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Neotrópica Foundation successfully advances in the conservation and sustainable use of the Cerrado

Partner of CEPF and IEB, NGO work strengthened the role of social actors through the Municipal Councils for the Environment in Mato Grosso do Sul


by Luana Luizy, Communication Officer, International Education Institute of Brazil


One of our partners is the Neotropic Foundation, an organization from Mato Grosso do Sul, which works with actions aimed at nature conservation, especially in the Cerrado and Pantanal biomes. With support from Partnership Fund for Critical Ecosystems (CEPF, acronym in English) and the International Institute of Education of Brazil (IEB), the foundation has been developing a successful project with Municipal Environment Councils (COMDEMAs) in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul. The project: Union of pro-Cerrado COMDEMAs, which aims to strengthen these councils, in order to subsidize decisions that contribute to the conservation of the Cerrado and the achievement of global biodiversity conservation goals.

Planning meeting of the COMDEMA Action Plan in the city of Bodoquena-MS. Source: Neotrópica Foundation

The project initially covered the municipalities: Anastácio, Bodoquena, Bonito, Dois Irmãos do Buriti, Guia Lopes da Laguna, Jardim, Miranda, Nioaque, Porto Murtinho, Rochedo and Terenos. According to Rodolfo Portela & #8211; executive superintendent of the Neotrópica Foundation & #8211; the success of the project was due “The union of COMDEMAs, which was not restricted to the predicted municipalities, but also in regions located outside the main biodiversity corridors of the state, which showed interest in being included in the project”, a fact that demonstrated the project's potential and wide reach.

Of the municipalities that participated in the project, most have their Active Environmental Councils, which demonstrates that there are spaces for debates on public policies and issues of conservation and management of the Cerrado in these locations. The project also verified, in these municipalities, the interest for the actors involved in advancing the creation of new Conservation units.

It is important to point out that the project promoted the training of about 205 social actors, 114 men and 91 women, which guaranteed the qualification of the directors in order to support decentralization and democratization of environmental management in search of gender parity. The creation of COMDEMAs Network it provided the interaction between the leaders, facilitating the exchange of information and experiences regarding good practices for councils and for the conservation of the Cerrado. Through COMDEMAs, work groups, technical chambers and environmental collectives emerged with the purpose of researching, studying and discussing important issues for the development of environmental actions in the municipalities.

Fieldwork. Photo: Collection Neotrópica do Brasil

Another highlight was the success in promoting the conservation and sustainable use of the Cerrado with the creation of three Private Natural Heritage Reserves (RPPNs), in the municipalities of Bonito, Guia Lopes da Laguna and Chapadão do Sul, conserving approximately 2,200 hectares of the biome in Mato Grosso do Sul; and also assistance in improving the management of the Marechal Cândido Mariano Rondon Biological Reserve, Miranda / MS, in order to implement good practices for the management of the UC.


The Neótropica Foundation highlights the importance of conflict mediation as the main lesson learned, in order to reduce the turmoil and confusion frequently registered in meetings that discuss municipal environmental policies. Great challenges were faced by the team in the debates on proposals for structuring and updating municipal environmental laws and legislation relevant to COMDEMAs, in view of the uproar caused by the agribusiness sectors, causing moments of confusion and doubts in the councilors.

About the Neotropic Foundation

The Neotrópica do Brasil Foundation is an NGO created in 1993 aimed at conserving nature and improving people's quality of life. The organization works with projects aimed at creating and supporting the management of Conservation Units (public and private); recovery of degraded areas and adaptation of rural properties in the Cerrado, Atlantic Forest and Pantanal; scientific research on biodiversity and conservation, mobilization and sensitization of society to environmental issues; encouraging the development of public environmental policies; discussion and promotion of tourism as a promoter of environmental conservation.

For more information about the actions of the Neotrópica do Brasil Foundation, access the site.

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund is a joint initiative of the French Development Agency, Conservation International, the European Union, Global Environmental Management, the Government of Japan and the World Bank. A key goal is to ensure that civil society is involved in biodiversity conservation.


Quilombo Kalunga is the first territory in Brazil recognized with a global concept

CEPF and IEB contributed to the international classification that attests to the conservation of the quilombo in Goiás

by Luana Luizy, Communication Officer, International Education Institute of Brazil

Do you know what TICCA is?

The global concept means Territories and Areas Conserved by Indigenous and Local Communities, and has been assigned by international organizations, such as United Nations, to conserved community and traditional territories, where the population has a strong connection with the place they inhabit, the so-called “life territories”.

“In order to receive this classification, the community must be the main actor in the decision-making process for the management of the territory”, says Vilmar Souza Costa, explaining about the registration process for the Kalunga Historical and Cultural Heritage Site, of which he was part when he was president of the Quilombola Kalunga Association (AQK).

Located in the north of Goiás, 520 km from the capital, the Kalunga quilombo was the first, until then, to be considered TICCA in Brazil.

Image taken by drone by quilombolas to map the territory. Photo: Quilombo Kalunga Association Collection.

“It was a very participatory process, we have a preserved community, a territory of life, but we suffer constant invasions. The TICCA formalization has helped us to give international visibility to protect us ”, says Vilmar, citing yet another benefit of the nomenclature: strengthening the community against external threats, such as megaprojects and misappropriation. “We have gained autonomy in the management of our land. Now that we are listed on the international map of traditional communities as TICCA, we hope to join in this struggle with other communities around the world ”says Damião Moreira Santos, a member of AQK.

The Partnership Fund for Critical Ecosystems (CEPF, acronym in English) and the International Institute of Education of Brazil (IEB) had active participation and were fundamental for the registration of the Kalunga community as TICCA. “We support territorial management, as we realize that it is very important from the point of view of conservation. AQK went deep with the project. We follow their territorial management steps: reviewing the statute, mapping their natural resources and managing conflicts in the community ”, reports Michael Becker, CEPF Cerrado coordinator.

Who can be TICCA?

The TICCA concept has been promoted worldwide, especially by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Natural Justice, among other important international actors. To be considered TICCA, the population needs to have a deep and close connection with their territory; management and governance processes; positive results in nature conservation, as well as the well-being of its people.

Debate assembly on the registration of the Kalunga quilombo as TICCA. Source: ICCA Registry.

Surrounded by the natural and cultural riches of the Cerrado, the Kalunga quilombo was formed over 300 years ago by men and women who did not accept to live under the slavery regime of the time. Damião Moreira Santos & #8211; that has already been honored as the hero of hot spot[1] Cerrado & #8211; reports that CEPF was largely responsible for presenting the idea of TICCA, the results of this partnership are reaped until today by quilombolas.

“We continue to do territory management due to CEPF support. From this partnership, we created an internal regulation, we started to visit the communities spread throughout our territory and the residents started to know the association ”, he says.


In Brazil, the debate on TICCA has been going on since 2018 and is increasingly bringing together social, academic and civil society sectors. The international registration of the area is a way of recognizing its environmental and economic values, governance system and management results. As such, the benefits that a community brings in being registered depend largely on the use it makes of this recognition. For the Kalunga, the land they live on is synonymous with governance and sustainability, and recognition as TICCA represented a local appreciation. “It brought visibility to us. An internationally known quilombo can benefit us. Thus, we are not at the mercy of local governments, in case of aggression, ”says Damião.

About the Quilombo Kalunga Association and CEPF Cerrado

The process for registering as TICCA was entirely participatory. SOURCE: ICCA Registry.

The Quilombo Kalunga Association is a civil organization, with no economic purpose, founded in October 1999. It represents the largest quilombo territory in Brazil, with 262 thousand hectares of land. AQK defends the interests of residents of the Kalunga Historical Site and Cultural Heritage (SHPCK), which covers the municipalities of Goiás, Cavalcante, Monte Alegre de Goiás and Teresina de Goiás.

The project, promoted by CEPF and supported by IEB, aims to get to know the reality of the Kalunga communities in depth, use geoprocessing technology to map the territory in detail, promote the occupation of the SHPCK in a more sustainable way and make the Kalunga internationally recognized as defenders of biodiversity conservation.

For more information about the Quilombo Kalunga Association access the official page on Facebook.

[1] Hotsposts can be defined as areas with great biodiversity, rich mainly in endemic species and which present a high degree of threat. These areas are, therefore, places that need urgent attention, being considered priority in conservation programs.

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund is a joint initiative of the French Development Agency, Conservation International, the European Union, Global Environmental Management, the Government of Japan and the World Bank. A key goal is to ensure that civil society is involved in biodiversity conservation.