Climate-resilient infrastructure in Brazil

View of the port of Itajaí. Source: Autoridade Portuária

The global COVID 19 pandemic poses numerous challenges for Brazil, as it is worldwide. However, the initiatives for climate-resilient infrastructure in Brazil has continued despite the challenges posed by the new circumstances. These initiatives have been underway since 2019, carried out by the Ministry of Infrastructure (MInfra) in partnership with IKI's Enhancing Climate Services for Infrastructure Investments (CSI) and Support for Adaptation to Climate Change (ProAdapta) project.

A few weeks before Brazil officially registered the first case of the COVID 19, MInfra's “Sustainability Guidelines” were launched at the “Esplanada dos Ministérios”, in Brasília. The guidelines are now the main reference for the Ministry and for all related entities responsible for all modes of transport in the country within the scope of the socio-environmental management agenda.

Climate variability in the land and port transport sector

From 1995 to 2014, Brazil recorded more than 8 thousand cases of damage to infrastructure due to extreme climatic factors, totaling a loss of BRL 26.9 billion (4.49 billion EUR). Transport infrastructures are directly exposed to extreme climatic and hydrological conditions of temperature, precipitation, storms, floods, landslides, and sea level rise. However, very little is known about the impacts of climate on Brazilian transport infrastructure. All modes of transport are likely to suffer some kind of impact, but the severity can vary depending on the location, the transport and the condition of the infrastructure.

It is precisely for this reason that IKI projects CSI and ProAdapta’s support to studies on the Analyses of impacts and risks of climate change in Brazil for the road, rail and maritime port sectors’ has been fundamental. It is essential to acquire knowledge about the impacts of climate change on the assets that make up the federal transport infrastructure, in order to induce a reflection on the measures that would be necessary to incorporate control and response measures, in the various phases of the life cycle of these assets.

Climate data available on public platform

Recently, Brazil developed the platform AdaptaBrasil for accessing information on climate change and impact analysis. This tool allows the user to analyze the impacts of climate change observed and projected in the national territory, giving subsidies to the competent authorities for decision-making.

AdaptaBrasil currently offers information to the energy sector as well as food and water industries. However, new sectors will be incorporated into the platform, such as the transportation sector. This action is the result of a partnership between the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovations in Brazil.

The data that has been generated by the studies financed by CSI and ProAdapta (“Impact and Risk Analysis of Climatic Variability in the highways, railroad and port sectors”) will be inserted in the platform’s data base in the coming months.

Green financing, resilient and low carbon infrastructure

The fourth Socio-Environmental Seminar on Transport Infrastructure took place in October 2020 and was attended by experts from different countries around the world. Issues related to sustainable infrastructure were addressed, such as the challenges for expanding green financing in the sector and the measures necessary for Brazil to become a leader in Latin America in a resilient and low-carbon infrastructure. 

In addition to the CSI and ProAdapta projects, four other GIZ projects had contributed to the event.

Capacity Development 

The year of 2020 was also marked by the planning and development of training workshops on Climate Risk and Adaptation in the transportation sector, an initiative supported by IKI project CSI. The first group to attend the training included managers and technicians from MInfra itself, as well as actors from institutions linked to the Ministry. 

Since the beginning of 2021, three training sessions have already been held to train various stakeholders in the field of air transport; further training sessions will follow in the course of the year.

The trainings main objective is to raise awareness among stakeholders on the relevance of climate risk analysis and adaptation measures for the planning and operation of the Brazilian transport sector. Each class could count with a personalized approach, in order to work and understand the material applied to their own reality, within the scope of its transport sector.