São Paulo city viewed from Cantareira State Park. © Felipe Fittipaldi

Stories in Brazil

Conservation and Development in Brazil

Open Letter from TNC

By Mark Tercek and Antonio Werneck

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) would like to share our perspective on the current debate on the environment and development in Brazil.  TNC is a non-governmental conservation organization that works in more than 70 countries around the world.  For more than 60 years, we have worked collaboratively with local communities, governments, and the private sector to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends

We have worked with partners in Brazil for nearly three decades to deploy solid science and hands-on projects to provide solutions that bring together multiple stakeholders in order to advance our conservation mission.  We are proud of all that Brazil has accomplished to conserve its unique biodiversity and contribute to global sustainability, and we are pleased to have been a partner in these efforts.

TNC is non-partisan, and we believe that people and nature can thrive and prosper together, in harmony.  We believe that conservation at scale with economic and social development is the key to achieve our mission.  We believe that resilient and successful businesses are built on strategies that include sustainability and environmental protection at their core.

TNC has published a series of opinion pieces that demonstrate how Brazil’s government, private sector, and civil society have worked together to build long lasting solutions that benefit people and nature.

We have highlighted progress for indigenous communities, sustainable agriculture, climate action and, just yesterday, smart infrastructure and integrated landscape planning, through tools like the Environmental Blueprint for the Tapajós river basin, prominently showcased in an event at The Museum of Tomorrow, in Rio de Janeiro.  All Brazilians should be proud of the progress we have made together.

Lasting progress is only possible through robust dialogue and open, frank, and inclusive debate, where all sides base their arguments on solid, scientific information.  We need such a debate today, more than ever to

  • Sustain Brazil’s excellent achievements in protecting nature, especially in the Amazon and Cerrado;
  • Reverse the recent increase in deforestation;
  • Contribute to a clearer legal framework that enables responsible businesses to prosper;
  • Encourage investment in deforestation-free supply chains by the global private sector;
  • Attract foreign investment, both private and public funds, to help finance Brazil’s sustainable development; and, ultimately
  • Enable Brazil to maintain its prominent international leadership role in addressing climate change and ensuring global sustainability.

Polarization of positions and radicalization of rhetoric between environmentalists and certain sectors of agribusiness only narrow this space for dialogue and diminish the chances of finding the solutions that Brazilian society requires and needs.

Brazil has made itself into an agricultural superpower. There is no reason why Brazil could not be an environmental superpower too!

The Nature Conservancy is committed to helping Brazil take its rightful place as a global leader in sustainable development.  We stand ready to collaborate with all sectors to make this hopeful vision a reality.

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