PSB et al v Brazil (on Amazon fund)
Jurisdiction: Federal Supreme Court (STF)
Principle law(s): Decree n° 6527/08 providing for the establishment of the Amazon Fund
Side A: Rede Sustentabilidade
Side A: Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT)
Side A: Partido Socialismo e Liberdade (PSOL)
Side A: Partido Socialista Brasileiro (PSB)
Side B: Brazil
Core objectives: Four political parties filed a Direct Action of Unconstitutional Omission before the Federal Supreme Court to compel the Ministry of the Environment to resume the activities of the Amazon Fund.
On June 5th, 2020, four political parties filed a Direct Action of Unconstitutionality for Omission (ADI-O), before the Federal Supreme Court (STF), challenging the Federal government's alleged failure to adopt administrative measures concerning the Amazon Fund.
The Amazon Fund, created by the Decree 6,527/08, has the objective of promoting projects that prevent or combat deforestation and finances actions for the Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD +) mechanism, under the UNFCCC. The plaintiffs claim that the fund has not approved any project since 2019, although resources are available and projects are awaiting technical analysis. They further allege that between 2019 and 2020, important mechanisms that allowed the functioning and management of the Amazon Fund were extinguished, namely: the Technical Committee of the Amazon Fund (CTFA), responsible for calculating deforestation and the amount of carbon emitted, and the Steering Committee of the Amazon Fund (COFA), the Fund's governance body.
The plaintiffs rely on the common duty of the Federal Government, the States, the Federal District and the Municipalities to “protect the environment and fight pollution in any of its forms” and “to preserve forests, fauna and flora” per the Federal Constitution of 1988, as well as the precautionary principle. They also allege a violation of Article 225 of the Federal Constitution, regarding the State's duties to: preserve and restore ecological processes; promote the ecological management of ecosystems; define territorial spaces and its components to be specially protected; and protect fauna and flora. The petition also seeks an injunction to require that Federal Union take the necessary administrative measures to reactivate the operation of the Amazon Fund.
In June 2020 the Supreme Court admitted the lawsuit and requested the federal and state government actors involved to provide information related to: (i) the management and distribution of Fund resources; (ii) activities and projects linked to the Fund that have been implemented and suspended; (iii) data on the deforestation process observed in the Amazon region between 2013 and 2020; and (iv) contracts signed with international donors (Germany and Norway).
The Public Attorney’s Office (Advocacia-Geral da União, AGU), in the defense of the Federal Government, presented a response stating that the ADI-O would not be a suitable instrument “for demonstrating discontent or disagreement with the content of government actions”.
On June 26, 2020, the National Development Bank (BNDES), which manages the Amazon Fund, sent information about the resources and projects linked to it. Several NGOs were admitted as amicus curiae by Minister Rosa Weber. On October 23, 2020, Minister Rosa Weber held a public hearing to specify the arguments that underlie ADO 59, in addition to discussing the factual, statistical and normative contexts that permeate the protection and preservation of the Legal Amazon, through the Fund Amazon.
On March 18, 2022, the minister and president of the STF, Luiz Fux, admitted seven environmental cases on the agenda for March 30, 2022 (including two climate cases, this case and ADPF760
). This move by the STF is considered historical, and was called the "green agenda."
Related laws and policies
This decree mandates the National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES) to create the Amazon Fund.The Fund must provide for: 1) management of public forests and protected areas; 2) environmental control, monitoring and inspection; 3) sustainable forest management; 4) economic activitie...