11 October 2011

Ms. Naoko Ishii Deputy Vice Minister of Finance for International Affairs from Japan visits GEF SGP biodiversity project in Brazil BD -1Last September 30th 2011, the Deputy Vice Minister of Finance of Japan, Ms. Naoko Ishii, visited one of the SGP grantees nearby Brasília, Brazil. Ms. Ishii visited a project in the Colônia I settlement of Brazil, an agrarian reform settlement created in 1996 that comprises 23 families and is located in the Cerrado biome, the most diverse savanna in the world and one of the biodiversity hotspots.

The project "Sustainability building for the Colônia I settlement" was supported by the GEF Small Grants Programme in 2005 and concluded in 2008. Through the project 13 families improved the sustainable use and management of the Cerrado and the production systems for organic farming as a strategy to conserve biodiversity, avoid deforestation and increase their income through a set of activities including capacity development, strengthening sustainable production, and improving the environmental and social management skills of the organization.

Thanks to the support of SGP this settlement is now an example of successful on the ground solutions to sustainable organic production and biodiversity conservation; and is frequently visited by government, schools, universities and consumers. In particular, the project helped to influence the agrarian reform movement by providing sustainable solutions to communities that in turn help avoid the sale of the land to ranchers and the migration to frontier areas, which could cause vast biodiversity damage.

Ms. Naoko Ishii Deputy Vice Minister of Finance for International Affairs from Japan visits GEF SGP biodiversity project in Brazil BD -2Mrs. Ishii, and the two officers from the Japan Embassy had the opportunity to walk through Wátila dos Santos' organic garden and get familiar with the agro-ecological principles of the production in terms of water management, use of natural inputs, production diversification and the strategy of direct access to the consumers for marketing. Mrs. Tânia Ribeiro from the Ministry of Planning in Brazil also joined the visit.

Later, the group of women 'Flavor of the Cerrado' welcomed the visitors in the association's headquarter for a Cerrado products snack. While tasting cagaita and coquinho-azedo juices and baru, babaçu and pequi biscuits and pies, Mrs. Ishii could talk to the women and ask about income generation and livelihood improvement through the project.

At the end of the visit Mrs. Ishii thanked the group and congratulated them for their work in biodiversity conservation in the Cerrado. In particular, the reduction of deforestation in the Cerrado is now part of national climate policy and the change can be traced to SGP and the collective action of its grantees.

Top Photo: The group visiting the organic garden.
Bottom Photo: Ms. Ishii talking with the women of ‘Flavor of the Cerrado’ group. 

Ana Maria Currea, KM Specialist, GEF Small Grants Programme | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.