BioForestALC and bioeconomy

May 30, 2022Bioamazon Project, Bioeconomy, News

Experts discussed challenges in strengthening the value chains of socio-biodiversity

The Amazon Region has enormous potential to contribute to a fair bioeconomy that includes micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). The Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO) as a member of the 1st Virtual Forum on the Potential of Non-timber Forest Products for the Bioeconomy of Latin America and the Caribbean- BioForestALC, within the framework of the Amazonian Regional Observatory (ARO) has been implementing a series of actions to learn more about bioeconomy and promote its development in the region. Among the activities are the holding of dialogue tables with specialists in flora and fauna of the region and the development of a regional information window on MSMEs, with emphasis on CITES species.

During the BioForestALC,  held virtually from May 23 to 26, the ACTO made available the Regional Knowledge Exchange of Information Platform   on Forests and Biodiversity Conservation  for the identification of bioeconomy experiences with non-timber forest products (NTFPs). Nineteen experiences were recorded, of which 12 were carried out in Brazil, six in Ecuador and two in Suriname.

The systematization of experiences in bioeconomy will collaborate with BioForestALC in achieving its objective of identifying and formulating joint initiatives to strengthen the bioeconomy in Latin America and the Caribbean based on the development of value chains of non-timber forest products.


The Virtual Forum on the Potential of Non-timber Forest Products for a Bioeconomy in Latin America and the Caribbean was held by the Brazilian Forest Service, with the support of other institutions such as the Center for Tropical Agricultural Research and Education (CATIE), the Brazilian Agricultural Research Company (Embrapa), the Ecological Research Institute (IPÊ), the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO), the University of Brasilia (UnB), and the ACTO. More than 200 people participated in the four-days-event, representing more than 100 institutions from 13 different countries interested in the bioeconomy agenda, including institutions in the public and private sectors; teaching and research; associations of producers; members of non-governmental organizations; national and international development agencies; etc.

In the opening session, the director of the SFB, Pedro Alves Corrêa Neto, highlighted the cooperation evidenced among institutions which contributed to the realization of the event. On the other hand, Guy Capdeville, PD&I Director of Embrapa, highlighted ACTO’s fundamental role in articulating and partnering with countries that share the biome to explore potential for technological cooperation.

The Secretary General, Alexandra Moreira, highlighted the potential of the Amazon region and the relevant work of ACTO in it. “We consider it important to work in these spaces with institutions devoted to the promotion of sustainable use of biodiversity.

The Amazon encompasses more than 40% of the territory of South America and hosts not only a great biodiversity, but also the largest rainforest in the world, for which our committed work in the fight against climate change and degradation, valuing biodiversity is essential,” she said.

In the panel “The forest bioeconomy in the promotion of human development in Latin America and the Caribbean” specialists such as Thais Juvenal, from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); Ricardo Abramovay, from University of São Paulo (USP); and Joaquim Belo, from the National Council of Extractive Populations (CNS) discussed on bioeconomy’s opportunities and challenges along with the importance of respecting the rights of forest peoples and their inclusion as bioeconomy protagonists.

Thais Juvenal, an economist focused on socio-environmental governance and finance, presented FAO’s publication “The State of the World’s Forests (SOFO) 2022”, and she also highlighted three main paths: the need to end the loss of forest cover and the relevance of conservation of environmental services; forest and landscape restoration; agroforestry and sustainable forest use; and the bioeconomy.

“There are no global statistics for non-timber forest products due to informality, incomplete market circuits, and heterogeneous naming and accounting, as these products are often combined with agricultural products or other industries. Without statistics it is difficult to plan investments,” said Juvenal.

Ricardo Abramovay, professor at the USP Department of Economics, stressed that, in terms of bioeconomy, tropical forests and, particularly, the Amazon are not included neither in the scientific literature nor in the technological frontier.

“There is concern that the Amazon is completely absent in this area. The paradox that the world’s richest biodiversity is far from the scientific and technological frontier of the bioeconomy is clear and was defined by Professor Bertha Becker many years ago: “We practice an economy of destruction of nature, especially in the Amazon. We need to apply knowledge economy and not environment destruction economy for, the latter, has not brought about development.”  

Today the Brazilian Amazon has the worst indicators in Brazil. We cannot talk about bioeconomy or sociobiodiversity economy, without respecting the rights of the populations living in the forests”, said Abramovay.

The representative of the National Council of Extractive Populations (CNS), Joaquim Belo, stated that bioeconomy has always existed “because the wealth of the Amazon has built the wealth of many people. The forest is our great green infrastructure, and our major challenge is the fight for the right to the collective use of land to guarantee the means of production. This fact has triggered a great debate, and it was difficult to understand the importance of peoples in the conservation of biodiversity and the forest.

The starting point of the discussion must be the territories, their experiences, their traditions, their way of being”, said Belo.

The Book

On the first day’s closure the Brazilian Forest Service launched the second edition of the book Bioeconomia da Floresta: A Conjuntura da Produção Florestal Não Madeireira no Brasil, available here.

On the second day, BioForestALC in working groups participants shared their experiences in the area of bioeconomy and discussed about challenges and opportunities that rise in this regard. The topics of the WG were capacity-building, training, and technical assistance; marketing, markets, and value chains: non-timber forest products and restoration, among others.

Next steps

On the last day of the forum (26/05) the guidelines were presented, among which the following stand out:

  • BioForestALC Network Creation Proposal,
  • Second call to share experiences on the ACTO RKEP platform,
  • Publication of a document containing the results of BioForestALC 2022, which will tentatively include, among others, the following chapters:
  • Bioeconomy of Forests in Latin America and the Caribbean, with official data presentation
  • Premises for the Development of Forest Bioeconomy in Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Proposals for Bioeconomy Development

Published in the Bioamazon Newsletter, issue n. 15, May- June 2022. ==================================================================


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