Valuing the Amazon



Civil society organisations in Brazil are concerned about economic development putting pressure on socially and environmentally sound development, specifically in the Amazon region.

Dams have flooded already more than 4,000 square miles of the Brazilian Amazon. Two-thirds of Brazil's remaining hydroelectric potential is found on the rivers of the Amazon basin, and in the context of the Brazilian government's Programme to Accelerate Growth (PAC) more than 100 large dams are being planned. This would affect the Amazon's fragile web of aquatic and terrestrial life, as well as displacing indigenous and rural communities and would lead to the vast opening up of new agricultural land in the Brazilian Amazon.

Research commissioned by Both ENDS has investigated how current Dutch trade and investment relations with Brazil can be improved to stimulate sustainable development in this vulnerable region.

Image: International Rivers


The Brazilian economy is currently the largest in Latin America and the 10th largest in the world. PAC aims to nearly double Brazil's economic growth rate. Transportation infrastructure in the country is lacking, and the Amazon ecosystem is considered as a major bottleneck for further economic growth. Public and private investment in economic infrastructure is to overcome this 'bottleneck'.

The Netherlands is a key trading partner of Brazil. There are strong motivations for strengthening ties between Brazil and the Netherlands in the area of infrastructure development, particularly with regard to ports and waterways, a Dutch area of expertise. Both countries have good reasons for wanting to strengthen these ties.

Brazil is seeking to overcome an excessive reliance on highway transportation and develop its inland waterways. It recognises the Netherlands' expertise and experience in developing and managing inland waterways and port facilities and wishes to emulate its success as a regional trade hub.

The Dutch interest lies not only in stimulating an export market for water and infrastructure related products and services, but also in securing the import of highly demanded raw materials, such as soy and biofuels, from the Brazilian Amazon.


Both ENDS and its partner organisations in Brazil have been following the intensification of diplomatic support for economic relations between the Netherlands and Brazil and argue that this economic engagement should be balanced by more intensive cooperation in the area of social and environmental policies and regulations.



The "Both ENDS Policy Note - Safeguarding the Amazon" synthesises the results of two studies commissioned by Both ENDS:

Valuing the Amazon, Impacts of soy and soy export infrastructure in the Brazilian Amazon region


Dams and Hidrovias in the Tapajos Basin of Brazilian Amazonia


Anouk Franck - project manager

Burghard Ilge - programme officer policy development


Both ENDS organised an expert meeting on the 24th of May 2011 during which partners presented their research findings and recommendations to the Dutch Ministries of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation and Foreign Affairs as well as a representative from the business sector


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