Brazil has one of the most extensive coastlines in the world, with more than 8,500 km. The Brazilian coast is home to around 26.6% of the countrys population. The use and occupation of coastal areas in an orderly manner represents one of the greatest challenges for environmental management. It is estimated that 40% of the Brazilian coast faces serious erosion problems, caused mainly by anthropic intervention in coastal processes through interferences in the sedimentary balance and urbanization of the border. This scenario, where a complex system of high environmental and economic value is subject to pressures from different factors, requires high level management with the coordination of a multiplicity of actors and partners.
The Ministry of the Environment (MMA) commits to launch and implement the National Program for the Conservation of the Brazilian Coastline (PROCOSTA) to consolidate a program for monitoring, managing and conserving the national coastline in face of anthropic and natural pressures. The Program will address the need for long-term planning involving different sectors and levels of government as well as civil society and the private sector. It also includes actions to adapt to climate change. The Program is composed of four structuring projects:
- The Alt-Bat Project which aims to accurate define the country's coastline and establish a national database for coastal modeling systems. This project is already under way as a result of partnerships between the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE); the National Cartography Commission (CONCAR), the Integration Committee of the Vertical Terrestrial and Maritime Components (CICVTM); and the MMA. Other partners include the Brazilian Navy; the Ministry of Mining and Energy (MME) and the Brazilian Geological Survey (CPRM); the Brazilian Army; several Brazilian universities as well as state environmental and/or coastal management agencies.
- The Coastal Hazards Project aims to use modeling software to make projections future scenarios impacts on the coastline at intervals of 5, 10, 25 and 50 years;
- The Coastal Risks and Adaptation Strategies Project aims to create risk identification maps considering socio-environmental and economic aspects followed by an action plan with risk mitigation strategies;
- The Coastline Conservation Management and Monitoring Project aims to establish a continuous coastline monitoring program, including a system of valuation and payment for environmental services provided by preserved coastal ecosystems.
As soon as scenarios are defined for the coastline, data related to the density of human occupation, industrialization, protected areas, natural environments should be inserted. Consequently, risks can be assessed socially, economically and environmentally. In a given time frame, it will be possible to establish the risks and identify opportunities for investments in the safety of populations living in urban areas, helping in the planning and definition of more effective sectoral plans with regards to land use and human occupation. The final result will help define a coastal safety strip and establish a more orderly occupation of the Brazilian coast, focusing on the conservation and preservation of coastal ecosystems, especially dunes, sandbanks, mangroves and coral reefs.