Supporting Brazilian Public Prosecutors to Value Social and Environmental Impacts


The Brazilian Federal Public Prosecutor's Office (MPF) is a government institution, independent of the three branches of the government, that is responsible for defending citizens against abuses and negligence by the government, and defending public property against attacks by individuals in bad faith. MPF actively promotes and guarantees the development of a democratic society in Brazil, with an emphasis on representing minorities and disadvantaged populations. MPF has been active in combating activities that result in negative social and environmental impacts, such as illegal gold mining. However, prosecutors are often challenged to properly assess the financial penalties for individuals and companies for these infractions.

CSF-Brazil is working with MPF to develop a "Mining Impacts Calculator" to calculate the social and environmental damages from illegal gold mining. Once the calculator has been validated in a test case, we will train Brazil’s public prosecutors and MPF experts to use it.

On a related but separate issue, a number of previously banned pesticides have recently been legalized in Brazil and people are concerned about the consequences of their widespread application. To support MPF in understanding the environmental damage and toxicity levels related to different types of pesticides and application methods, and their costs and benefits, we are putting together an overview of the “economics of pesticides” based on an extensive literature review and interviews with national and international experts. We will then conduct a seminar with the public prosecutors to review pesticide impacts and define next steps for protecting Brazil’s ecosystems.

Photo: Deforestation from illegal mining activities in Brazil.

Photo Credit: PARALAXIS/