Brazil: Biodiversity Conservation in the Cerrado Savanna Gets a US$ 6 million Boost from GEF

May 6, 2010

WASHINGTON, May 6, 2010 – The World Bank approved today a US$ 6 million grant to the Sustainable Cerrado Initiative. This is the second and final part of a total US$ 13 million Global Environmental Facility (GEF) grant, which seeks to guarantee the conservation of the most biodiverse savanna in the world and that covers nearly 25% of the Brazilian territory. The first part of the grant, of US$ 7 million, was approved in March.

“It is with great joy that we received the news of the allocation of US$ 6 million from the Global Environment Facility, in a partnership with the World Bank, for the protection and conservation of the Cerrado in Brazil. This is an important biome for our country and for the planet, not only from the standpoint of its biodiversity conservation, but also due to our responsibility to meet the target of reducing emissions associated with illegal deforestation “said Izabella Teixeira, Environment Minister.

The Minister added that this new grant will enable the Brazilian Ministry of Environment to have more resources to advance on the Plan to Prevent and Control illegal Deforestation in the Cerrado as well  to invest on associated programs for  biodiversity adaptation and conservation, not only at the Federal level,  particularly with projects from the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio), but also at the state level by supporting initiatives such as the Tocantins Sustainable Cerrado Project, recently approved, and the Goias Sustainable Cerrado Project.

The initiative, to be implemented by the Brazil’s federal and state governments, with the World Bank support, comprises four coordinated projects:  The Goias Sustainable Project  with the Brazilian state of Goias (US$ 3 million) and the Cerrado Biodiversity Project of the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation – ICMBio (US$ 3million), both approved today, and the Cerrado Policy and Biome Monitoring Project of the Brazilian Environment Ministry (US$ 4 million) and the Tocantins Sustainable Cerrado Project, with the state of Tocantins, approved last March.

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 deforestation rates of about 1.4 million hectares annually (almost twice the current Amazon deforestation rate), resulting in about 48% of the Cerrado having already been lost.

“With the approval of this grant today, we inaugurate the first phase of the Sustainable Cerrado Initiative. These four projects, combined under a single umbrella, will foster the cooperation among federal, states governments and institutions and ensure concerted actions to achieve this long-standing goal of the biome's conservation and the sustainable use of its resources by local communities “said Makhtar Diop, World Bank Director for Brazil.

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 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.
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