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Response from Fundação Amazonas Sustentável about the Juma Sustainable Development Reserve, Brazil: “A lot of results overlooked by REDD-Monitor”

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On 15 March 2017, REDD-Monitor wrote a post about the Juma Sustainable Development Reserve, a REDD project in Brazil. The post was based on a documentary by Marie-Martine Buckens, broadcast in February 2017 on Belgian TV.

REDD-Monitor’s post focussed specifically on one issue raised by the film. I wrote:

This post highlights just one aspect raised in the documentary: The impacts of the project on local communities’ livelihoods, and whether they are receiving adequate compensation.

REDD-Monitor received a response today from the Fundação Amazonas Sustentável. “We were unsatisfied about the published article,” wrote Marina Souza, Communication Coordinator at FAS. She added,

In our understanding, it is always important double-checking information, before publishing, with involved stakeholders. This is highly recommended as The REDD Monitor is an acknowledged source of information for REDD.

FAS is always available to clarify and make it available all information related to its projects and programmes. However, we did not receive any communication from The REDD Monitor in regards of such published article. Indeed we are not against publishing anything, we just care about solid data.

Buckens’ documentary included an interview with Virgilio Viana, Executive Director of FAS. I included some extracts from the interview in my post about her documentary. Much of the post consisted of comments from villagers that are critical of the Juma project. One person interviewed in the documentary was particularly concerned about logging operations inside the Juma project.

The response from FAS attributes the following statement to me: “FAS is not helping people who live inside the project area”. This is a straw man argument. I did not write this statement. In fact, what I wrote was the following:

A documentary written and directed by Marie-Martine Buckens, broadcast on Belgian TV in February 2017, questions just how committed FAS really is to helping the people who live inside the project area.

It’s interesting that the response from FAS makes no mention of logging, and does not attempt to address the villagers’ concerns directly. FAS responded in a similar manner after Mark Schapiro made a documentary about the Juma project in 2010.

I particularly like the list of “science-based” papers at the end of the response, almost all of which feature Viana as lead author – the Executive Director of FAS.

The response from FAS is posted here in full and unedited (click on the images for larger versions):

The Juma Sustainable Development Reserve, Brazil: A lot of results overlooked by REDD-Monitor

Introduction

This article is a response to the publication of REDD Monitor disseminated on March 17th , 2017. Unfortunately, the report by REDD Monitor overlooked the results and provided an inaccurate view about the results of the Bolsa Floresta Program and Juma REDD+ Project. This paper provides some facts and invites readers to examine the results of the activities being carried out with more rigor and less inaccuracy. We hope that REDD Monitor publishes this response widely if it does have a transparent and ethical management. We were surprised that the filmmaker or REDD Monitor did not talk to the State Secretary of Environment, the grassroots association or Sustainable Amazonas Foundation (FAS). FAS would like to inform that is available, as it always was, to provide clarification and information about the Juma REDD Project, an initiative with significant results on conservation, welfare and empowerment, and emission reduction in Brazil. If anyone wants any information, please contact comunicacao@fas-amazonas.org.

General information:

The Juma REDD+ project started in 2008 and was the very first gold-level CCB certified project in the Amazon. Since then, the project has accomplished several goals to the area and to the people living within the Juma Sustainable Development Reserve.

The project benefits 38 communities and 476 families, in an area of 589.611,28 hectares. The investments made in Juma Reserve are divided in income generation, life quality, education, empowerment for community leaders, payment for environmental services and support to management of result.

Non-cash benefits

The investments in the communities are not limited to BRL 50 per family. Bolsa Floresta has four components which address issues on income generation, empowerment, education, health, communication, training, transportation, research & development, and monitoring. The BRL 50 per family per month is the first component (Family) and it is a cash-reward to those who voluntarily sign the non-deforestation to native forest agreement. The average annual investment for each family, considering the four components, reaches BRL 1,096 per year.

Such investments are defined by the benefited communities in a participatory approach following FPIC[1] methodology.

It is worth to mention that non-cash benefits, different from what many think, are felt as most important by Juma’s beneficiaries (as shown at figure 2). And those investments have improved people’s livelihood and family income status as shown at figure 3.

In average Bolsa Floresta has invested yearly BRL 445.8 thousand directly at Juma from 2008 to 2016. These figures do not cover transactional costs, FAS’ human resources and other indirect investments.

In addition, FAS is audited in a six-month basis, by pwc-Brazil, since 2008. All auditing reports can be downloaded at FAS website (in Portuguese).

Life quality improvement

About the statement that “FAS is not helping people who live inside the project area”, FAS highlights that an independent survey polls[2] within 38 communities at Juma, carried out in 2011 and 2015, show that the Juma REDD+ Project has been having great impact on social and economic aspects for the riverine people living in the reserve.

Deforestation reduction

According to the Brazilian Institute of Space Research (INPE)[3], deforestation at Juma was 74 hectares in 2008 and decreased to zero in 2015.

By comparing Juma’s baseline[4] with INPE data, the project reduced 6.1 million tCO2e (11,634 hectares) from 2006 to 2015.

FAS, the State of Amazonas, and Marriott International celebrated the issuance of a carbon certificate (400,000 tCO2e) considering emission reductions from 2006 to 2013 – it was the very first carbon certificated issued by the State of Amazonas.

Considering the aforementioned survey poll, the benefited communities believe they have impacted on forest conservation (see below).

Further science-based reports and papers

See below a list publications related to the Juma REDD+ project and PES Bolsa Floresta.

  • Viana, V.; Cenamo, M.; Ribenboim, G.; Tezza, J.; Pavan, M. Juma Sustainable Development Reserve: The First REDD Project In the Brazilian Amazon. Fundação Amazonas Sustentável. Manaus. 2008.
  • CCB – Validation Report. Fundação Amazonas Sustentável – FAS. The Juma Sustainable Development Reserve. Project: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Deforestation in the State of Amazonas, Brazil. September 30, 2008. 119 pages.
  • Viana, V. “Seeing REDD in the Amazon: A Win for People, Trees and Climate.” International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). March 2009. Two pages.
  • Viana, V. “Financing REDD: How Government Funds Can Work With the Carbon Market.” IIED. March 2009. Four pages. In English.
  • Viana, V.; Grieg-Gran, M.; Della-Mea, R.; Ribenboim, G. “The Costs of REDD: Lessons from Amazonas.” IIED. November 2009. Four pages.
  • Viana, V.; Tezza, J.; Ribenboim, G.; Megid, T.; Salviati, V.; Lima, L. “O Valor dos Serviços da Natureza: Subsídios para Políticas Públicas de Serviços Ambientais no Amazonas.” Secretaria de Estado de Meio Ambiente e Desenvolvimento Sustentável. 2010. 72 pages, in Portuguese.
  • Viana, V. “Sustainable Development in Practice: Lessons Learned from Amazonas.” IIED. June 2010. 60 pages.
  • Viana, V.; Ribenboim, G.; Megid, T.; Salviati, V. “REDD and Sustainable Development – Perspective from Brazil.” REDD Working Papers. IIED. November 2010. 29 pages.
  • Viana, V.; Aquino, A.A.; Pinto, T.M.; Lima, L.M.T.; Martinet, A.; Busson, F.; Samyn, J-M. “REDD+ and Community Forestry: Lessons Learned From An Exchange Between Brazil and Africa.” The World Bank/Amazonas Sustainable Foundation. June 2012. 72 pages.
  • Borner, J.; Wunder, S.; Reimer, F.; Bakkegaard, R.K.; Viana, V.M.; Tezza, J.; Pinto, T.; Lima, L.; Marostica, S. “Promoting Stewardship in the Bolsa Floresta Programme: Local Livelihood Strategies and Preliminary Impacts Report.” CIFOR/FAS, 2013. [in press]
  • Viana, V.M.; Tezza, J.; Solidade, V.; Marostica, S. Salviati, V.; Soares, A. “Relatório: Impactos do Programa Bolsa Floresta – Resultados de uma Pesquisa de Opinião.” FAS, 2013. In Portuguese.
  • Viana, V.M.; Tezza, J.; Pinto, T.M.; Lima, L.; Marostica, S.; Solidade, V.; Salviati, V. “Country Report: Results of a Baseline Study for a Pilot area in Brazil: the Rio Negro APA and the Bolsa Floresta Programme.” FAS, 2013.
  • Viana, V.M.; Tezza, J.; Pinto, Solidade, V.; Santos, C.; Pinto, F.; Lima, L.; Cristo, M.; Dias, R.; Pinto, T.M. “Planificação participativa para REDD+: A experiência de aplicação do programa Bolsa Floresta para Moçambique.” FAS/IIED, 2012. 44 pages, in Portuguese.
  • Valente, R., Salviati, V., Ribenboim, G., Souza Jr, C., Viana, V., Tezza, J. 2015. Bolsa Floresta’s Community-based Monitoring Programme. XIV World Forestry Congress, Durban, South Africa.
  • May, P., Viana, V., Ribenboim, G., Takahashi, N., Caldasso, L. 2016., Direct payments for reduced deforestation — the social benefits and environmental impact of the Bolsa Floresta Program in Amazonas, Brazil. The International Society for Ecological Economics – ISEE 2016, Washington, DC. USA, pg 148

Contact for press:

Marina Souza – marina.souza@fas-amazonas.org, +55 92 4009.8900
Felipe Costa – felipe.costa@fas-amazonas.org


[1] Free, prior and informed consent.
[2] Carried out by ACTION Institute with 5% error and 160 interviews at Juma (32% of the reserve’s
dwellers)
[3] http://www.dpi.inpe.br/prodesdigital/atruc.php?ID=69&ano=2015&esfera=Estadual&
[4] http://fas-amazonas.org/versao/2012/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/PDD_Juma-Project_EN.pdf

 

 

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