Climate Change in Brazil

© UNESCO/Nelson Muchagata

Climate change is one of the defining issues of our time. Over 30 UNESCO programmes in the sciences, education, culture and communication contribute to creating knowledge, educating and communicating about climate change, and to understanding the ethical implications for present and future generations.

Climate change has had significant impact in climate patterns, in precipitations (rains), in hydrologic cycle, affecting the superficial water supply, as well as the soil humidity and subterranean water replacement. A recent study estimates that climate change is happening due to a global increase of water scarcity (20%), and due to population growth and economic development (80%).

The UNESCO Climate Change Initiative, launched by the Director-General in Copenhaguen, federates UNESCO’s work and joins it with that of other UN bodies and aims to help Member States to mitigate and adapt to climate change, to educate for sustainable development in the context of climate change, to assess the risks of natural disasters due to climate change, and to monitor the effects of climate change on UNESCO Sites (e.g. World Heritage sites and biosphere reserves). The initiative uses these sites for promoting low carbon economies, for instance through the sustainable use of renewable energy sources.

Brazil has tried to align sector structures with the national and international situation on Climate Change. However, Brazil still faces issues related to scarcity of human resources (both in quantity and quality), and poor infrastructure and logistics to adequately address emerging issues related to conflicts between economic development and measures to ensure protection, conservation and sustainable use of environmental assets.

Some Brazilian efforts towards facing climate change challenges:

The Ministry of the Environment has restructured itself through the creation of a Climate Change Department: the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade - ICMBio).Ibama (Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources) has new focus on actions aimed at environmental licensing, inspection and control.

Insufficient budgetary and financial resources, which are chronically unavailable when required, together with low capacity for executing international grants and financing funds, hinder the ongoing management of programmes and projects essential for developing and establishing integrated management of environmental policies.

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