Interview with Mrs. Jacqueline Vieira, Executive-Superintendent for Environment and Water ResourcesSecretariat of Environment, Water Resources, Infrastructure, Urban Development and Metropolitan Issues of the State of Goias.
Goias is a state located in the Center-West region of Brazil, active member of nrg4SD, founding member of RegionsAdapt initiative and Regions for Biodiversity Learning Platform and highly committed with the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals in their territory.
On December 2015, during the UNFCCC COP21 in Paris, Goias, together with other 26 regional governments, became one of the founding members of the RegionsAdapt. Recently, Goias has sucessfuly reported its data to the 2017 RegionsAdapt data plataform, with that in mind, what are some of the actions adopted by the government of Goias to address climate change adaptation and to build resilience in your territory?
JV: The Climate Change Forum was created in 2016 by decree (number 8.652) and it is on the process of implementation. The State Plans on Mitigation and Adaptation shall be discussed in the Forum, and simultaneously subsidies the information collected in that frameword enables SECIMA (Goias’s Secretariat for Environment, Water Resources, Infrastructure, Urban Development and Metropolitan Issues) to participate in and contribute to the RegionsAdapt Plataform. Moreover, among some of our key initiatives that could be especially highlighted, the government has developed public campaigns for fire fighting and prevention, in collaboration with the State Fire Department. Besides, we are currently engaging a very ambitious project on extensive vegetation restoration in the Pouso Alto Preservation Area. Both of these are considered key initiatives for increasing our territory’s resilience, contributing to both the adaptation and mitigation of climate change.
Last year, in 2016, during CBD COP13 in Cancun, nrg4SD launched the Regions for Biodiversity Learning Platform – a long-term initiative to support regions design and improve their policies and strategies on biodiversity conservation through mutual learning, technical exchange and peer-review. During this occasion, the government of Goias announced its adhesion to the initiative, and since then has actively contributed to the Learning Platform. Can you briefly share some of the best practices of the government of Goias on Biodiversity?
JV: For the protection and conservation of biodiversity of Goias, two interlinked departments are directly responsible for the governments actions and policies: the Superintendence of Environment and Water Resources and the Superintendence of Protection of Environment and Protected Areas. Through these, the government of Goias is responsible for the management of twelve full protection parks, the monitoring of ten areas of sustainable use, as well as other areas with distinct levels of protection, as recognized by the national law, such as private reserves of the natural patrimony in different stages of implementation. In addition, it is worth mentioning that the two other raming full protection areas of our territory are lead by the national government.
Besides the regular actions of surveillance against illegal trade of wildlife, another efficient control goes through the recent strengthening of the state’s ‘Araguaia Surveillance Operation’. The operation has put in practice a prohibition to transport any kind of fish from the water sheds of Goias, and the surveillance is particularly increased during high tourism seasons.
Currently, our government is preparing a project to recover 196 ha of native species in the northeastern part of Goias. The project is to be implemented until the end of 2019, based on very strict criteria as to use only seeds from regional matrices.
In terms of improving land assessment, a Rural Registry System is in final stage of implementation, which includes cross georreferenced data and research in loco. The analytical phase of the new system allows to diagnose data distortion, as well to design ecological corridor.
The 2017 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) finished just last month in New York City. As part of the nrg4SD delegation to attending this UN event, the government of Goias presented a pilot project to support the localization of SDGs in specific city in your territory. Can you explain a little bit more about this project and its importance in creating a participatory process to implement the SDGs in Goias?
JV: The municipality of Alto Paraíso, Goias, was selected to become the place for a pioneer pilot-project on the implementation of the 17 SDGs, due to its unique environment. Alto Paraíso is located in the sustainable use protected area of Pouso Alto, together with six other municipalities. As the profile of theses municipalities are similar, the next stage of the project is to expand also to promote plans to implement the SDGs in all of them. This location is also particularly relevant considering the proximity to the National Park of Veadeiros, an area of full protection.
The idea of the project sets sustainable development as a crucial aspect to guide the integrated planning and policy-making of the municipalities, addressing different topics that are key for the region, such as the design of an ecological tourism plan, as well as low-impact dwelling system and production/consumption of energy, and fostering of local economic development.
The methodology towards achieving the SDGs is designed based on exhaustive discussions both in the local level – with civil society representatives and the local government leader and technical team – and also between the municipality and the state level. So each of the SDGs had tailored exchanges, involving the specific state Secretariats, according to it’s thematic relevance.
All activities organized to develop the SDGs strategy had the participation of high-level representatives of both Alto do Paraíso municipality and the Superintendent of Environment and Water Resources, in the government of Goias, as mediators and organizers of the process. Considering the level of political commitment, already in the initial stage for the implementation of the SDGs, the ongoing and defined projects were mostly included in the Annual State Budget Plan – the official government financial plan. Therefore, the pilot-project also included the fundamental effort of aligning the budget and the SDGs, ensuring the means of implementation of the governmental actions.
The planning methodology, involving both municipality departments and state secretariat was considered a unique innovation in the vertical integration of the public multilevel governance. Step-by-step actions were prioritized, defined and reviewed according to the ongoing actions and the needs identified around the SDGs.
Furthermore, the involvement of representatives of the local civil society in this planning has largely contributed to raise-awareness and build ownership on the SDGs, based on the necessary human-rights approach of this ambitious agenda.