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Brazil: Government Creates Amazon Council to Protect Amazon Region

(Feb. 19, 2020) On January 22, 2020, during a meeting of the Council of Government, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro announced the creation of the Amazon Council and an Environmental Task Force to devise plans and actions for protecting, defending, and sustainably developing Brazilian forestry. Bolsonaro explained that the Council would be coordinated by Vice President Hamilton Mourão, who would organize the various actions of each ministry in this regard.

Article 13 of Law No. 13,844 of June 18, 2019, provides that the Council of Government be composed of ministers of state for the purpose of advising the president in preparing government action guidelines.

In a press conference on February 11, 2020, Mourão was quoted as saying,

The government observed that various public policies have been adopted by quite different ministries acting practically independently of each other, without integrating them, which leads to a waste of resources and loss of effectiveness in acting. So, the creation of the Council is to enable the command and control of these activities so that there is communication between the different government agencies, all speaking the same language, and that we intelligently direct what happens in the Amazon region so that we can act in time.

Mourão added that one of the first actions of the Council will be to anticipate any problems related to fires and deforestation in the region, and he guaranteed that the Council would listen to representatives of civil society, including academia, to build public policies that can, in addition to guaranteeing environmental preservation, offer sustainable development alternatives for the Amazon, which is home to 25 million people.