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ADPF 746 (Fires in the Pantanal and the Amazon Forest)

Jurisdiction: Federal Supreme Court of Brazil

Side A: Labor Party (Individual government)

Side B: Federal Executive Branch (of Brazilian government) (Government)

Core objectives: Whether forest fires in the Pantanal ecosystem and the Amazon rainforest violate human rights of traditional and Indigenous communities.

On September 24, 2020, an Allegation of Noncompliance with a Fundamental Precept (ADPF), with a request for an injunction, was filed by the Labor Party (PT) due to the omission of the Federal Executive Branch regarding the duties of protection, prevention, precaution, inspection, conservation, surveillance and sustainability of the environment and, in particular, with regard to its action against fires that affected the Pantanal ecosystem and the Amazon Forest, emphasizing that this scenario affects climate change. The case highlights the economic and social impacts of the fires, especially for the native communities of the Pantanal, as well as the impacts of fires on the health of animals and the population, even more aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The plaintiffs state that there are risks for future generations, considering that the environmental effects, especially on the climate, are gradual. In addition, it points to violations of human dignity and rights to health, life and an ecologically balanced environment, as well as a lack of commitment to addressing the climate issue. It highlights that the quilombola, riverside and indigenous populations are the most directly affected. It therefore alleges structural failure in the environmental protection system. 

In an injunction, the plaintiff requires
(i) the adoption of operational efforts to combat fires in the Pantanal and the Amazon Forest, especially in order to restructure the National System for the Prevention and Combat of Forest Fires (PREVFOGO) and to implement an Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Deforestation in the Legal Amazon (PPCDAm), in addition to the creation of action plans similar to other Brazilian biomes,
(ii) the institution of an integrated public health and veterinary medical treatment project,
(iv) the creation of a multidisciplinary commission to serve as an observatory of these measures and
(v) the Ministry of the Environment's explanation of the budget execution of environmental protection programs in 2019 and 2020. 

On the merits, it requires recognition of the unconstitutionality of part of the environmental policy of the current Federal Executive Branch due to omissions in the face of incidents of devastation of biomes, confirming the preliminary injunctions. 

The main justice submitted to the request for an injunction to the plenary.

Case documents

from the Grantham Research Institute
from the Grantham Research Institute
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