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Federal infrastructure projects use land that belongs to states and municipalities without necessarily consulting them formally about the work that will be carried out. However, like any major work, these projects cause both positive and negative impacts on territories and their respective populations.

Promoting a dialogue with the Brazilian Federal Government is essential for state and municipal governments to develop actions to avoid or mitigate the negative effects of such projects or even compensate adversely affected populations. Before local governments can take a position; however, they must be aware of federal infrastructure planning in their lands, as well as potential issues that maybe be related to the infrastructure projects like governance, areas of influence, and possible impacts.

Using methodologies developed by researchers from Climate Policy Initiative/Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (CPI/PUC-Rio), this study compiles a detailed overview of the four key federal infrastructure projects – either planned or being upgraded – in the state of Pará: Ferrogrão and BR-155/158, not yet started, and BR-163/MT/PA and BR-230, which are currently in the process of improvement. This overview will help the state government understand the cycle of these projects, their potential impacts, and potential points for discussion with the Federal Government. In addition to providing a general summary, this document also covers each of the four case studies in greater depth. This work draws on two basic methodologies: the methodology for mapping the project cycle to identify opportunities for dialogue with the Federal Government; and the market access approach used to identify areas of influence and expected impacts of projects under consideration.[1]

To illustrate the relevance of these federal projects for the state of Pará, CPI/PUC-Rio (i) analyzed the project life cycles and socio-environmental studies to identify areas that could be strengthened, and (ii) quantified the deforestation potential of each project.

Project Life Cycle

The first step in understanding a project is knowing where it currently stands in its life cycle. In this sense, each project is represented in a flowchart that shows: (i) which stages the project will go through; (ii) which stages it has already completed; (iii) which documents are available in each stage; and (iv) the current stage of the project. The second step is knowing the most opportune moment for dialogue and with whom to interact. The third step is understanding what to approach at each given moment.


Analysis of Socio-environmental Components

CPI/PUC-Rio also studied the criteria used by the projects to assess social and environmental components. To this end, CPI/PUC-Rio analyzed the Terms of Reference (TR) for the Technical, Economical and Environmental Feasibility Studies (Estudos de Viabilidade Técnica, Econômica
e Ambiental
– EVTEA), the manual for preparing EVTEA used by the National Department for Transport Infrastructure (Departamento Nacional de Infraestrutura de Transporte – DNIT), as well as international guides on the verification of socio-environmental components in railroads. CPI/ PUC-Rio’s researchers identified ten components that are always included, which highlights their importance when designing such studies.[2],[3],[4],[5],[6],[7],[8]


The Market Access Approach

In an innovative application, CPI/PUC-Rio’s researchers adapted the market access approach to quantify the effects of building highways, railroads, or waterways on deforestation. This methodology is based on the three steps described further below. The analysis identifies transport infrastructure built or improved over time to determine the costs of bilateral trade. Geoprocessing tools and freight information on various agricultural products are used to generate bilateral transport cost data on all Brazilian municipalities and between the municipalities and their nearest ports from 1990 to 2010. The analysis provides a way to define the area of influence and quantify environmental risks much more precisely than currently when using criteria exclusively of distance.

Area of Influence


Risk of Deforestation


Opportunities for Dialogue with the Federal Government

CPI/PUC-Rio prepared a summary of the central moments throughout the life cycle of federal terrestrial infrastructure projects that represent formal opportunities for dialogue with the Federal Government, indicating which federal agency is most likely to be the interlocutor and what to approach in this dialogue.

BR-155/158 Considering that the project is still in its initial phase, this is an opportunity for the state of Pará to closely monitor the progress of the project and the impacts identified in the EVTEA and voice the demands of the state as the Federal Government moves forward with the project.
FERROGRÃO Ferrogrão’s administrative proceeding is currently suspended due to judicial decision that is ruling on the dimension of Jamanxim National Park, which may affect the project’s design. Before suspended, Ferrogrão feasibility analysis was being done by TCU. However, even then, the Prosecutor’s Office within TCU (MPTCU) argued that the EVTEA should be immediately returned to ANTT given studies’ weaknesses.[9],[10] In that sense, the state of Pará could take advantage of the proceeding suspension and propose dialogues with TCU to express state’s demands that could eventually be considered in the possible project’s re-analysis by ANTT.
BR-163/230/MT/PA Considering that BR-163/230/MT/PA has already been auctioned off – i.e., it is currently in the implementation phase – there are no longer any suitable opportunities for the state to discuss the project itself with the Federal Government, but political coordination remains possible, as potential project impacts may happen independently of project status.
BR-230 Considering that the public notices are already underway (there is even a chance that they may already be concluded) the theoretical chances of a dialogue with the Federal Government before the project starts are significantly reduced. However, in practice, political coordination is still possible considering that project impacts happen independently of project status.

[1] To learn more about the work and methodology of CPI/PUC-Rio, please refer to this compilation of studies on sustainable infrastructure: Climate Policy Initiative. Sustainable Infrastructure Portfolio. 2021.

[2] Infra Eco Network Europe. International Guidelines for Ecologically-adapted Linear Infrastructure. 2018.

[3] International Finance Corporation. Environmental, Health, and Safety Guidelines for Railways. 2007.

[4] International Finance Corporation. Environmental, Health, and Safety Guidelines for Toll Roads. 2007.

[5] International Road Federation. Moving Towards Green Road Infrastructure. 2013.

[6] Quintero, Juan D. A Guide to Good Practices for Environmentally Friendly Roads. Latin America Conservation Council, 2016.

[7] World Bank. Roads and the environment, a handbook. 1997.

[8] World Bank. Environmental and Social Framework. 2017.

[9] Daniel Rittner. Ferrogrão enfrenta novo obstáculo no TCU. Valor, 14 de abril de 2021.

[10] The draft concession contract – made available at a public hearing and submitted to the TCU – states that the concessionaire is responsible for obtaining the LP (clause 8.1.1) (National Land Transport Agency. Public Hearing No. 14/2017.


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