Governance rather than rules

What have we learnt with Brazil's environmental policy?



Brazil, Environmental policies, Governance, Law enforcement


In recent years, Brazilian environmental policies have been criticized when compared to policies implemented particularly from 2004 to 2010. One particular feature is focused on environmental law enforcement governance, taking into account the expanding Protected Areas and Indigenous Lands, the development monitoring systems to detect vegetation loss, and others, like an important task force including Federal Police and other ministries. In this sense, this work aims to tell the rise and fall of Brazil's environmental policies, aiming to present the changing conditions from a strong to weak environmental governance. The hypothesis of the article is based on the idea that law enforcement governance is more important to explain the environmental policies outcomes than rules. Following literature, we use “environmental governance” to refer to the set of regulatory processes, mechanisms and organizations through which political actors influence environmental actions and outcomes (law enforcement). The research is based on extensive statistical data from Brazil's public data (deforestation, protected areas, illegal harvesting, budget, etc.) and also local and international reports. Additionally, the work aims to identify the environmental governance actors in Brazil: market actors, state actors and, more recently, civil society-based actors such as nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and local communities. The article evidences the importance of enforcement of the law and the weaknesses of environmental institutions and governance process considering the partisan perspective (state capacity). Finally, some proposals will be presented to overcome the ongoing extractive posture in Brazilian environmental governance.


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Governance more than rules:




How to Cite

Felippe Cury Marinho Mathias J. Governance rather than rules: What have we learnt with Brazil’s environmental policy?. BRaS-J [Internet]. 2022Oct.19 [cited 2023Feb.7];1(1):1-32. Available from: