The newly created National Environmental Council (Conama) coordinates a National Environment Policy, but enforcement of Brazil's relatively advanced public policies on the environment is poor. Deforestation of the Amazon and air and water pollution increase at alarming rates, slowing somewhat in 1987 as a result of the economic crisis.
The 1988 Constitution includes an article establishing the guidelines for state and society on environmental issues. To put the theory into practice, President Sarney launches an "Our Nature" program designed to incorporate the Amazon and its Indian communities into the national economy. The Institute on the Environment is created to centralize government action.
Local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) focus on environmental issues after Rio hosts the 1992 UN Earth Summit. Most major environmental projects focus on sanitation, urban pollution control, and soil erosion. The government creates the Ministry of Environment, but its lack of funds and poorly defined mandate limit its effectiveness.
A new Environmental Crimes Act goes into effect. But the government allows those responsible for environmentally harmful activities to sign a "commitment accord," which is renewable, promising to comply with the law within three years. NGOs and community groups are successful in stalling several large projects. The new Tumucumaque rainforest reserve in the far north is the world's largest.
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