which faces several conservation and development challenges. This Initiative will enable  local communities, civil society and the private sector to participate actively in policy formulation and implementation for the effective environmental management of the Cerrado, bringing transparency and accountability”, said Garo Batmanian, World Bank Project Manager

The expected results of these four projects are:

  • An increase in the mosaic of legally protected areas of unique biodiversity in the Cerrado.
  • A more sustainable use of the biome's natural resources including native species by the by medium, large and small farmers, and local communities.
  • Generation of new public policies for the conservation and sustainable use of the Cerrado, as well natural resources management.  
  • Monitor the biome’s status to ensure the effective implementation of the Initiative by creating a public database containing current geophysical, social and environmental information.
Media Contacts
In Brasília
Denise Marinho
Tel : (+5561)3329-1099
In Washington
Patricia da Camara
Tel : (+1 202) 473-4019