Promoting Transparency and Territorial Governance

Promoting Transparency and Territorial Governance

in the Context of the Installation of Highways in the Brazilian Amazon - The Case of BR-319

Duration: 2019 - 2021

Financing: Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

Is there room for unifying social pacts in contexts deeply marked by animosity and divisions, as is typically seen when large infrastructure projects in the Amazon are on the agenda? Is it possible to build bridges for dialogue, not as a function of pragmatic capitulation to the minimum possible, but as evidence of challenges that will not allow themselves to be erased? What can be collectively erected when the main event in question - the work itself - provokes the conformation of opposing sides? 

These are questions that cut across the actions of multiple actors in the Brazilian Amazon and that emerge, once again, when faced with the prospect of paving about 400 kilometers of the so-called middle stretch of the BR-319 highway - an intensely forested area in the center of the state of Amazonas, between the state capitals of Manaus and Porto Velho. Inevitably, there are different possible responses and resulting strategies. For more than 15 years, FGVces has been developing tools and facilitating articulations that highlight the recurrent inversion of priorities: it is not about the construction work; it is about the territory. It is the Amazon regions and localities targeted by large investments that need to be on the agenda, with their future desires, vocations, and vulnerabilities. A whole for which the undertaking is the part. In this invitation as a starting point, there is much more room to attune synergies, just as there is, also, for the evidencing of struggles. 

Like other major highways undertaken in the Amazon in the 1970s and 1980s, the BR-319 highway (Porto Velho-Manaus) brings into the 21st century a historical liability that has not yet been resolved. The project to pave about half of the 800 kilometers of federal highway - designated as the "middle section" - which crosses the Amazon forest, generates intense concern about the increase in deforestation, illegal occupation of public lands, and violations of rights, especially those of traditional and indigenous populations. At the same time, the inaccessibility of the road for much of the year is seen as a symbol of isolation and neglect in a region that yearns for opportunities for inclusion and access to public policies.

The Project "Promoting Governance and Transparency in the BR-319 Region" is based on the assumption that it is the territory that should lead planning towards a desired trajectory of prosperity and sustainability - a whole to which the highway is only a part. To this end, it seeks to support territorial governance mechanisms that combine social participation, access to information, and the development of technical, political, and financial capacities for those most in need.

The area of action, focused on the state of Amazonas, includes the municipalities of Careiro, Manicoré and Humaitá and also communities inside and around the Igapó-Açu Sustainable Development Reserve (RDS), on the northern stretch of the highway.

In the first phase, carried out between 2019 and 2021, the following objectives were achieved:

  • Participatory preparation of a Territorial Development Agenda with local communities, supported by capacity-building processes and applied research, in articulation with public managers, civil society organizations, and academia. In total, around 600 people from more than 150 organizations and departments contributed to the TDA, including 64 local communities, together with the analysis of more than 50 public documents about the territory.
  • Technical support to the "Permanent Forum of Discussion on the Process of Reopening of the BR-319 Highway", a governance space headed by the Federal Public Ministry (MPF) dedicated to promoting dialogue between government institutions and civil society in the search for improving socio-environmental governance related to the enterprise and the territory.
  • Conception and institutional design of a financial instrument (socio-environmental fund) adequate to the financing needs of part of the demands identified in the TDA. More than making it possible to raise additional funds for socioeconomic inclusion and environmental protection projects, it seeks an instrument of coordination between public and private institutions and local communities, towards common objectives.
  • In the second phase, which runs from October 2021 to January 2023, the project is focused on promoting the use and dissemination of the TDA to advance the implementation of recommendations that concern both governments and civil society. The project also maintains its partnership with the MPF to mobilize and consolidate the BR-319 Forum, and pursues the refinement of the proposed financial instrument (fund) with potential partners and donors.


  • Production and dissemination of applied knowledge on public policies and territorial dynamics, through interviews, workshops, collection of life stories, survey and analysis of secondary data and literature
  • Technical cooperation directed to public managers and civil society organizations interested in the implementation of the knowledge produced
  • Facilitation of participatory processes and inter-institutional dialogues, with special attention to bringing together public authorities and local society, focusing on problem solving and advances in public and civil society practices
  • Capacity building and strengthening of leaderships and grassroots organizations in defense of their interests
  • Development of an implementation plan for a socio-environmental territorial fund for the region of influence of the BR-319 highway


Agenda de Desenvolvimento Territorial para a região da BR-319: fortalecendo territórios de bem viver

The Territorial Development Agenda for the BR-319 Region (ADT) is a publication that is the result of bringing together the practical knowledge of more than 600 people consulted - representing some 150 public and private organizations and 64 local communities from regions along and influenced by the highway - and knowledge derived from applied research in public policy and territorial dynamics.

In response to the socio-environmental risks of the possible paving of the middle section of the highway in the state of Amazonas, a broader dialogue is sought about local aspirations for development and the good life. We propose strengthening measures not only restricted to the potential impacts of the project, but with a multi-sector, territorial and long-term view.

Access the publication


  • Ministério Público Federal
  • Rede Transdisciplinar da Amazônia
  • Casa do Rio


  • Gordon and BettyMoore Foundation

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