Second Meeting of the U.S.-Brazil Climate Change Working Group

November 16, 2016


On October 4-6, Brazil and the United States held the second meeting of the bilateral Climate Change Working Group (CCWG). The CCWG was co-chaired by Jonathan Pershing, U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change, and Ambassador José Antônio Marcondes de Carvalho, Brazilian Undersecretary-General for the Environment, Energy, Science and Technology. The CCWG held a High-Level Dialogue on national and multilateral climate action, launched a climate finance innovation lab, and convened the first binational private-public Forum on Innovative Forest Investments. The CCWG also identified new opportunities for cooperation to adapt to the impacts of climate change, and helped advance the implementation of its sustainable landscapes work programs.

High-Level Dialogue

Special Envoy Pershing and Ambassador Marcondes led a high-level dialogue to share information on mid-century strategies, progress towards implementation of our Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and government actions to mobilize private investment in the low-carbon technologies and infrastructure of the future. The Chairs emphasized the value of convening senior officials through the CCWG to accelerate progress in tackling climate change, and agreed to continue holding the High-Level Dialogue. Bringing together the climate leadership provides necessary oversight of the technical work and enables both countries to share perspectives on key international negotiations issues, including related to the UNFCCC, in an ongoing fashion.

Brazil Innovation Lab for Climate Finance

On October 6th, Brazil and the United States launched the Brazil Innovation Lab for Climate Finance (Brazil Lab) to catalyze innovative financing models designed to quickly deploy low-carbon solutions. Conducted under the auspices of the CCWG, the Brazil Lab builds on the experience of the Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance (Global Lab), aiming to complement existing climate finance mechanisms and Brazil's NDC implementation efforts.

The Management Committee of the Brazil Lab held its first formal meeting at the CCWG to define the Lab’s governance structures and priority investment areas. Officials from key agencies, participated in the meeting to advise the Management Committee including on the US side, the U.S. State Department, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), U.S. Trade and Development Authority (USTDA), and the U.S. Export-Important Bank, and on the Brazilian side, the Environment and Foreign Ministries.

The Brazil Lab will bring together experts from both the public and private sector (Members) to screen proposals and provide mentoring, advice and networking for selected proposals. Climate Policy Initiative (CPI), with offices in Brazil, will provide secretariat services and analytical support for selected proposals. The Brazil Lab will draw upon the ‎experience and expertise of its Members and CPI to identify, design, and pilot the next generation of climate finance instruments in Brazil. The Management Committee also expressed interest in expanding future iterations of the Brazil Lab to include climate projects in Portuguese-speaking Africa.

The Committee defined a workplan at its first meeting, agreeing to select proposals in early February and endorse final pilots in mid-2017. ‎The first call for Brazil-focused proposals is open through December 16, 2016 ( Proposals will be selected in accordance with the criteria established by the Global Lab and whether they have the potential to support implementation of Brazil’s NDC.

The Brazil Lab Management Committee will reach out to prospective Brazil Lab Members to build a panel that reflects ‎diverse expertise and institutional backgrounds (multilateral develop-ment banks, public private sector, government agencies, public/private development banks).‎

Catalyzing investment in forests

Brazil and the United States hosted the first public-private binational Forum on Innovative Forest Investment. The Forum brought together more than 40 experts from government, civil society, financial institutions, timber investment companies, and foundations to identify approaches for scaling up investment in forests in each country. The Forum focused on a number of cutting edge approaches currently being used to finance forest recovery, conservation, and management, and identified barriers to scaling up this investment. The outcomes of the Forum are intended to inform the work of the Binational Expert Group on Forest Finance, which aims to improve the environment for forest investment in each country.

Brazil and the United States have set substantial forest recovery targets, and will support large-scale recovery and reforestation of native vegetation through technical exchanges. Experts emphasized their common interest in using native species for reforestation and forest recovery. Both countries also provide technical cooperation to third countries on issues related to forests and climate change, and the Forum explored opportunities for enhanced coordination to improve the effectiveness of these programs. Experts noted the value of technical exchanges on monitoring, drawing on the respective capacities of each country. Brazil offered to host a visit by U.S. experts in order to share expertise on monitoring. The workplan for the forests initiative will be updated to reflect these discussions, and officials expect to implement a robust set of activities over the next year.

Low-carbon, climate resilient agricultural practices

Experts highlighted progress on bilateral cooperation on agricultural issues, and explored opportunities to better coordinate technical assistance in third countries. Brazil and the United States agreed that the binational Consultative Committee on Agriculture Climate Change Working Group (CCA-CC) would serve as an implementing mechanism for elements of the CCWG agricultural workplan, and would report on progress in these areas at subsequent meetings of the CCWG. In addition, a special session on emerging technologies generated interest in cooperation to tackle enteric fermentation, the largest global source of anthropogenic methane. Experts also recognized the potential to enhance coordination among existing agricultural technical cooperation projects in third countries, enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of these projects. The workplan for the agriculture initiative will be updated to reflect these discussions, and a full range of activities on low-carbon, climate resilient practices is planned in the coming months.

National actions to adapt to the impacts of climate change

The CCWG shared approaches to national adaptation planning, methodologies for risk assessment and vulnerability analysis, and climate change information management. Adaptation experts from the United States and Brazil presented on their countries’ respective national adaptation planning processes, with Brazil covering its recently launched National Adaptation Plan (NAP), comprised of 11 sector-specific plans. Participants from the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Global Change Research Program, and Brazil’s Ministry of Environment also shared best practices and recent advancements on risk assessment and vulnerability analysis, and climate data and information management. The CCWG agreed to cooperate with stakeholders to produce a report, for consideration at the next CCWG meeting, that would capture best practices and key messages on adaptation. The report aims to effectively communicate the wealth of information on adaptation discussed in the past two CCWG meetings.

The CCWG will reconvene in June/July 2017 in Brazil.