In Atlantic Forest Brazil Responsible Production of Cocoa Conserves the Forest and Generates Additional Income to Rural Workers

September 20, 2010

A Brazilian NGO is working toward this objective by ensuring payment for environmental services and encouraging demand for sustainably grown cocoa

NEW YORK, Sept. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The initiative taken by the Institute for Forest and Agricultural Management and Certification (Imaflora) towards the conservation of the Atlantic Forest and the improvement of the quality of life of rural workers by encouraging the demand for sustainable cocoa has been recognized as a Commitment to Action by the Clinton Global Initiative. This Commitment will be presented on September 22, at 10:30 AM, during the Sixth Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative that will take place in New York, September 20 – 23, 2010.

Established in 1995 in Piracicaba, Brazil, Imaflora works to disseminate responsible production practices that promote the conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources while generating social benefits in the forest and agricultural sectors.

In line with this objective, Imaflora is taking the commitment to carry out a pilot program in Southern Bahia, Brazil. The objective of this program is to define a methodology for paying for environmental services in sustainable production of cocoa and to encourage the demand for this product by establishing a direct link between producers and consumers.

The Brazilian NGO based its decision to set up this program on the fact that the Atlantic Forest is one of the most threatened biomes in the world – it has been reduced to only 7.3% of its original area. In addition, it is one of the five most important hotspots for biodiversity conservation. The remaining forests along the Brazilian coast are home to about 20,000 plant species, of which 8,000 are native to the region, and 1,361 animal species, of which 567 are native.

Imaflora explains that cocoa cultivation, traditionally carried out under the canopy of trees of the Atlantic Forest, is now being replaced by other crops and other land uses, especially monocultures and pasture. If cocoa production can be maintained, the forest and its biodiversity will be protected as well as the livelihoods of laborers of rural settlements or those that work in partnership with cocoa producing farms.

From a social and environmental point of view Southern Bahia, the region where this pilot program will be developed, presents unique characteristics that highly recommend its implementation: i) a clear relationship between cocoa production and the livelihood of the local population; ii) conservation of the remaining portions of the Atlantic Forest; iii) increased carbon storage due to the maintenance of the forest cover; iv) income generation from environmental services, such as water supply and biodiversity conservation. The lessons to be learned during this pilot program, especially with respect to payment for environmental services – a new idea in Brazil – will be extremely useful in other regions of the country.

The sustainable cocoa production envisioned in the pilot program will be readily absorbed by cocoa processors and chocolate manufacturers, now eager to add value to their products by means of responsible practices ensured by credible certification schemes. Payment for environmental services will bring additional income to local populations while contributing to conservation of the forest.

The project will directly benefit 400 families that live on cocoa farms and 5,000 people living in the region, who will receive income from environmental services. Imaflora’s objective is to duplicate this project in larger areas within the Atlantic Forest and in cocoa producing regions of the Brazilian Amazon Region.

About the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)

Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Since 2005, CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 125 current and former heads of state, 15 Nobel Peace Prize laureates, hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations, major philanthropists, directors of the most effective nongovernmental organizations, and prominent members of the media. These CGI members have made more than 1,700 commitments valued at $57 billion, which have already improved the lives of 220 million people in more than 170 countries. The 2010 CGI Annual Meeting will take place from September 20-23, 2010, in New York City. The CGI community also includes CGI University (CGI U), a forum to engage college students in global citizenship, MyCommitment.org, an online portal where anybody can make a Commitment to Action, and CGI Lead, which engages a select group of young leaders from business, government, and civil society. For more information, visit www.clintonglobalinitiative.org.

About Imaflora

Imaflora (Institute for Forest and Agriculture Management and Certification) is a Brazilian nonprofit organization that has been working for 15 years to promote changes in the forest and agricultural sectors.

The Institute believes that by encouraging good production practices it is possible to promote the conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources and also to generate social benefits. To reach this objective, Imaflora values and disseminates positive examples while working with solutions based on ample processes of consultation and negotiation carried out in a balanced and representative way with the different stakeholders involved in land use and in forest, agricultural and livestock production.

For additional information, please, go to Imaflora’s Website (www.imaflora.org).

SOURCE Imaflora

Source: newswire

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