Governance deficiencies of environmental and forest funds

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Governance deficiencies of environmental and forest funds
Governance deficiencies of environmental and forest funds in Pará
and Mato Grosso
Alice Thuault*, Brenda Brito** and Priscilla Santos
Many international and domestic government and
civil society actors see the use of environmental and forest
funds as an important tool for raising and managing funds
to create incentives for maintaining standing forests, as
part of the international discussions on reducing emissions
from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+). As
a contribution to current discussions about creating and
implementing such funds at a state level, we analyzed
four existing forest and environmental funds in the States
of Pará and Mato Grosso. Our analysis reveals serious
shortcomings in the management of those funds and their
ability to achieve the environmental and social objectives
for which they were created. To improve the governance
of these funds we recommend: increasing transparency
of operating rules; adopting mechanisms for civil society
participation and expanding transparency and access to
information on financial administration of the funds and
on the impact of the projects being supported.
Deforestation and forest degradation contribute to
approximately 17% of global emissions of greenhouse
gasses (GHG)1. Since 2005, Parties to the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
have been negotiating the creation of incentives for
countries willing to mitigate those emissions. In 2010,
Parties clarified a number of the aspects about what the
incentive would seek to achieve as part of the Cancun
Agreements, during the 16th Conference of the Parties
for the UNFCCC (COP-16) held in Mexico. As part of
the Cancun agreements, the activities to be incentivized
were listed and include: reducing deforestation and forest degradation, the conservation and enhancement of
forest carbon stocks, and the sustainable management of
forests. This set of actions is known as REDD+.
In parallel to the international discussions, different levels of government in Brazil have debated the
creation of a REDD+ strategy that would offer incentives for conservation and sustainable use of forests in
various biomes, especially the Amazon. At the federal
level, the issue has been addressed by both the Executive and Legislative branches. For example, in 2010 the
Ministry of the Environment (MMA in Portuguese) created Working Groups to discuss a national system for
REDD+. In the National Congress, the Bill 195/2011,
which intends to create a national REDD+ system, is
under consideration.
There are three key points being discussed
regarding the establishment and governance of a
national REDD+ system in Brazil: i) institutional arrangements (who will manage the mechanism and how
the various levels of government will be integrated);
ii) generating and sharing benefits (how financial
benefits will be calculated and who may receive
them); and iii) financing (what will be the sources of
funds). In all three cases, the capacity for administering and directing financial resources for REDD+ will
be fundamental.
In that regard, over the last few years Brazil has
created funds for obtaining and applying financial resources linked to REDD+, as is the case of the Amazon
Fund and the Climate Fund (although the latter is not
specifically for REDD+)2. In the Amazon States, funds
are also to be an element of the financial framework for
REDD+. In Acre, for example, State Law 2308/2010,
which institutes the Environmental Services Incentive
System, determines that the resources in this system
will be administered by two state funds: Forest State
Fund and Special Fund for the Environment3. Three
other States in the Amazon (Mato Grosso, Amazonas
and Pará) have draft bills which include the creation of
funds for REDD+4.
If governments want those funds to efficiently
contribute towards implementing REDD+ actions,
they must administer them according to principles
of transparency, public participation, capacity for
implementation and accountability. Furthermore,
that new funds must be constructed based on lessons
learned from existing environmental and forest funds
so as to avoid repeating problems and to encourage
good practices. In this The State of the Amazon we
evaluate the governance in four state funds in Pará
and Mato Grosso.
We selected four forest or environmental funds
that are related to forest area activities in Mato Grosso
and in Pará, the States with the highest deforestation rates
in the Amazon5. The funds selected were Environmental
State Fund in Mato Grosso (Femam/MT), MT Floresta,
Forest Development State Fund in Pará (Fundeflor) and
Environment State Fund in Pará (Fema/PA). Each fund
has an administrative agency and its own objectives
(Table 1).
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For the analysis, we collected information
through a review of legislation and interviews with
employees at the fund management agencies and at
their respective overseeing institutions (State Public
Prosecution Service – MPE and State Audit Court
– TCE). Data collection was oriented by eight governance indicators based on the principles cited in
the previous section. Each indicator has elements of
quality that guided evaluation (Table 2)6. Based on the
information collected we categorized the indicators
as “weak, moderate or strong”. A moderate ranking
corresponds to a partial fulfillment of those elements,
whereas the weak ranking refers to insufficient fulfillment or non-fulfillment of those elements.
Table 1: Characteristics of state forest funds in Pará and Mato Grosso
Legal instruments
that created and
regulate the fund
Mato Grosso
Mato Grosso
Complementary Law
MT Floresta
Mato Grosso
Complementary Law
State Law 5887/1995
and State Decree
State Law 6963/1995
and State Decree
Main purpose
Finance the implementation
of actions seeking to: restore
or reconstitute harmed forest
assets; protect the environment; regularize conservation units; implement forest
and water policies; develop
environmental education
programs; agency expenses
linked to funding and investment activities including
expenses for capacity-building; improvement, development and modernization of
environmental activities
Supporting forest development in the State through
collecting forest replacement
Finance plans, programs,
projects, research and technologies that seek to ensure
the rational and sustained
use of natural resources
and the implementation of
actions directed towards
enforcement, defense and
recovery of the natural
Promote, encourage and support the organization, diversification, verticalization and
dynamization of sustainable
forest-based activities in the
State Agency in
Mato Grosso
not available
to the publica.
Rural Development State
Agency in Mato
State Agency in
6.9 million
State Institute for
Forest Development in Pará
Still in
implementation phase
and without
resources so
not available
to the public
The expense authorized for fiscal year 2009 by Sema/MT was 89.8 million reals (Official Press from 03/09/2010, number 25275, p. 33).
However, it is not specified if this number corresponds or not to the funds managed by Femam/MT.
b Funds for fiscal year 2007 (TCE/MT, 2009, Technical audit report from TCE/MT)
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Table 2: Indicators of governance evaluation for environmental and forest funds
Public participation
in creation/revision of
fund rules
Elements of Quality
Fund priorities and objectives established through a transparent and participatory process.
Regulation of the fund and operational procedures established through a transparent and participatory process.
Revision of fund objectives and rules integrate contributions from civil society.
Clarity of rules for
collection and
of resources
Collection and distribution of funds based on rules that are clear and accessible to public.
Clarity in administrative responsibilities
Roles and responsibilities of the fund’s management structure are clearly defined by law.
Specific support for
more vulnerable
Procedures for application to fund clear and accessible to public.
Norms and criteria for evaluating proposals are clear and accessible to public.
Fund employees send feedback on the evaluation of project proposals.
Clarity regarding who is the authority for deciding project approval.
Specific procedures for access to the fund by vulnerable groups.
Technical support for vulnerable groups.
Support for vulnerable groups in fulfilling norms and requirements.
Access by vulnerable groups to the fund monitored.
Fund employees have forest expertise.
Forest and
Employees consult specialists in evaluating proposals.
Employees consult stakeholders in evaluating proposals.
Employees consult project proponents for clarification in evaluating proposals.
Employees have expertise in obtaining funds.
Financial and human resources sufficient for administering fund.
Field monitoring team has access to information needed.
Financial report available to public in various formats (printed, online, etc.).
Reports include all fund operations.
Reports generated in a regular fashion.
Information contained in reports clearly presented and easily understandable.
Monitoring of
impacts and
Monitoring of contribution of the fund to the established objectives.
Monitoring of other social and environmental impacts.
Monitoring mechanisms include consultations of interested parties.
Efforts to correct the main problems identified by monitoring.
We identified several failures in governance that
hinder the functioning of the funds analyzed. The majority of indicators evaluated obtained a weak ranking
(Figure 1). In fact, a strong ranking was obtained only
in evaluating clarity in administrative responsibilities
in the management of MT Floresta and Fundeflor (PA),
as well as the administrative capacity at Femam (MT).
In general, the main problems shared by the four funds
• Lack of transparency in procedures for selecting
projects: Access to funds by third parties is limited
by the lack of dissemination of the procedures for
selecting projects. None of the funds evaluated
disclose the norms and criteria used for evaluating
proposed projects. Furthermore, the funds do not
provide feedback to proponents regarding evaluation
of proposals when they are not accepted;
• Nonexistence of technical support to help groups
with difficulties in elaborating proposals: There
is no specific technical-administrative support for
facilitating access to the funds by groups that have
difficulties in elaborating proposals (e.g. populations
that depend on the forest but have a low level of
formal education);
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• Monitoring insufficiency: The funds do not have
adequate mechanisms for monitoring the impact of
the activities they support. This makes it impossible
to evaluate the efficiency of the economic incentives
provided by those funds or their contribution to the
implementation of sustainable forest-based activities.
• Lack of transparency in rendering accounts: None
of the evaluated funds disclose comprehensive financial reports in a regular fashion. Limited information
can be found in the annual reports of the State Audit
Courts, but they are insufficient to allow a proper
understanding of the funds activities. In the case
of Fema (PA) for example, the State Audit Court
publishes in its website only the summaries of the
assessments made upon the fund financial report, but
this is information is only available for some years
of this fund operation. In addition, the contents of
these court assessments do not present the complete
content of the reports and the state audit court does
not allow public access to the full report7.
Besides these problems in common, we have also
observed the lack of mechanisms for participation by
civil society in three funds. Participation by different
sectors of society in this type of board is vital for balancing the priorities and choices of the support offered. The
exception in this case is MT Floresta, which has a board
of representatives from civil society responsible for selecting the projects to be supported. However even the
board does not have information regarding the progress
of the supported projects or even the volume of resources
annually obtained and distributed by this fund.
Our analysis also identified some specific aspects
of failures in the governance of each fund. For example,
Femam/MT and Fema/PA present serious problems of
consistency between their rules and operating practices.
In the case of Fema/PA, State Decree 1523/1996 establishes that its financial resources will be administrated
by a Board of Directors and by an Executive Secretariat
linked to it. However, we verified that there is no staff
designated as members to perform these functions8.
In the same way, in the case of Femam/MT, Mato
Grosso Complementary Law 232/2005 indicates that
there should be a single body specifically designated for
its administration, but in practice, the fund is managed by
several coordinating offices within Sema/MT9. Furthermore, although the law indicates various areas for applying
the resources of the funds, including support for agencies
outside of the environmental secretariats, in practice Femam
and Fema have been used only to support projects from the
respective Semas in Mato Grosso and Pará.
Among the funds evaluated, Fundeflor/PA is the
only one still in initial implementation phase and that has
not yet begun its activities for distributing resources. Its
principal source of resources will be the state forest concessions, which should only begin operating in 201210.
Even so, we observe that there are still no clear rules for
access to fund resources, which need to be defined by the
State Institute for Forest Development in Pará (Ideflor)
throughout 2011.
Figure 1: Summary of evaluation of governance indicators in four environmental and forest funds in
Mato Grosso and in Pará
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parency in management and will contribute to keep the
funds working towards their objectives.
Our analysis reveals that the four state funds
evaluated need major improvements in their administrative and financial management in order to achieve their
objectives. These results can guide the creation of a new
state fund directed towards obtaining and administering
resources for REDD+, in addition to directing reforms
in the funds evaluated. The major recommendations for
the existing funds and those yet to be created are:
Monitor impacts and effectiveness of the application of fund resources. Monitoring the impact of projects
supported by the funds is fundamental for evaluating
the fulfillment of the funds objectives, which are usually related to encouragement of sustainable practices
and command and control actions. Thus, the projects
supported by them must be monitored throughout their
lifetime through technical assessments (by the fund team
or independently). They must also be evaluated at the
end of the support in terms of their contribution to the
funds objectives.
Disclose rules for access to the funds resources.
The rules determining the distribution of the funds resources should be made available to the public, including
the requirements for presenting projects and criteria for
evaluation. Moreover, the justifications for approval and
rejection of proposals should be forwarded to proponents
and disclosed to general public. We also recommend the
elaboration of how-to manuals with these access rules
so that this information will be accessible in simple
language to groups with low levels of literacy.
Disseminate annual financial reports. Transparency of the annual financial reports including disclosure
of complete financial information increases the fund’s
credibility and contributes towards attracting more
financial resources. Therefore, fund managers need to
annually disclose complete reports in a format that is
understandable to the public. They should also disseminate the results of evaluation by overseeing institutions
or independent audit agencies.
Adopt mechanisms for civil society participation. The fund administrators should create committees
or boards to define priorities for annual application of
resources, revise objectives and even evaluate projects
supported by the funds. The committee members should
be professionals with knowledge in the areas the fund is
supporting and there should be representation by different sectors (productive, business, academic, traditional
populations, indigenous peoples and non-governmental
organizations). This practice will guarantee greater trans-
Provide technical-administrative support for
groups with difficulties in preparing proposals. To facilitate access to the fund by groups that depend on the forest,
but who do not have training for elaborating proposals
(e.g. traditional populations and indigenous peoples), the
funds should offer capacity-building in preparing and
administering projects (e.g. training in structuring project
proposals and in preparing financial reports).
* Public policy analyst at the Instituto Centro de Vida
** Corresponding author: [email protected]
Nabuurs, G.J. et al. 2007. Forestry. In Metz, B., et al. (Org.) Climate Change. Cambridge. Mitigation. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge, Cambridge
University Press.
The Amazon Fund was created by Decree 6.527/2008 aiming at obtaining donations for non-reimbursable investments in
actions for preventing, monitoring and combating deforestation and promoting conservation and sustainable use of forests in
the Amazon biome. The Climate Fund was created by Law 12114/2009 and regulated by Decree number 7343/2010 aiming at
guaranteeing resources to support projects or studies and financing of enterprises that seek mitigation and adaption to climate
change and its effects.
The Forest State Fund was created by State Law number 1117/1994 Special Fund for the Environment was created by State
Law number 1426/2001.
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In Mato Grosso the first draft of the State Policy on Climate Change calls for creation of a State Fund for Climate Change to
administer resources from REDD+. Pará has discussed a State Fund for Climate Change and Payments for Environmental
Services in the first draft bill of the State Law on Climate Change. More recently, Amazonas has proposed establishing stimulus
funds to encourage adoption of conservation practices and improvement of environmental services, according to the first draft
of a bill that institutes the Policy on Environmental Services and Management System for Environmental Services.
According to annual deforestation rates recorded by the Program for Monitoring the Amazon Forest by Satellite (Prodes),
Mato Grosso led the deforestation ranking among Amazon States up to 2006, followed by the State of Pará. As of then, Pará
became the first followed by the State of Mato Grosso. Data available at: <http://www.obt.inpe.br/prodes/prodes_1988_2010.
htm>. Access on April 7, 2011.
We used governance indicators presented in the methodology proposed by the Governance of Forests Initiative, a project
implemented by the World Resources Institute, Imazon and ICV. More information available at: <http://www.wri.org/project/
governance-of-forests-initiative>. Access on March 3, 2011.
Imazon filed a request with the 3rd Controllership of the State Audit Court of Pará (TCE) on November 9, 2010, requesting access to the financial reports, including budget, financial and asset balances all the way back to the creation of Fema. However,
on February 23, 2011, TCE denied the request and stated that only legitimate parties to process, their successors or legally
enabled proxies could access that information (Official Communication number 2011/00958-TCE-CG/GP).
Information collected in interviews with Getúlio Bicudo – Administrative and Financial Director at Sema/PA (DGAF – Directorate for Administrative and Financial Administration); Leopércio Fôro – Financial Coordinator (DGAF); Henrique Silva
– Technician for the Coordination for Shared and Regionalized Management of the Planning Department (Diplan) at Sema/
PA and member of the team that used to analyze projects for Fema in previous years; and Nelita Paes – Coordinator of the
projects office at Sema/PA.
Management activities at Femam/MT today are carried out by the coordinating offices for accounting, planning and finance.
There is also a specific department for obtaining resources.
The Director of the fund in 2010 (Emanuel Chaves) informed the authors that Fundeflor would begin to operate with its own
resources in 2012. The fund would support projects with a duration of one year, ranging from R$ 50,000 to R$ 100,000 up
to the limit of fund resources.
The authors would like to thank the employees at Sema/MT, Seder/MT, Sema/PA, Ideflor, MPE and TCE/PA for their availability for interviews and for sharing information. They also thank Adalberto Veríssimo, André Monteiro, Paulo Barreto, Laurent Micol (ICV), Raimundo Moraes (MPE/PA) and Florence Daviet (WRI) for comments received. This study is part of the
Governance of Forests Initiative (GFI), coordinated by the World Resources Institute in partnership with Imazon and ICV and
received financial support from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad).
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