Deposition: the development of the SNUC
The process of development of the SNUC began in 1988, from a proposal developed by the Pro-Nature Foundation (FUNATURA), by order of the former IBDF. The draft project was delivered to the then-IBAMA in 1989 and presented to CONAMA. In 1992 the government forwarded the proposal with some modifications to the Chamber of Deputies, initiating its processing.
It fell upon the Commission of Defense of the Consumer, Environment, and Minorities (CDCMAM) to pronounce upon the project’s merit, with terminative powers. Or rather, being approved in the CDCMAM and in the Commission on the Constitution, Justice, and Redaction – CCJ, the project would forwarded directly, without the necessity of approval of the entire body of the Chamber of Deputies.
The comptroller designated by the CDCMAM was Deputy Fábio Feldmann, who presented his report with a substitutive proposal at the end of 1994. As it was not approved, at the beginning of the new legislature in 1995 the PL (Liberal Party) preceded on the report of Deputy Fernando Gabeira. Under the presidency of Deputy Sarney Filho, the CDCMAM takes the unprecedented initiative of holding public audiences outside of the Congress, with the objective of amplifying the debate over the SNUC. Audiences were held in Cuiabá, Macapá, Curitiba, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Salvador.
The public debate surrounding the SNUC also gained force with the holding of other events, especially some that dealt directly with the most controversial themes, such as the question of residents in Full Protection UC’s.
In 1996 ISA (Instituto Socioambiental) held an Internal Seminar with invited guests in order to discuss perspectives for new legislation based on concrete experience in conservation under the socio-environmental perspective. Projects involving traditional or rural populations, such as those developed in the Mamirauá Sustainable Development Reserve, in the Jaú National Park, and in the Serra do Brigadeiro State Park, among others. The effort resulted in the publication Units of Conservation in Brazil: Legal Aspects, Innovative Experiences, and New Legislation (SNUC).
Another event organized by ISA in partnership with the WWF, IPAM, PPG7, and the CDCMAMA contributed to the debate. The realization of the Seminar on human presence in Units of Conservation, in the Chamber of Deputies, was sufficient to generate opposing reactions from the most conservationist sectors. Some of the reactions were positive. It was at this moment that the Pro-Units of Conservation Network was created and the First Brazilian Congress on Units of Conservation idealized.
In this period ISA presented two proposals to be considered for the new law. The first instituted the Indigenous Natural Resources Reserve (RIRN), with the objective of constituting a mechanism for confronting the question of the overlapping of UC’s with indigenous lands (TI). The RIRN provided for the creation, through the initiative of the Indians, of reserves of protection of natural resources within indigenous lands. These reserves could be created in those case in which the studies realized by an inter-institutional workgroup (indigenous community, indigenous and environmental bodies, and other institutions, public or private, with recognized activity in the area) concluded that the coexistence of the UC and TI would be incompatible to which it relates. The overlapping area would be, thus, reclassified as RIRN, going on to be managed by the indigenous communities themselves, under a sustainable plan of management, with the support of competent federal bodies, if so desired by the community. The RIRN proposal came to make up part of the report by Deputy Gabeira, but was censured by governmental and non-governmental opposition (know more: Indigenous Lands in Brazil: A Balance of the Jobim Era).
The other proposal presented by ISA was one of provisional interdiction of the areas to be earmarked as UC’s, with the objective of permitting deeper studies on the most appropriate category. This proposal was also not approved because some environmentalists alleged that announcing the creation prior to doing it could stimulate a greater depredation of the natural landmark. In 2005, the federal government again took up the idea of creating the figure of the Area of Provisional Administrative Limitation (ALAP), used in the regions of influence from highways BR-163 and BR-319, described in Art. 22-A of the SNUC by Law No. 11.132 of 07/04/2005.
At the end of 1996 Deputy Gabeira presented his substitutive for vote, following a long process of negotiation that involved the environmental area of the Government, environmental entities, and Deputies directly interested. But the government itself did not permit the vote, as it considered the proposal to be too “socio-environmental”.
At the start of 1998, trying again to take up the discussion of the material, the comptroller filed a regime of urgency for the project, though despite the request having been approved, the lack of a political decision impeded it from entering into the order of the day in the full Chamber.
After many comings and goings, the processes of discussion that involved diverse non-governmental organizations, the project was finally approved in the CDCMAM on June 9, 1999. The following day the full Chamber of Deputies finally approved the law project, inserting at the last moment an amendment establishing that protected areas could only be created through law.
As soon as this device was included there was a strong reaction on behalf of the environmentalists, and the government committed itself to vetoing it, given that it removed from itself the attribution of creation of new UC’s.
Approved in the Chamber of Deputies, the project was then forwarded to the Federal Senate. Some amendments and a requirement that the project be analyzed by the Infrastructure Commission were presented. All were denied, and a strong process of negotiation began in which the federal government assumed a leadership role. The fear of the government and of several of the organizations that accompanied the process was that the approval of the new legislation might be delayed even more, given that any alteration made by the Senate to the project would send it back to the Chamber of Deputies.
In this process the vetoes that would be made were also negotiated. In addition to the previously mentioned veto of the article that restricted the creation of UC’s to law, the definition of traditional populations, which, on one hand, was considered too broad and far-reaching by the government and, on the other, caused some confusion among the extractive populations was also vetoed, given that the text of the law referred to them with regards to the UC’s of sustainable use, but did not distinguish them in the definition.
The other vetoes referred to the possibility of exploitation of natural resources in the Private Reserve of Natural Heritage (RPPN’s); to the typifying of environmental crimes in the UC’s; to the possibility of reclassification of a unit to another category in function of the presence of populations in its interior; to the exemption of ITR intended for the private portions of lands in units of conservation, as already provided for by a specific law.
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