Supreme Federal Court to vote on a package of environmental actions in March

In an unprecedented act in the history of rulings by the Court, seven actions related to environmental protection and climate change have been tabled for 30 March

Foto: Valter Campanato/Agência Brasil Foto: Valter Campanato/Agência Brasil

The president of the Supreme Federal Court (STF), Minister Luiz Fux has scheduled a session, on 30 March, to rule on seven actions regarding agendas related to environmental safeguards and tackling climate change.

Of the seven actions scheduled for ruling, six were reported by Minister Cármen Lúcia and one by Minister Rosa Weber. The “green agenda”, as the Court initiative has been dubbed, was announced on 8 March – one day before a meeting between more than 40 performers, among them Caetano Veloso, Daniela Mercury and Nando Reis and STF ministers.

According to Maurício Guetta, legal consultant at ISA (Socioenvironmental Institute), this is a historic ruling that could be the basis of a sustainable future in Brazil. He believes it is likely that not all the actions will be judged on the same day and that ministers may ask to see further documentation which could delay the final decision. Nonetheless, this agenda carries an important political message.

“We read this as being the STF´s response to the concerns of Brazilian society and the international community about environmental safeguarding and tackling the climate emergency”, says the lawyer. 

One of the actions to be judged by the ministers is ADPF (Non-fulfilment of a Fundamental Precept) 760, which calls for the resumption of the Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Deforestation in the Amazon region.

ADPF 760 contains extensive data and analyses on the destruction of the forest and the dismantling of environmental policies in the last three years. It was put together by a coalition of environmental and human rights organisations, including Artigo 19, APIB (Articulation of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil), Conectas Human Rights, CNS (National Committee of Extractivist Communities), Engajamundo, Greenpeace Brasil, ISA (Socioenvironmental Institute), Alana Institute, the Climate Observatory and Terrazul.

Julia Neiva, coordinator of the Conectas programme, Defending Socioenvironmental Rights, believes the actions also signal an upturn at the STF in the consolidation of socioenvironmental safeguarding, as a matter of both fundamental and human rights. “We have been seeing that the swing towards ´green´ issues in human rights has presented new opportunities for setbacks, previously seen in terms of different sectors, to be integrated in a broader agenda of respect for human dignity and tackling structural racism”, says Neiva. “Moreover, the STF´s ‘green agenda’, as it has been dubbed, is a historic moment for climate litigation, as this is the first time that our Supreme Court has spoken up on the matter, particularly ADPF 760, on the resumption of the PPCDAm, and ADO 59, concerning the Amazônia Fund”, she concludes. Conectas is amicus curiae (friend of the court) at both actions.

See below a summary of the actions tabled for 30 March:

  1. ADPF 760: calling for the resumption of the Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Deforestation in the Amazon Region;
  2. ADPF 735: questioning the presidential decree to withdraw Ibama´s independent monitoring of environmental crimes and transferring this role to the Armed Forces for Green Operations Brazil;
  3. ADPF 651: calling for the decree to exclude civil society from the deliberative board of the National Environment Fund to be deemed unconstitutional;
  4. ADO 54: accusing federal government of failing to fight deforestation
  5. ADO 59: calling for reactivation of the Amazônia Fund and for financial resources to be passed on to projects that have already been approved and for projects in analysis to be assessed;
  6. ADI 6148: questioning Conama´s resolution that sets out air quality standards, without establishing deadlines for the change;
  7. ADI 6808: contesting a provisional measure that allows automatic environmental licencing for companies in the category of average risk and prevents licencing bodies from requesting additional information, other than those provided to Redesim (National Network for the Simplification of the Registration and Legalisation of Companies and Businesses).

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