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Neotropic Foundation of Brazil project promotes the creation and management of Municipal Environmental Councils through training

by Rodolfo Portela, Neotropic Foundation of Brazil



To date, nearly 200 social actors have benefited directly from the initiative in 11 municipalities in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul.


Municipalities served by the project “Union of Municipal Councils of the Environment (COMDEMAs): mobilizing actors in the Miranda - Bodoquena & #8221; corridor. Source: © Brazil Neotropic Foundation Collection 2019

Seeking the creation and strengthening of Municipal Environmental Councils, the Neotropic Foundation of Brazil, with the support of the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, executes the project. “Union of Municipal Environment Councils (COMDEMAs): mobilizing actors in the Miranda - Bodoquena corridor”, which comprises 11 municipalities of the state of Mato Grosso do Sul.

Training on the role of the council in the decision making process, held in the municipality of Miranda - MS. Photo: © Neotropic Foundation of Brazil Collection

Its objective is to support actions and decisions focused on local environmental issues that contribute to the achievement of global conservation goals. The main tool used for this is training, which promotes debates on public policy and conservation and management issues of the Cerrado.

The trainings are held monthly in each municipality addressing the following topics:

  • The role of the board in the decision making process;
  • Conservation and sustainable use of Cerrado biodiversity;
  • Environmental legislation applied to conservation;
  • Cerrado ecology and its environmental services;

    Percentage of people impacted in 2019, divided by male and female gender. Source: © Neotropic Foundation of Brazil Collection
  • Payment for environmental services, economic importance and income generation from conservation of natural areas.

The project also foresees the creation of a georeferenced database with environmental information to aid decision making, aiming at improving the management of six existing municipal conservation units (UC) and indicating new areas for the creation of UCs. With just over a year of implementation, the project has already served 195 people with the & #8211; 88 female and 107 male.


1st COMDEMAS Meeting of the Miranda - Bodoquena corridor. Photo: © Neotropic Foundation of Brazil Collection

In May 2019, the Neotropic Foundation of Brazil promoted the 1st Miranda - Bodoquena Corridor COMDEMA Meeting. Held in the municipality of Bonito - MS. The event brought together about twenty representatives, including presidents and members of COMDEMAs, from

eleven municipalities served by the project. On the occasion, the President of the Federation of Municipal Councils of Environment (FECOMDEMA), Carlos Alexandre, was present

Mobilization meeting for the elaboration of the law of creation of the COMDEMA of Rochedo - MS. Photo: © Neotropic Foundation of Brazil Collection

as keynote speaker and addressed the functional structure and strategic planning for the effective performance of the Municipal Environmental Councils.

The event also provided participants with a moment to expose their positive or negative experiences, as well as the challenges encountered within their boards. In addition, they could answer their questions in search of solutions to eventual problems faced by the municipalities. At the end of the event, a COMDEMAS Network was created, made up of participants. The Network is articulated through a group online, where counselors exchange ideas, experiences, ask questions, and discuss future proposals for new board meetings.


In a partnership with WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) and Mamede Institute, the Neotropic Foundation of Brazil assisted the legal process of

creation of the Municipal Environment Council of the city of Rochedo (MS) and reactivated the Municipal Environment Council of Guia Lopes da Laguna (MS) in 2019. It is very important to emphasize that these processes of creation and reactivation of a Council are

Mobilization of the counselors for the elaboration of the Law of creation of COMDEMA of Terenos-MS. Photo: © Neotropic Foundation of Brazil Collection

important tools for democratization and decentralization of environmental management. In order to continue supporting the legal process of creation of the Municipal Environment Council, still in 2019, the Neotropic Foundation of Brazil mobilized the Terenos Municipal Secretariat of Environment - MS to bring together the interested parties for the creation of COMDEMA. The result of this mobilization was the elaboration of the bill of creation, where, after training and revisions, it was prepared and forwarded for consideration and approval by the Terenos City Council.


One of the training sessions carried out at the Municipal Environment Council of Guia Lopes da Laguna (MS) resulted in an explanation of the importance of creating protected areas for higher collection of Ecological ICMS in the municipality. With this, the president of COMDEMA was motivated to create a Private Natural Heritage Reserve (RPPN) on his rural property. On this occasion, the Neotropic Foundation of Brazil made a field visit for knowledge and

studies in the area. This process is in the process of gathering documents to be filed with the state environmental agency to initiate the creation of the protected area.

Action plan meeting at the Brejão Village, Agroforestry Systems Integration and Workshop held in Nioaque - MS. Photo: © Neotropic Foundation of Brazil Collection

Strengthening networking in actions aimed at the conservation of the Cerrado, the Neotropic Foundation of Brazil has partnered with the Hanaitti Yomo'omo Association to assist in the process of creating the Nioaque Indigenous Land Territorial and Environmental Management Plan (PGTA). . The association is located in the Indigenous Land of the municipality of Nioaque (MS) and is also funded by CEPF. Work on the preparation of the PGTA began in November 2019, where several entities that support the initiative met during the “Action Plan Meeting at Brejão Village, Integration and Workshop on Agroforestry Systems”, promoted by Brejão village, an of the four villages that make up TI Nioaque. This partnership resulted in the inclusion of a representative of the Nioaque Indigenous Land in the Municipal Environmental Council of the municipality.


In order to encourage the creation of public policies, train counselors, promote discussions on the conservation and management of the cerrado and the existing environmental problems in the municipalities, the Neotropic Foundation of Brazil has prepared a practical guide for the implementation of municipal environmental councils. . The creation of this document seeks to structure the municipalities that do not have COMDEMA and to restructure the councils that are inactive.

The Guide was prepared in 2019 and its launch is scheduled for the first months of 2020 with wide distribution and dissemination in the COMDEMAS of Bonito, Bodoquena, Miranda, Anastacio, Nioaque, Two Brothers of Buriti, Terenos, Boulder, Lopes da Laguna Guide, Garden. and Porto Murtinho.

In addition to the information guide, each city hall of the eleven municipalities will receive posters that discuss the importance of COMDEMAS - as well as the location and dates of monthly meetings, facilitating the circulation of information to civil servants and citizens in general.

Folders will also be distributed in these 11 locations, bringing objective and efficient information to the local population about the

Environment of your municipality. Currently, the Neotropic Foundation of Brazil continues to participate in monthly meetings in the 11 municipalities supporting decisions and supporting environmental education actions that the Councils develop. The expectation for next year is to continue acting in favor of public policies that promote the conservation of the Cerrado biodiversity and, consequently, can improve the quality of life of residents.

The project Union of Pro-Cerrado COMDEMAS, which is run by Neotropic Foundation of Brazil and has the support of Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF, Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund) and International Institute of Education of Brazil (IEB), Its objective is to strengthen the Municipal Environment Councils (COMDEMAs) to support local decisions that contribute to the conservation of the Cerrado and to the achievement of global biodiversity conservation goals.

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.