Studies by Imazon have revealed two major problems for sustainable development in the Amazon: impunity for environmental crimes and confusion over who has land use rights in the region. Impunity also facilitates environmental and ecological degradation and discourages investors who want to respect the laws (and who generally pay higher costs in order to produce in a sustainable manner).
Uncertainty of property rights in 53% of the Legal Amazon has stimulated conflicts, complicated investments and stimulated excessive deforestation. Impunity for environmental crimes and land title uncertainty result from a series of failings ranging from the formulation of laws and rules to their application. The small number of judges and prosecutors in environmental agencies in the Amazon also contributes to delays in proceedings against environmental crimes.
In order to create favorable environment for sustainable development in the Amazon it will be necessary to see to it that environmental and land title laws are consistent and effectively applied. The Law and Sustainability Program seeks to facilitate sustainable development in the region by focusing on the following objectives: increasing effectiveness in fighting environmental crime and expanding land title regularization. In this program the priority activities are:
Evaluation of the performance of prosecution for environmental crimes
The flow of suits against environmental crimes at the environmental agencies, Public Prosecution Service and judiciary is evaluated in order to identify the main bottlenecks, as well as to find good practices that can be replicated in order to increase the effectiveness of law in the region.
Dissemination of prosecution for environmental violations in Protected Areas
Dissemination of that information occurs in publications that describe the situation of the proceedings, as well as at the www.imazongeo.org.br portal, which contains information on the occurrence of environmental violations in Protected Areas in the Amazon.
Analysis of policies for combating illegal deforestation
The performance of public policies (enforcement, application of penalties, credit, etc.) against deforestation is analyzed, also considering the influence of other relevant factors such as prices for agricultural commodities.
Monitoring and evaluation of implementation of norms regarding territorial organization
Based on recent legal modifications and the federal and state level for land title regularization, Imazon evaluates the implementation of those norms and the effectiveness of governmental programs for defining property rights in the Amazon.
Economic assessment of ranches that follow socio-environmental rules
Ranching in the Amazon has been undergoing pressures for land title and socio-environmental regularization. This regularization should lead to economic adjustments for the sector that that are as yet unknown. We assess the impact of socio-environmental regularization on the economic importance of cattle-fattening ranching in Pará. With this analysis, we intend to contribute towards understanding what are the barriers and opportunities for improving environmental management in the sector.
The results of studies from that program are widely disseminated among the legislation, judicial and legislative branches, Public Prosecution Service and civil society through publications, including books and summaries for public policies (The State of the Amazon series and technical notes), and the studies are also disseminated via the press and internet.
Coordination: Paulo Barreto.
Staff: Brenda Brito, Daniel Silva, Dário Cardoso Jr., Elis de Araújo and Sara Baima.
Support: Fundação Gordon & Betty Moore, Blue Moon Fund and Fundação Ford – Escritório do Brasil.