Coordination is weak between public policies on climate change and development planning in Latin America, said Manuel Rodríguez-Becerra, ex Minister of Environment of Colombia, during the Latin American Platform on Climate (LAPC) side event at the Río+20 Conference.
At the side event, the preliminary findings were presented from research conducted in 10 Latin American countries on the status and quality of public policies on climate change and development. Led by the LAPC with financing from the Oak Foundation and AVINA, this unprecedented effort in the continent attempts to identify the principal governmental actions and initiatives on climate change and development in 10 countries, the quality of those policies, their level of implementation, the capacities and resources of the agencies responsible for carrying them out, and the level and characteristics of political and social support regarding these government agendas and actions. The technical coordinator for the regional report, Daniel Ryan, gave examples extracted from national reports for each aspect analyzed, which demonstrated the wealth of information gathered by the ten research teams in Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and El Salvador. Professor Eduardo Viola, University of Brasilia, underscored that “… one thing is the plan and another is the reality…” regarding the conflicts that Brazil must eventually face when allocating budget resources, for example, to Petrobras or to ethanol, wind or nuclear energy; this is when we see the true face of public policies. Viola stated that “Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia are totally schizophrenic” referring to the environmental discourse versus fostering extractive activities in those countries. “One can understand policy not only by watching the specific policies but sectoral policies overall. At times it is more interesting to look at what has not been written”, said Rodríguez-Becerra. Government priorities are reflected in tax, credit and macroeconomic policies in general, he said, that foster a given trend. Policymakers are not interested in consolidating anything but extraction-oriented policy, he stressed. The report identifies patterns in the status of such policies and generates recommendations for each country, and in regional terms, to reinforce the domestic and regional climate agendas. The first report, which will come out every two years, focuses on public policies on climate change and the agricultural and forest sector (AFOLU: Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Uses). This initial approach reflects the importance of the agricultural and forestry sector for Latin American economies; regional emissions (agriculture and changes in land use [deforestation] produce 63% of the region’s GHG emissions); and due to other studies focusing on the energy sector. The Final Report will be available on this blog by mid-August along with the 10 national reports, each of which will be published in its own right.