Solidaridad celebrates World Environment Day

South American countries share a unique potential to feed the world and a responsibility to protect its rainforests, as they sequester and safeguard the atmosphere carbon. Big steps have been taken on national policy making to tackle climate change in the region.

Law enforcement, nevertheless, remains challenging against land use pressures to convert forests into pastures and croplands. Solidaridad’s landscaping approach aims to bring together key supply chain stakeholders to identify those challenges and reach consensus on production schemes that ensure sustainable land management  and preservation of  high conservation value areas .

Enabling environments for multi stakeholder agreements

Paraguay, as Colombia and Bolivia, is one of the recipients of the United Nations collaborative initiative on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD). Within this framework, Solidaridad was present last June 5th at the launch of Paraguay’s national platform for soy and beef, at UNDP’s headquarters in Asunción. Dr. Cristina Morales from the Environment Secretary (SEAM), and Mrs. Cecilia Ugaz, UNDP Resident Representative in Paraguay, chaired the event that assembled key stakeholders from the supply chain that will integrate the platform, from government agencies to producer groups and relevant CSOs.

“Solidaridad has already proved in countries like Colombia the effectiveness of its strategies to improve and develop sustainable supply chains. Through its “round table” models, Solidaridad builds platforms where the public and the private sector work together to establish more prosperous countries”, stated Mr. Joris Jurriëns, Deputy Head of Mission in Netherlands Embassy in Buenos Aires, special guest at the occasion as the project is co-funded by Solidaridad managed Farmer Support Programme.

The platform will, in fact, provide generally confronted sectors an enabling environment to discuss and formulate policy improvement recommendations to the Environment Secretary. Also, together with Green Commodity participants and the local UNDP office, it will work on minimum production standards for private sector initiatives to gain legal license to operate.

Country Pilot to test regional models

As neighbour countries in the region, Paraguay has undergone major changes in land use that affects its forest mass. The Eastern region, specially, has grown from 55% coverage of its territory in the 1940s to 24% in the 2000s, raising Paraguay to the status of vulnerable country to the adverse effects of climate change. Within this framework, the Government enacted a zero net deforestation law in 2004 and has since worked to improve shortcomings and weaknesses in the agro-pastoral extensive and intensive production for export policies, and lack of land use planning, incompliances, overlaps and gaps in legislation and institutional capacities, as stated by the Secretary for Environment.

No risk supply sheds trough a comprehensive intervention

The national platform is meant to be the “upper” intervention layer within an articulate scheme Solidaridad is piloting in Paraguay towards developing no risk supply sheds. The activities that complement it are:

  • Tackling environmental and social issues generated by the expansionof the agricultural frontier by means of a trust fund for rural development activities. This is the result of a long-termCSR effort from a group of private companies to raise funds to give rural communities under the poverty line access to financing. The trust will enhance:
    • Credit access to 1.000 small holders in San Pedro department (with projection to reach a total 5.000 in 10 years) for farming technification with the purpose of recuperating prior-2004 deforested areas where old cut logs prevented cultivation and adopt no-till seeding practices.
    • Hiring more controller staff  to empower Environment Secretary law enforcement on agrochemical management regulations. This includes building living barriers to prevent glyphosate herbicide coming near towns and roads and respecting minimum distances  for spraying.
    • Development of training materials in best agricultural practices on agrochemical usage and waste disposal management for small producers.
    • Community investments on roads, health and education infrastructure.
  • Preservation of risk prone areas through land use planing and on farm producer support on responsible management of agrochemicals and waste disposal. The objective of this block is to protect the water sheds around the Mbaracayú biosphere reserve in Amambay and Canindeyú departments, managed by Fundación Moisés Bertoni. The Rural Horizons methodology will be used to assess producers needs on sustainable practices and develop tailor made trainings to fill their gaps. The target is to engage 500 soy smallholders and 2500 small cattle ranchers to produce 185.000 tons of soy and 50.000 heads of cattle under RTRS and GRSB sustainability standards, with a secure local market outlet.
  • Mainstreaming sustainable beef production in no risk areas through marketing incentives. The goal of this block is to create an export “natural beef” label for grass fed, animal welfare compliant and traceable meat from the field to the supermarket -among other benchmarks to be set-. The target is to engage 250 medium and large producers from the Asociación Rural del Paraguay and reach 750.000 hectares and 500.000 cattle heads under continuous improvement management using GRSB (Global Round Table for Sustainable Beef) principles .

To learn more:  contact Paraguay Country Manager, Gustavo Ruíz Díaz at