Amazon Fund

Amazon Fund


The Amazon Fund is a mechanism focused on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (REDD+) and was created to raise contributions so that investments can be made in efforts to prevent, monitor and combat deforestation, as well as to promote the conservation and sustainable use of forests in the Amazon Biome. Although the Amazon Fund was created by the government and is managed by a public bank, it is a private fund. Since its inception in 2009, the Fund has supported over 100 projects.

Basic Description

Name of the Fund Amazon Fund (Fundo Amazônia)
Official Fund Website
Date Created
Date fund proposed: 1st August 2008
Date fund made operational: 1st March 2009
Proposed Life of Fund Undetermined.
Objectives The Amazon Fund supports projects aimed at preventing, monitoring and combating deforestation and at promoting the conservation and sustainable use of the Brazilian Amazon in the following areas:

  • Management of public forests and protected areas
  • Environmental control, monitoring and inspection
  • Sustainable forest management
  • Economic activities developed from the sustainable use of vegetation
  • Ecological and Economic Zoning (ZEE), land-use planning and landholding regularisation
  • Conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity
  • Recovery of deforested areas.
  • Management of public forests and protected areas
  • Environmental control, monitoring and inspection
  • Sustainable forest management
  • Economic activities developed from the sustainable use of vegetation
  • Ecological and Economic Zoning (ZEE), land-use planning and landholding regularisation
  • Conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity
  • Recovery of deforested areas.
Financial inputs and fund size The Amazon Fund has received donations from foreign governments and companies and has a cumulative pledge of USD 1.2 billion.
The contributors are: Norway, Germany, and Petrobras (Brazil).
The contributions from contributing countries are included as ODA.
Activities Supported The main themes covered by the Amazon Fund activities are:

  • Indigenous lands
  • Conservation units
  • Rural Environmental Registry – CAR
  • Settlement
  • Combating illegal fires and burn-offs.

With the aim of boosting operating efficiency, to better distributing analytical work and BNDES’ monitoring of the projects, as well as project results, for operating purposes the areas for investment of the Amazon Fund are grouped under the following modalities:

  • Protected Areas (Environmental Management and Services)
  • Sustainable Production Activities
  • Science and Technology Development Applied to Sustainable Use of Biodiversity
  • Institutional Development and Improvement of Control Mechanisms.

Besides this, up to 20% of the Amazon Fund’s disbursements may support the development of systems for monitoring and controlling deforestation in other Brazilian biomes and in biomes of other tropical countries.
Of the funds disbursed in 2019, 47.7% were allocated to projects led by NGOs and community organisations. The remaining 52.3% were allocated to public sector projects (49.3% to projects with the Union and 3% to projects with state governments).

Administrating Organization

Secretariat or Administrative Unit The Amazon Fund is managed by the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES), which is responsible for contracting and monitoring the projects as well as for disclosing activities, outcomes and impacts.
Trustee The Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) is the permanent trustee.

Fund Finance and Access Modalities

Conditions and Eligibility Requirements The eligible regions are Brazilian Amazon or Legal Amazon comprising all of the states of Acre, Pará, Amazonas, Roraima, Rondônia, Amapá and Mato Grosso, and the regions located north of the 13 ° S parallel of the states of Tocantins and Goiás and to the west of the meridian of 44 ° W of the State of Maranhão (article 3, I, of Law 12.651, of May 25, 2012)
Accessing the Fund
Access Modalities – To be eligible to access the Amazon Fund, initiatives must comply with the Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon (PPCDAm), ENREDD+, state plans for preventing and combating deforestation, guidelines and criteria developed by the Guidance Committee of the Amazon Fund (COFA), as well as BNDES Operational Policies (OP).
Furthermore, eligible projects should directly or indirectly contribute to reducing deforestation in the Amazon.
Financial Instruments – Grants.
Accreditation process – Requests for financial support can be sent to the BNDES through a Financial Support Request Form which specifies the basic characteristics of the Applicant (e.g. company) and of the project to be supported by the Amazon Fund.

The projects can be submitted by several kinds of entities: direct and indirect federal, state and municipal public administration bodies; research support foundations; non-governmental organisations and civil society organisations of public interest; private companies; cooperatives; governmental and university research centres; scientific and technological institutes, environmental, agrarian and support (federal, state and municipal) entities; research support foundations linked to public bodies acting in the Amazon forest region, as well as entities involved in environmental control and fighting environmental crimes.

The Preliminary Consultation (PC) is organised based on the characteristics and information of the proposing entity and the basic elements of the project. The PC enters then a stage of verification of the documentation, the adequacy of the project and the proponent’s ability to execute the project.

The Committee for Eligibility of Credit Operations of BNDES (CEC) deliberates on the eligibility of the PC. If the project is judged eligible, the client presents additional information and documentation and follows the analysis stage (technical visits, detailed knowledge of the project) in which the operational department responsible for managing the Amazon Fund makes recommendation regarding financial support for the project.
Once the Bank’s Board of Directors has approved support for a project, the applicant receives the requirements for contracting the operation. Once all conditions are met, the first disbursement of resources is released.

Overview of implementing entities – Implementing entities include government bodies (e.g. Brazilian Forestry Service), NGOs, community organisations, international organisations and universities (e.g. the Federal University of Parà).

The full list of actual implementing entities is not available.

Nature of recipient country involvement – The Amazon Fund is owned and managed by Brazilian bodies, with restricted intervention from the contributing countries.
Allocation criteria – The resource allocation differs depending on the purpose of the projects:

  • For projects generating economic profits, the maximum participation is between 50% to 90% of the total cost. For projects generating economic profits and supporting social groups in need, the maximum participation can reach 100%. For projects generating economic profits and supporting local productive arrangements for collective use, the maximum participation is 90%.
  • For projects with scientific and technological purposes and jointly developed by technological Institutions and private sector entities, the maximum participation is between 70% to 90% of the total cost.
Safeguards, Gender and Indigenous Peoples
Safeguards – The Amazon Fund’s Social and Environmental Safeguards follow the REDD+ Social and Environmental Safeguards consolidated in 2010 by the Institute of Forest and Agricultural Management and Certification (Imaflora). These are the result of a broad discussion on the social and environmental risks of REDD+ in Brazil, based on a bottom-up approach that included representatives of Indigenous Peoples and local communities, smallholders, research institutions, the private sector, and environmental organisations. They are regularly updated to keep them aligned with new decisions of the Guidance Committee of the Amazon Fund (COFA), which established the “Guidelines and Criteria for the Application of Resources” directed to the Amazon Fund’s main beneficiaries; namely traditional communities, settlements and family farmers. The safeguards decision process led to the agreement of eight principles: legal compliance; acknowledgement and guarantee of rights; distribution of benefits; economic sustainability, improving standards of living and reducing poverty; environmental conservation and remediation; participation; monitoring and transparency; and governance.
These safeguards are implemented by analysing project proposals for potential risks and impacts and by identifying efforts for their elimination or mitigation. The result of this analysis may be changes in some aspects of the initial project, the inclusion of conditions to be met throughout stages of approval and contracting, and/or disbursement of resources for implementation.
Gender – The Amazon Fund does not have a formal gender policy. The Fund has a gender mainstreaming strategy and encourages women’s inclusion and empowerment. The 2019 mid-term evaluation report on the effectiveness of the Amazon Fund highlights that the implementation of the Amazon Fund’s strategy is still incipient. The report also emphasises that the information available on the official website is insufficient with regard to gender objectives and outcomes.
Indigenous Peoples – The Amazon Fund does not have a formal policy for Indigenous Peoples. However, it follows the REDD+ Social and Environmental Safeguards, which intend to ensure that REDD+ initiatives address properly sensitive issues such as the rights of Indigenous Peoples and traditional communities. In addition, to be considered eligible, projects involving traditional communities and Indigenous Peoples “must necessarily present documents certifying the previous consent of these communities or their representative institutions”.

Fund Governance

Decision Making Structure
The Amazon Fund is managed by the BNDES which is also responsible for raising and investing funds, facilitating contracts, supporting and monitoring projects and efforts, rendering accounts and communicating results obtained.
The Amazon Fund’s decision making structure is based on:

  • The Amazon Fund Guidance Committee (COFA)
  • The Amazon Fund Technical Committee (AFTC)
The Amazon Fund Guidance Committee (COFA) – A three-block committee comprising the federal government, state governments and civil society (including indigenous peoples, traditional communities, NGOs, industry and scientists). Each block holds one vote on committee decisions and each member holds one vote inside his block. COFA is in charge of setting the Amazon Fund guidelines and of following up on the results attained. In addition, it is COFA’s responsibility to ensure the adequacy of Amazon Fund projects under the guidelines it has set, and for the goals, commitments and policies of the Plan for the Prevention and Control of Deforestation in the Amazon (PPCDAM) and of the directives of the Sustainable Amazon Plan (PAS).
The Amazon Fund Technical Committee (AFTC) – Six authoritative technical and scientific experts appointed by the Ministry of Environment for a three year term, extendable once for an equal period. The AFTC issues the certificates of carbon emission reductions and it calculates the amount of carbon per hectare as well as the amount of deforestation avoided.
Accountability Mechanisms Project monitoring is based on standard BNDES processes, with mechanisms focused on checking that grant recipients are spending money on the activities stated. The process of monitoring has three stages.

  • First, projects submit performance reports to BNDES, according to agreed indicators.
  • Second, each release of funds is subject to verification by BNDES for compliance with relevant contractual provisions and clauses.
  • Third, at the end of the project, the organisation must submit a final report which includes a narrative description cost breakdown, analysis of results and assessment of impacts and lessons learnt and a self assessment of the project and of the relationship with BNDES.

Two years after the project has been implemented, the organisation is required to submit an Effectiveness Assessment Report.
Since 2009, the Amazon Fund has published an annual report that reflects the insights from project level reporting. The annual report is reviewed and approved by the COFA and can be found at:
Independent evaluations also assess the effectiveness of the Fund’s projects and whether the application of the funds adhere to the guidelines set by the COFA. In 2019, a team of independent consultants completed a mid-term evaluation covering the period from 2008 to 2018. The evaluation is accessible at:
It is unclear whether the Amazon Fund has a dedicated Fund-specific grievance mechanism

Participation of Observers and Stakeholders Consultations with non-government stakeholders are an integral part of the Amazon Fund’s decision-making process.

The guidance regarding effective stakeholder participation is provided by its Environment Safeguards. In COFA, the following Civil Society Organisations are represented: the NGOs and Social Movements for the Environment and Development Brazilian Forum, the Organisations Indigenous to the Brazilian Amazon Coordination, the National Confederation of Agricultural Workers, the Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science, the National Confederation of Industry, and the National Forum for Forest Based Activities.

The Amazon Fund guidelines state that “projects must include the consent of all partners and co-executors”. In the Mid-term Evaluation Report on the Effectiveness of the Amazon Fund (2019), the Fund’s approach to stakeholder participation is criticised as follows: “Though there are opportunities for participation, the debates promoted by the Amazon Fund including indigenous and traditional peoples are still predominantly technical, comprising of exchange workshops between projects and meetings at COFA. Thus, these opportunities become less inclusive for grassroots organizations, which make the legitimate participation of these actors impossible” (p.55).

Representatives of the Amazon Fund’s main contributor countries (Norway and Germany) can attend COFA meetings as observers without the right to vote or speak. Additional observers – representatives of states not listed in the Amazon Fund Decree, specialists or guests – have the possibility to participate in the meetings provided that there is no objection from a full-voting member.

Transparency and Information Disclosure Contributions and disbursements can both be found on the Amazon Fund website.

Details on individual projects are available at:

There is no information available on the Amazon Fund website on whether the Fund has a dedicated information disclosure policy.

Other Issues Raised Critical issues raised by Brazilian Civil Society – Organisations include concerns about a lack of transparency on eligibility criteria and the project approval cycle; the difficulty of access to the fund by local and grassroots organisations; and the lack of coherence between the fund objectives and national development strategies.