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Semas Pará

State of Pará

Project official website
Total project value
R$ 15,923,230.00
Total support amount
US$ 9,020,637.89



To support the strengthening of environmental management in the state of Pará by improving the issuance of the Rural Environmental Registry (CAR), decentralizing and deconcentrating the activities of the State Environment and Sustainability Department and improving the legal process of environmental licensing


Population of the state of Pará

Territorial scope

State of Pará



Pará is the second largest Brazilian state and the most populous in the entire Amazon biome, recording high rates of deforestation of the Amazon rainforest due to the expansion of plant extractivism, cattle raising and, more recently, soybean crops. Since measurements began by INPE*, accumulated deforestation in the state has exceeded 145,000 km².

Since 2004, with the launch of the PPCDAm, deforestation rates have fallen by 76% in the Amazon region. In the state of Pará, environmental protection efforts included restructuring the main body of state environmental policy, the State Environment and Sustainability Department (SEMAS/PA), through Law 7,026, dated July 31, 2007; implementing the Plan for the Prevention, Control and Alternatives to Deforestation of the State of Pará (PPCAD-PA), through Decree 1,697, dated June 5, 2009; and launching the Green Municipalities Program (PMV), through Decree 54, dated March 30, 2011.

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The SEMAs Pará project of the state of Pará aimed to strengthen environmental management throughout the state. The strategy was to strengthen the technological infrastructure required to issue the CAR; improve the licensing process; decentralize and deconcentrate the activities of SEMAS/PA by strengthening its regional units and structuring municipal environmental departments.

Decentralizing the activities of SEMAS/PA involved initiatives to structure the facilities and operation of municipal environmental administrative units, including the development of technological infrastructure to support the issuance of CAR and improve the legal environmental licensing process.

The deconcentration of environmental management in the state involved initiatives to strengthen regional units, bringing SEMAS/PA closer to the inhabitants and economic agents. 


The project comes under the “monitoring and control” component (2) of the Amazon Fund Logical Framework. Its outcomes were defined as: “Monitoring, control and environmental accountability institutions of Pará structured and modernized” and "Easier access of Pará farmers to environmental regulation of their properties.”

The strengthening of state and municipal environmental bodies in the state of Pará directly contributes to the compliance of anthropic activities with environmental legislation in the state, which in turn contributes to the general objective of the Amazon Fund to “reduce deforestation with sustainable development in the Brazilian Amazon region.”

Click on the following image to view its objectives tree, that is, how the project's outputs and linked to the expected outcomes and impact.


Date of approval 07.09.2010
Date of the contract 10.06.2010
Date of conclusion 03.31.2017
Disbursement period 66 months (from the date the contract was signed)


date amount
1º disbursements 12.28.2011 R$3,216,379.62
2º disbursements 08.13.2012 R$1,199,844.60
3º disbursements 11.08.2012 R$1,715,646.40
4º disbursements 12.07.2012 R$3,492,530.68
5º disbursements 05.03.2013 R$1,015,607.64
6º disbursements 08.27.2013 R$1,141,600.00
7º disbursements 08.21.2014 R$856,021.49
8º disbursements 11.26.2015 R$1,901,571.00
9º disbursements 03.10.2016 R$1,384,028.57
Total amount disbursed R$15,923,230.00

Total amount disbursed in relation to the Amazon Fund’s support



The project was divided into four components:

  1. decentralization of environmental management;
  2. deconcentration of environmental management;
  3. infrastructure for issuance of CAR; and
  4. strengthening of environmental licensing.

Decentralization of environmental management originally provided for the distribution of computer equipment and operational materials to structure municipal environmental bodies (OMMAs) of 44 municipalities qualified to carry out environmental management.

During the project, with the changes in environmental legislation (CL 140 and Forest Code) and the state strategic reviews, the scope of this component was reformulated, enabling the structuring of OMMAs in 82 municipalities of Pará, exceeding the original target, and the offer of training courses in environmental management for 480 public servants in 127 municipalities. By the end of the project, 117 municipalities in Pará were qualified to carry out environmental management at a local level.

Deconcentration of environmental management resulted in the strengthening of four regional units of SEMAS/PA, in the municipalities of Marabá, Santarém, Altamira and Paragominas. When the project was approved, it provided for the strengthening of three existing units and the implementation of three new units. However, to avoid an increase in costs, the state of Pará proposed a review of the project to provide for the strengthening of four existing units but no implementation of new administrative structures. Vehicles, furniture and computer equipment were purchased, contributing to the improvement of staff working conditions and, consequently, of services for the population.

The CAR infrastructure component focused on the purchase of technological resources for the registration of farms in the state. This included the purchase of high resolution satellite imagery, geospatial intelligence software licenses, computers and servers for storing large amounts of data, as well as auxiliary items that allowed the reception, storage and analysis of submitted registries.

Finally, the environmental licensing component supported the modernization of SEMAS/PA through the purchase of vehicles, computer equipment, operational materials and furniture. Technical and managerial training was also provided to improve the quality of the department’s opinions and reports.

Final Evaluation

Institutional and administrative aspects

Preventing and combating deforestation depends on integrated action of public bodies at several government levels, with the necessary mobilization of civil society. With the support of this project, the state of Pará was able to engage municipal governments in this area, and their commitment – providing staff for training personnel and focusing on local environmental management – was essential to reach the results in CAR registration and decentralization of environmental management.

Another highlight was the availability of SEMAS/PA’s own technicians to prepare and deliver courses for municipal technicians. Thus, training was given by those who effectively execute the activities of environmental licensing, inspection and management, which reduces the distance between theory and practice and strengthens the bonds between the different actors in charge of this agenda in the state of Pará.

Indicators of results and impacts

The project’s activities contributed to the results of the “monitoring and control component” (2) of the Amazon Fund Logical Framework.

Monitoring and Control Component (2)

Impact 2: Government action ensures the compliance of anthropic activities with environmental legislation in the state of Pará.

The scope of this effect was measured based on the indicator that monitors the rate of annual deforestation from clear cutting in the state of Pará, verified by INPE with the use of satellite imagery:

  • Annual deforestation in the state of Pará

The table below compares year-to-year deforestation rates in the state of Pará as of 2011, the base year of the project, since the first disbursement occurred on December 28th, 2011. Comparing this year with subsequent ones, there was a significant reduction in annual deforested area in the state of Pará, which fell from 3,008 km2 (2011) to 2,413 km2 (2017) per year. Comparing the average deforested area between 2012 and 2017 (2,255 km2) with the deforested area in the base year (3,008 km2) shows an average reduction in annual deforested area of 753 km2, that is, an average reduction of 25% of deforested area in this period. It should be noted that this result cannot be attributed exclusively to the SEMAS/PA project, since other initiatives (public and private, including some supported by the Amazon Fund) contributed to this reduction of deforestation in the state of Pará.


Deforested Area Variation (km²)























Source: INPE.

*Preliminary data.

Outcome 2.1: Monitoring, control and environmental accountability institutions of Pará structured and modernized. 

The main indicators agreed for monitoring this objective were:

  • Number of trained public servants using acquired knowledge in the performance of their duties (impact indicator)

It was observed that 139 state servants effectively used acquired knowledge. The training resulted in 269 certifications in nine different courses, namely: management development; botanical identification; assessment of environmental impacts of mining activities; assessment, classification, treatment and disposal of solid waste; assessment of environmental impact studies; procedures for assessing contaminated areas; conservation biology and wildlife management; treatment of industrial effluents; and recovery of areas degraded by mining activities. This indicator exceeded the goal of eighty trained state servants using their knowledge. It is important to stress that the project also supported the training of 480 municipal staff from 127 municipalities in Pará, which was not included in the original goal.

  • Number of municipalities developing full environmental management (impact indicator)

The project supported the structuring of 82 OMMAs and by its conclusion there were 117 municipalities in the state of Pará qualified to carry out local environmental management, exceeding the estimated goal of 44 municipalities.

  • Percentage of environmental licensing processes analyzed within the legal term (impact indicator)

At the conclusion of the project, SEMAS/PA reported that 60% of licensing processes were being analyzed on time, falling below the estimated goal of 90%. At the beginning of the project this indicator showed that only 32% of processes were analyzed within the established deadlines.

Outcome 2.2: Easier access of Pará farmers to environmental regulation of their properties.

The main indicator agreed for this objective was:

  • Number of farms with applications registered with CAR (product indicator)

The goal of this indicator was to have 100,000 farms registered in the state. By the end of the project, more than 162,000 farms had been registered.

Risks and lessons learned

All outputs were delivered and there was progress in all indicators of effectiveness. Other initiatives in the state of Pará contributed to these good results, such as the Green Municipalities Program (PMV), which also received support from the Amazon Fund as of 2014. PMV develops activities that complement the SEMAS/PA project, helping it to achieve results. This synergy between two initiatives confirms the fact that projects submitted to the Amazon Fund are more effective when part of a state strategy.

However, it is important to remember that this project had to be considerably extended, since issues related to the electoral process were underestimated and caused significant delays. These delays were due both to changes in the team in charge of the project and to the prohibition of state donations to municipalities during municipal elections. As the project has a relevant component of decentralization of environmental management, the execution of this part was delayed.

Therefore, an important lesson learned is that when approving projects with public sector bodies, timelines should factor in the possibility that elections may hinder project execution due to management changes in said bodies. Moreover, the electoral legislation imposes prohibitions and restraints that cannot be ignored when estimating the time needed to execute these projects.

Two main risks were identified during project planning, namely: (i) the migration of qualified civil servants to other activities inside and outside the government; and (ii) the postponement of farmers’ adherence to CAR due to extensions in the term to adjust their properties to environmental legislation.

The risk of nonadherence of rural establishments to CAR was not an obstacle to implementing the project, since the target of farms registered with CAR was met, and the risk of public servants trained by the project migrating to other activities unrelated to its objectives has so far not been observed. 

Sustainability of results

Long-term sustainability of the results achieved by the project depends on the budgetary conditions of the state of Pará and supported municipalities, which are responsible for the maintenance of the main equipment purchased within the scope of the project, as well as for providing resources to fund the respective environmental agencies.

Much of the project’s investment was focused on the purchase of equipment that requires maintenance and satellite software and images that require regular updating. In periods of fiscal crisis such as the one currently experienced by most Brazilian states due to the slowdown of the national economy, restraints are placed on the budgets of government bodies. When excessively prolonged, this may undermine the results achieved by the project.

However, it should be stressed that the training and qualifications supported by the project tend to have a longer lasting and potentially broader effect consider­­ing the spread of knowledge that happens naturally in organizations, regardless of new contributions of public funds.

Lastly, despite the advances obtained with the support of the Amazon Fund, there is a need for new investments in environmental agencies in the state of Pará to structure and qualify them even further for agile and effective environmental management, guaranteeing environmental conformity for local entrepreneurs and populations and timely punishment for offenders.


In this area we offer some PDF files with the main publications generated by the project. Click the filename to start the download.