USAID Brings Partners Together in a Celebratory Exchange of Experiences

Partners outline progress and challenges related to biodiversity conservation projects

August, 2022 — More than 100 USAID/Brazil partners gathered in Brasilia, August 17-18 to exchange experiences, and discuss Amazon conservation efforts and how to strengthen traditional communities’ work to ensure the preservation of their culture and the forest.

The last PCAB Partner’s Meeting occurred four years ago. In addition to United States Embassy representatives, this event brought together traditional communities, the Brazilian government, local organizations from the Legal Amazon, civil society, and the private sector. USAID Peru and the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT also participated. 

"We need to act urgently, with attention to and focus on climate change, a priority for Brazil and the world. We need to find solutions aimed at sustainable development. This will be done through partnerships involving the private sector, governments, communities, Indigenous peoples, and different organizations. Our priority is to unite our resources, ideas, and passions so that we can find innovative solutions. At USAID/Brazil we believe that successful results come from partnership, commitment, and joint efforts," summarized Catherine Hamlin, director of the USAID Brazil Environment Program.

A new request for proposals was disclosed during the event. The new Annual Program Statement (APS) announced US $36 million for the Partnership for the Conservation of Amazon Biodiversity (PCAB). The call will remain open until November 18, 2022. USAID partner’s gained an understanding of the process during a panel session hosted by USAID ROAA representativesMike Junge, Regional Agreement Officer, and Cecilia Yañez, Supervisory Acquisition and Assistance Specialist (more information here).

Panels — The opening session was attended by Douglas Koneff, Chargé d' Affaires for the United States in Brazil. He remarked about the longstanding partnership between the US and Brazil. Ted Gehr reaffirmed over  video USAID's commitment to investing in biodiversity conservation projects, ensuring sustainable, equitable economic and social development.

Yuri de Souza, Coordinator for Technical Cooperation and Partnership with Developed Countries at the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC), represented Ambassador Rui Pereira, ABC Director. He commented on cooperation between the two nations, citing the constant focus on promoting dialogue and engaging a range of actors in cooperation projects. 

Indigenous leaders Arlete Krikati and Jonas Gavião, from the Wyty Catë Association, recited a traditional Timbira chant about the beauty and transformation of butterflies.

Protected areas — The first panel, moderated by Jayleen Vera, coordinator of the United States Forest Service (USFS) Brazil Program, presented an overview of structuring actions in protected areas. 

Representatives of the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio) João Paulo Morita and João da Mata shared data on fire management and firefighting programs in conservation areas. He also reported on annual fire brigade training courses delivered to local residents in Brazil. Mata highlighted the importance of empowering local communities by engaging local actors in sustainable value chains and providing training to leaders and residents.

Pedro Constantino, from the US Forest Service, presented the results of the Sustainable Value Chains Project. In 2021, 71 community-based organizations that drive sustainable businesses in the Amazon were trained and economic benefits were provided to more than 36,000 people through management activities. 

The project is a result of an international cooperation agreement between USAID and the Brazilian Government. It is supported by several partners, including the USFS, ICMBio and the Brazilian Education Institute (IEB). In addition eight non-governmental organizations partner on four selected value chains: pirarucu, açaí, Brazil nut, and wood (learn more about it here). 

According to Constantino, a challenge the project faces is the need for continuous investment to train participants and improve management, which is key to help families raise the quality of their products and generate more income.

The panel on conservation in Indigenous territories was moderated by IEB executive coordinator Andréia Bavaresco.

Partnerships with the private sector — Two other panels discussed partnerships for territorial development and impact businesses. These projects are currently being developed in the Amazon to strengthen the forest economy. 

Augusto Corrêa, Executive Secretary at the Partnership Platform for the Amazon, detailed the PPA portfolio, including joint projects with SITAWI, the Sustainable Juruti Institute (IJUS), Forest Trends, and the Hydro Sustainability Fund. Each partner gave voice to their achieved results.

Impact Business and the Forest Economy” panel addressed overcoming logistical challenges and incorporating regional characteristics for the development of green economy projects. “We need to Amazonize Brazil. Markets have not yet incorporated the impact on demand and the cost of biodiversity conservation into the final price of products,” said Marcelo Cwerner, portfolio manager at NESsT.

 For Bruno Girardi, from SITAWI, it is necessary to consider the social impact of investing in local organizations, which also need to be approached differently. “If we are promoting cultural change, we must understand that this is a different type of investment,” he said. 

See more photos: PCAB´s Flickr